With current and prospective customers being constantly bombarded by advertisements, and beginning to identify more with brands than products, marketers are having to stay one or more steps ahead of everyone else when trying to stand out and catch someone’s attention. Print advertising, video marketing and billboards, while still effective, have been around for decades. And while not a new type of marketing, experiential marketing is being utilized more and more by marketers in order to grab customers’ attention and reel them in.
Eventbrite, one of the top event managing and ticket companies, defines experiential marketing as a strategy that engages consumers using branded experiences. The idea of experiential marketing is to create a memorable impact on the consumer. One that will inspire them to share with their friends both online and off. These experiences could include an event, a part of an event, or a pop-up activation not tied to any event.
Is experiential marketing right for you?
First things first, you should determine whether experiential marketing is a good fit. When should your branding incorporate an experiential marketing campaign into your event, or how do you know if your brand is right for experiential marketing? It depends on your goals, timeline and resources – and your brand!
In previous blogs, we’ve discussed humanizing your brand and giving it a personality. Experiential marketing can help you further humanize your brand and create experiences that leave people with lasting, positive brand impressions. Although these experiences are real-life and usually in-person (or involve real-time participation), you need to pair the experience/event with social media, email campaigns and other marketing content in order to amplify your efforts.
Like all marketing campaigns, thorough planning goes into experiential marketing. The difference with these types of campaigns is determining touch points that will engage participants in unexpected ways and determining what is the experience?
Creating an authentic branded experience
The goal of experiential marketing is creating an authentic branded experience for your audience that can happen both offline and online. Part of understanding experiential marketing is making sure three elements are always included. The elements are:
- Active participation and engagement from the audience
- The first step of any great branded experience is allowing your audience to actively engage with your brand. That can mean anything from taking a photo and sharing it on social media to participating in a carnival game, and anything in between and beyond!
- Promotion of the brand’s message and values
- A great branded experience should be all about the brand itself. It’s not enough to simply tell your audience why the brand is the best, as they might not always receive the message. But allowing them to experience it themselves will ensure that the message will stick with them for years to come.
- Provides long-lasting value
- Finally, a great branded experience is one that provides long-lasting value to the audience. This is the part that many brands fail at when it comes to experiential marketing because they focus entirely on providing short-term value. A great branded experience is one that sticks with its participants and encourages continued brand interaction long after the fact.
Incorporating all three elements is what makes experiential marketing experiential marketing.
A warm and cozy experience
During the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, while many were staying inside, Lely North America, a robotic milking technology company and dairy industry leader, worked with AKC Marketing to develop and execute an experiential marketing event for Lely’s top bottom-of-funnel prospects. The event would be a live panel discussion, the experience was the build-up to the event.
Those invited initially received a direct mail invitation with coffee from a local Pella, Iowa coffee shop. Those who registered for the event then received a pre-event mail piece containing a Dutch letter pastry and Lely tumbler. By offering pieces of Lely North America’s hometown that is well-known for its Dutch heritage, the direct mail campaign drew its audience to register for and attend this exclusive live event.
With HubSpot, we were able to track the campaign’s influence on sales. This virtual prospect event influenced 13 closed deals. A total of 117 individuals were invited to the event, and approximately 32% of invitees attended the live panel discussion. Because this was Lely’s first virtual event due to the unplanned circumstances caused by COVID-19, there were no previous benchmarks to utilize for this campaign.
Traits of a successful experiential marketing campaign
Before you get started on your own experiential marketing campaign, it’s important to look at what separates a successful campaign from an unsuccessful campaign. After analyzing dozens of different successful campaigns and seeing what they had in common, Single Grain came up with a number of crucial ingredients behind every successful experiential marketing campaign.
As with any other successful marketing strategy, the first requirement is a set of clearly defined goals and a strong understanding of what you’re attempting to achieve. Before engaging in any experiential marketing strategy, you have to be able to answer the question: Why does this need to exist in the first place? Are you looking to increase brand exposure and awareness? Increase the amount of leads? Move prospects further down the sales funnel?
When the entire point of employing experiential marketing is to generate an authentic relationship with your customer, it is a basic requirement that whichever tactic you use is as true to your brand identity as possible. Home in on what it is that makes your brand unique from the competition and crank those factors up to eleven. Emphasize your aesthetics and highlight your brand’s core values and messages. Give your audience a chance to truly experience what your brand is all about.
No matter the experience, experiential marketing is an ideal place to gather important feedback and insight from customers on how they view your brand. Don’t be afraid to be aggressive when asking people for feedback, as many people are more than willing to share their thoughts when asked. Consider distributing interactive quizzes and polls throughout your campaign as a way to add another touchpoint for your audience, as well as giving yourself an opportunity to capture customer insight.
Experience AKC Marketing
As advertising spaces continue to be overcrowded, brands are becoming more and more aware that the key to standing out to build a strong, lasting and engaging relationship with customers and prospects. By far, one of the most effective ways brands are getting customers’ attention is by utilizing experiential marketing.
Delivering an extraordinary experience is no longer a nice-to-have option, but rather an integral part of any successful marketing strategy. Take some time to think about how you can reach out and connect with your audience in a meaningful way and the different ways you can interact with them. Maybe your next marketing campaign will be an experiential one. If it is, reach out. From our video and web development teams to our marketing and experience experts, we’re ready to help you and your brand reach that next level. Whether it’s boosting your brand or acquiring more customers, AKC Marketing has the tools to help you succeed.