What is Experiential Marketing? A Strategy With a Long-Term Impact

Mahenoor Mansuri Mahenoor Mansuri
Jan 27, 2022 10 min read
What is Experiential Marketing? A Strategy With a Long-Term Impact

Remember the first time a baby held your finger with the whole of their hand? Or smelling your favourite flower? Take the intoxicating fragrance of lilies, or perhaps the sweet smell of a rose. How about the sour candies? The shooting, tingling sensations they send in your mouth. A trip to a fare and sitting on the Ferris wheel? And feeling on top of the world, the adrenaline rush when it goes down?

The feeling is difficult to shake off and forget, isn't it? You will never forget the impact these experiences have on your memory. We are going to talk about something similar to that used by brands to leave an impression on consumers minds, experiential marketing.

Introduction and History of Experiential Marketing
Benefits of Experiential Marketing
Goals of Experiential Marketing
What Counts as Experiential Marketing?
Examples of Experiential Marketing
Things You Should Know Before Implementing Experiential Marketing
FAQ

Introduction and History of Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing is also called engagement marketing, live marketing, or participation marketing. Experiential marketing is a lot about how you connect & build connections with your customers. Develop immersive experiences in the offline world to engage the audience with your brand.

Two companies Wrigley's and Cracker Jack are credited with creating experiential marketing in the early 20th century. In Chicago World's Fair back in 1893. Even though experiential marketing is sometimes similar to guerrilla marketing, event marketing, and even influencer marketing. However, it is not any of these. Although elements of those above might have been incorporated into the experiential marketing strategy itself.β€Œβ€Œ

Benefits of Experiential Marketing

Of course, there are a hundred different ways to market your products and services and get your message across. In cultivating business opportunities, experiential marketing achieves two goals with one arrow. When you utilize experiential marketing, you showcase the features and benefits of your products and services, as well as leave a lasting impression on your customers.

Experiential marketing employs different tactics to immerse your consumers with your product, services, or your brand while fostering emotional connections with them. This results in high brand recall/recognition, customer loyalty, and increased goodwill for the brand.β€Œβ€Œ

There is Two-way communication

Unlike other marketing techniques, you may send an email, use social media, or make a TVC (television commercial), to sell your product/ service. Note that it merely involves you sending your message across to achieve your goal, but it does not allow your target audience to engage or interact with your brand. Experiential marketing creates that space for them.β€Œβ€Œ

It Leaves Every Person with a Different Kind of Experience

For example, let us assume a company that manufactures cars is offering a test drive around a specified area of the range. Now, every person who will sit in the car and drive around will come out with a completely different kind of experience. Besides, they will get to know the features of the product that you are selling. Some may feel enthralled, enjoyable, excited, pleased, etc. Remember: feelings can also be negative, so try to create a positive experience for your audience.β€Œβ€Œ

You align your brand's personality with the experience

If your brand is associated with spreading happiness around people, what would you do to convey that perceived image of your brand to the audience? Experiential marketing is about giving your target audience a truly memorable experience. This will enable them to keep your product/services at the top of their minds and associate your brand with a particular experience.β€Œβ€Œ


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Goals of Experiential Marketing

To generate a buzz & keep the buzz alive

In fact, it may seem common for many brands to turn to celebrities or influencers for their campaigns that involve experiential marketing. That in turn does create a buzz, but there is a lot more than that to experiential marketing.

Experiential marketing, as mentioned above, involves two-way communication. So even if it involves a concert, creating a photo booth, or a billboard, it will end after a while. But the impression that experiential marketing leaves do not just go away; the audience continues to engage with it. For example, on social media, sharing the live event keeps the buzz around the event going.

Launch of a brand-new product

Even though advertisers use different mediums, billboards, video ads, magazines, etc. to market their products and services. The target audience has a low brand recall. The message is lost in the clutter. Adverts can feel like yelling, shouting, and screaming at your face when they appear all the time, though your consumers do not want to see it.

Now yours will be just another new product being launched in the market. So how do you tell the difference? What's one thing that sets you apart?

A key point of differentiation that you can build is the relationship that you have with your customers. Many established and well-known brands have strong relationships with their customers.

With experiential marketing, you can integrate the products and services of a brand with the event. Connecting to people on a personal level in an interactive, engaging way. Future partnerships can also thrive if it involves more than one brand involved in the event.

Creating positive brand associations

To strengthen your brand, have a rebound and a meaningful relationship with your customers. It helps and makes it easier to foster relationships with your customers.

With experiential marketing, conversations flow more naturally around your brand. It magically makes the process of marketing your brand out there feel less like marketing with two-way communication.

Increase brand awareness

An experiential marketing strategy involves you pulling something completely out of the box. This puts your brand into the spotlight, which will catch the attention of your audience as well as the media. With that, it establishes your presence as a brand in the market. People are more likely to share an experience that they had with others through word of mouth.

Getting media coverage

You need to pay to get coverage from the media. But if done correctly, experiential marketing can get you the media coverage without investing in it and drive PR (Public Relations) too. On a side note, it is believed that you need a high budget to bring your experiential marketing strategy to life. That does not have to be necessarily true. It is possible to score big even on a decent budget, with a unique message and a striking idea.

Dive deeper to build meaningful and emotional connections for brand loyalty

In the clutter of a thousand different products. Ad agencies make it a point to make ads that will help your audience recall your brand. The more time you spend engaging with something significant, the higher the probability that your audience will build a meaningful connection with your brand and even a long-term relationship. With this strategy, retention gradually increases. You have the chance to build meaningful connections that can increase loyalty towards your brand.

