Every business strives for its customers to turn into brand loyalists and remain lifetime customers. To establish brand loyalty, brands need to prove to their customers time and time again that they provide the best product/ service that is available in the market. While this method seems a little tedious, there is another that delivers the same brand loyalty, but without the extra hassle of brands having to prove themselves over and over to remind their customers. This hassle-free method is experiential marketing.
Experiential Marketing Defined
Experiential marketing is a modern marketing strategy that engages the target audience through branded experiences that are innovative and immersive. These experiences help customers identify with brands and aren’t merely modes of selling products. Customers remain loyal to a brand not only because they are satisfied with the products but also because they feel a particular connection to that brand and its message.
Experiential marketing serves as one of the best marketing methods that boost business visibility through events, activities, pop-ups, and installations, which are all extremely social media share-worthy.
Experiential Marketing Types and Examples
On the type of experience that brands want to provide to their target audiences, experiential marketing strategies can be segmented into the following three types.
When marketers aim their experiential campaigns in such a way that they interact directly with their target audiences, it is known as direct reach.
The example that portrays this method to perfection is IKEA’s use of augmented reality to aid potential customers in selecting furniture.
Video by IKEA
Marketers reach their target audience through other media platforms. These campaigns rely on word of mouth and virality.
The Redbull Stratos Jump is a worthy example of experiential marketing via indirect reach.
Red Bull Stratos – World Record Freefall
This method of experiential marketing is the most straightforward method that allows users to experience a product. Instead of brands listing out their product features and specifications, they enable users to experience them. This marketing strategy ensures the attention of the target audience on the brand and its offerings. In some cases, brands even make use of augmented reality or virtual reality to provide such experiences.
Here’s an example of a VR car showroom that makes optimum use of showcasing in their experiential marketing strategy.
Marketers and brands must leverage virtual reality to create experiences that are immersive and attract the complete and undivided attention of their customers. These experiences must make the benefits of a product distinct.
Marketers must encapsulate in these stunts content that appeals to large audiences. They must generate content that is shareable and relatable so that it may possess the viral factor.
To understand experiential marketing through stunts, here’s an example by Air France.
Video by Airfrance
Innovation and Service
Brands and marketers generally use this type of marketing for a long-term sales strategy basis. It does not result in instant sales and is instead used to develop a brand image. This marketing strategy is extremely casual, and onlookers may, sometimes, not even realize that they are experiencing a marketing campaign.
Here’s an example of Volkswagen’s take on experiential marketing through business innovation and service that incorporates a fun factor.
Video by Volkswagen’s
Launching new products is also known as brand activation. This fits perfectly in the showcasing category of experiential marketing campaigns.
While event marketing is an entirely different marketing type, experiential marketing does make use of it. However, not all event marketing is experiential marketing.
With guerilla marketing, marketers aim to get a conversation about their marketing campaign started and almost always comprises a surprise element. Marketers need to tread carefully while leveraging this marketing method as audiences could negatively view it.
Here’s how guerilla marketing was used by McDonald’s.
Image as seen on Medium
In this experiential marketing type, marketers make use of kiosks that are built at retail outlets. These kiosks provide target audiences with immersive experiences, again through technology such as augmented reality.
Importance of Experiential Marketing
As it is evident from each of the examples above, experiential marketing leaves a lasting impression on the minds of the target audience. Experiential marketing helps brands create meaningful connections with their audiences and does more than directly promoting a product to passive audiences. It is designed in such a way that customers actively interact with brands, their offerings, and their values.
Brands can make use of experiential marketing to increase customer loyalty and direct sales. Successful experiential marketing campaigns do not just introduce brands to people, but also allow brands to activate new customers and enter them into their sales funnel. Experiential marketing also increases brand awareness and exposure by either converting their audiences into brand ambassadors or encouraging their target audiences to share the experience on social media platforms.
How Experiential Marketing Works
Experiential marketing campaigns require marketers to delve into substantial preliminary research and planning. The following steps must be kept in mind while building such campaigns.
- Collect feedback from existing customers regarding their experience
- Get a wholesome understanding of the brand, the target audiences, and the products
- Start with designing a brand experience that engages audiences in new and innovative ways
- Create a detailed, step-by-step campaign implementation plan
- Try partnerships or sponsors that share campaign and event costs, mostly with established brands
- Incorporate shareability into the campaign to expand the reach
- Marketers must keep tight control of the budget. This is specific to small businesses, however, not necessarily.
How Experiential Marketing Is Measured
While experiential marketing, by itself, cannot be measured as such, evaluating its effectiveness based on ROI is key to brand sustainability. Experiential marketing ROI is measured in the following manner.
- Participation needs to be tracked via counters at the entry, collection of emails, or via the number of distributed giveaways
- Brand sentiment measurement can be done by surveying customers before a product launch and then again after the start, monitoring site and social media handles for spikes resulting from the campaigns, or via social media listening tools
- Social engagement can be measured with the implementation of a hashtag that people can make use of and ensure a response to whenever these hashtags are used
- Sales cannot directly be attributed to experiential campaigns, however, tracking sales patterns can be indicative of campaign success
- Focus on data quality and avoid metrics that do not add value to the measurement process
Experiential Marketing Benefits
The advantages of experiential marketing are apparent, and brands that leverage their benefit tremendously. The two main areas where experiential marketing adds value for brands are as follows.
Meaningful Connect With Audiences
It’s pretty evident that interactive marketing is way more attractive to audiences than traditional marketing methods. Audiences find it easier to trust brands that interact with them and provide unmatched experiences.
Word of Mouth and Social Impact
In most cases where audiences experience something out of the ordinary, they are highly likely to share it on social media. The impact experiential marketing has, socially, is unmatched. Also, other than just social media shares, people tend to talk about the unique experience they had with a brand, and word of mouth is priceless in the world of marketing.
Did you think that running an internet and social media campaign was enough for your marketing strategy? Let me tell you if this is the case, you’re never really going to ace it out there. These days customers want more than the traditional online and offline marketing efforts. People want experiences that are captivating, original, and, most importantly, memorable.
Along with some imagination and creativity added to thorough research, marketers can come up with great experiential marketing campaigns for their brands and makes them stand out. Experiential marketing is crucial in a time when traditional marketing methods are on the decline due to technological advances such as ad blockers killing internet-based ads altogether. When executed correctly, experiential marketing creates brand ambassadors out of their target audiences and maximizes ROI.