Experiential marketing is a tactic that goes beyond promoting a brand’s products or services. In this form of marketing, the consumer doesn’t sit passively and listen to the marketer’s message like in the case of traditional TV, radio and newspaper ads. This kind of marketing involves engaging the target customers thoroughly and exciting their five senses. It is a highly personalized marketing tactic brands use to create a relationship with their customers. That means customers can see, touch, smell, listen to, and where appropriate, taste the product before making a purchasing decision.
However, with experiential marketing, brands need to study their audience. For example, a brand that wishes to sell the product in the US and in China needs to target both audiences differently. Something that is humorous in the US is not funny in China. That’s why experimental marketing goes hand-in-hand with localization strategies.
Experiential marketing may also be given other names such as engagement marketing, live marketing, participation marketing and event marketing. The term is relatively new in most economies and has become particularly popular with the growth of social media. Also, the strategy is attracting more sales by pushing the right buttons in the modern consumer. It helps marketers to break the resistance that consumers have against new brands by allowing the consumer to holistically interact with a product.
For example, to generate buzz regarding the long-awaited TV show “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,” Netflix created a campaign with 200 pop-up Luke’s Diners around the United States to serve refreshments. For those who have not seen the TV show, Luke’s Diner is an iconic place in the show where most of the scenes are recorded. The campaign was very successful, as long lines were created at each location. The event’s Snapchat filter was viewed 880,000 times.
In Asia, the chip company Lay’s created a pop-up claw crane machine for Japan, which allowed people to physically climb in the machine and grab things. It was a huge success as people relived their childhood memories with crane machines and were waiting in lines to give it a go.
Why should you consider experiential marketing?
It encourages consumers to share visual content online
When consumers take pictures and videos during experiential marketing events, they help brands to expand their marketing reach. After all, most of that content ends up in social media. Experiential marketing, to some extent, leverages grassroots marketing by appealing to people’s love for visual online content. And because we are living in the era of smartphones and the internet, this form of marketing will only keep gaining more and more momentum. One thing to keep in mind though is that if brands create online campaigns that go viral worldwide, they should bear in mind that they would have a wider reach if the content that they share would be translated and adjusted based on country location. There are companies that offer professional translation services for all types of content and who could be of great help.
TV and radio ads are irritating
Marketers have overused TV, radio, and print ads for so long that consumers now find them irritating. It is not uncommon these days to find people recording TV or radio programs so that they can watch them later and skip all the ads in between. How many times have you skipped YouTube ads when watching your favorite videos? Clearly, ads are unnecessarily irritating. Experiential marketing, on the other hand, has tailor-made messages that speak to the soul and mind of every consumer. The consumer is an active participant and not a passive observer, so he will rarely get bored or irritated.
It helps brands establish deep connections with their target customers
When people interact with your brand and have fun, positive connotations regarding your brand are developed. And because these experiences are memorable, people really enjoy being part of experiential marketing. It makes them feel valued, and that breeds unbeatable brand loyalty. Also, customers identify with your brand as a whole, not just the products they tasted or touched. Remember that when people become loyal, they are more emotionally attached to the brand than to the quality of its products. “If you can mix this strategy with localization and target a wider global market, that would generate an even more successful marketing strategy,” say experts from New Horizons Global Partners.
It generates authentic brand awareness
Brand awareness is an important aspect of marketing. People need to understand what your brand is all about and which problems your products seek to address in their lives. But brand awareness isn’t an easy agenda to execute partially because customers tend to be hostile and skeptical towards unknown brands and partially because your competitors offer clients endless options to choose from. But with experiential marketing, customers interact with your brand firsthand and know everything they need to know about it. That is the awareness that will enable them to make a genuine positive opinion about your products.
It can convert participants into unpaid brand ambassadors
Participants in an experiential marketing campaign are initially inspired to become loyal customers, and they may also become your brand ambassadors. They may share the memorable experiences they had with your brand, encouraging their friends and family to try your products. Word-of-mouth recommendations are a very powerful form of marketing according to McKinsey, which notes that they drive about 50% to 80% of new leads.