Elevate brands profile

It builds a strong affinity for your brand and your products. Conversions become easier. Higher brand recall, resulting in loyalty and ultimately, sales. The benefit of experiential marketing is that it gives consumers a hands-on experience with your product. The try before they buy stage improves your credibility.

Overall, elevating your brand's profile. And also builds goodwill, if the impact created is for the greater good of the community in any way.


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What Counts as Experiential Marketing?

Immersive live events like concerts, engaging audiences into fun engaging activities like photo booths, demo zones, polls, samplings, virtual and augmented reality-based events, and much more.

There is no set definition of what one may or may not do. As long as you are giving your target audience an experience to remember or that involves engaging with their five senses, it counts as experiential marketing.

β€œExperiential has been moving towards becoming a mainstream marketing platform. We are all bombarded with messages all the time, but the most powerful way a marketer can communicate to their target audience is by getting them to remember something, by doing it face to face and creating an experience that the consumer wants to be part of and wants to pass on to other people.” - Stuart Bradbury

Examples of Experiential Marketing

As everyone knows, Coca-Cola is the fastest growing FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) brand and one of the world's most valuable brands. The brand focuses on how their brand makes people feel. It has not restricted itself to manufacturing carbonated drinks, but also sells non-carbonated drinks.

Under its brand profile, it has many other brands. Coca-Cola has a multi-branding strategy and is an expert at employing experiential marketing strategies to sell Coke. Let's further dissect their campaigns to understand the tactics of experiential marketing better.

The small world machines

Cokes Small World Vending Machines Campaign

Erasing the barriers of hate and the perceived image of being enemies between the two nations of India and Pakistan. Coke, back in 2013, made a powerful campaign with a lasting impact on audiences residing in Delhi, India, and Lahore, Pakistan. The idea was to connect people through gestures. They included making positive symbols, like peace, love, and happiness, and even dancing with a shared can of Coke.

The results? In the end, you could see how their perspectives on each other changed, breaking the barriers and spreading the happiness that brought them together. In addition, it includes the indulgence of the five senses, leaving an impression.

Share a white Christmas

Shared a White Christmas campaign made by Ogilvy Asia for the brand Coke

This campaign makes a lasting impact on the target audience in both locations. By creating a positive image of the brand, the brand creates a perceived image of spreading happiness. The vending machines were installed in Finland and Singapore. Experiencing snow for the first time is something no one can forget, especially kids playing with it. Keep in mind that Singapore does not get any snow.

The Ogilvy Asia agency created a memorable strategy that no one could forget. Through the vending machines that were set up, more than 800,000 people interacted face to face. Along with the children, the adults also shared feelings of joy, excitement, and playfulness. Sharing a bottle of Coca-Cola and snow.

With this campaign, not only did Coke erase the boundaries that exist between the two countries, but it also showed us how globalization has changed the realm of experiential marketing. This has changed the meaning of connectivity over time.

Truck around Christmas

Coca-Colas Iconic truck

The company pulled up another brilliant idea by giving an unforgettable experience as part of its experiential marketing strategy. The marketing team came up with the idea to offer the chance of a night stay in Coca-Cola's iconic truck during Christmas. Which came with a special playlist curated around the theme of Christmas, festive films and stockings full of gifts and presents. With loads of twinkly lights and a treat to Christmas dinner for the festive fans.

In fact, the famous truck has been a part of Christmas culture in the United Kingdom since 1995, when it was created by the W.B. Doner agency. Level up and learn experiential marketing from the masters themselves.


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Things You Should Know Before Implementing Experiential Marketing

  • Use experiential marketing to leave a mark. This is done with an experience that aligns with how you want them to feel about your brand. If done effectively, the aim of a higher conversion rate can be achieved.
  • Get creative with your experiential marketing strategy to leave an impact and memory like none other. Remember that experiences bind us globally, so do not look at the people who buy your product/services as customers but as humans.
  • Experiential marketing strategies can be employed for higher ROI (Return of interest) The data obtained from the feedback given by your customers can be used to make your brand and your product better. Think like your customers and give them the experience that they want.
  • Marketing does not necessarily have to consist of simply sending your message across. You can make it fun and creative by engaging and interacting with your audience. Many brands have created heartwarming, touching, and successful campaigns that have produced a positive impact on average budgets. So, it is not necessary to have a high-end budget to create a campaign around experiential marketing.
  • Build a campaign that engages all the five or multiple senses of your target audience with experiential marketing. Additionally, you can offer your consumers the opportunity to try your products.
  • Create a positive experience for your target audience so that your audience can perceive you as such.
  • Test the idea for your experiential marketing campaign on a small group. Determine if it works. It will help that the campaign does not backfire and that damage can be prevented. You can also use focus groups.
  • Establish and define the objectives and results that you want to achieve.
  • Integrate experiential marketing with storytelling.

Conclusion

Experiential marketing strategies are the most effective yet overlooked when creating campaigns. They help you make meaningful and emotional connections with your customers. And create long-lasting relationships. It is more based on how your products/ services or you as a brand make them feel. Unlike traditional experiential marketing, it is authentic and elevates your brand's profile when done correctly.

FAQ

What is an example of experiential marketing?

A great example of experiential marketing is Coca cola's small world machines campaign.

What is the goal of experiential marketing?

To generate a buzz around your brand, launch a new product or service, and increase brand awareness.

What are the benefits of experiential marketing?

It leaves the customers with a positive experience, Consumers have a higher brand recall, and it increases brand awareness are some of the benefits of experiential marketing.

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