Why Experiential Marketing is Key to Successful Brand Activations

The goal of any marketer is to get a product or service in front of the people who matter most to a firm’s bottom line: the consumer. And while there are a variety of ways marketers can accomplish this, one strategy that is continuing to grow in popularity is experiential marketing. When done correctly, experiential marketing can serve as an ideal complement to traditional marketing means and work to engage and involve consumers with a product or service in new, unique ways.

In this post, we’ll discuss more about the benefits of experiential marketing, tips for boosting leads and brand activations with your next campaign. Here’s a closer look at how to get the most out of your next experiential marketing campaign:

Experiential Marketing 101: What You Need to Know

Fitting to its name, experiential marketing involves creating an experience for the consumer or prospect. It differs from conventional print and broadcast marketing where the goal is to present a message or specific product or service to the consumer. In experiential marketing, it’s often the customer who engages directly with the brand – and often in-person and in a hands-on way. That’s not to say that these conventional marketing methods don’t still have their place. However, at a minimum, they can be complemented with experiential strategies to target customers in new, different and often more effective ways.

One of the most significant benefits of experiential marketing is that it allows brands to really flex their creative muscle when planning campaigns and think of new and innovative ways to engage with consumers. Some common examples of experiential marketing include, but are not limited to:

  • Pop-up stores
  • Free samples or live product demonstrations
  • Virtual tours or virtual product demonstrations
  • Interactive booths at trade shows
  • Mobile apps
  • Game experiences
  • Virtual and augmented reality
  • Event marketing
  • Webinars

Key Benefits

When done right, there’s a significant return on investment that can stem from an experiential marketing campaign. It’s estimated that up to 90 percent of all marketers believe that any event or campaign that allows consumers to experience a brand leads to more overall compelling engagement. And the benefits of such engagement can be far-reaching. Some of the critical benefits of experiential marketing include:

  • Positive word of mouth: There’s arguably no more powerful advertisement than word of mouth – and experiential marketing is designed to generate buzz and create customer cheerleaders who do more than just engage with and purchase your product or service, but sing its praises to others.
  • Hands-on experiences: It’s one thing to show a consumer a product or service in a print or digital ad. It’s another thing to let them experience and understand it for themselves. In fact, 85 percent of consumers indicate that they’re more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand after experiencing it in person.
  • Build awareness and drive brand activations: Experiential marketing can create a bond between a brand’s product or service and the customer. Ideally, this becomes a long-term relationship.
  • Go viral: In this age of social media, there’s the opportunity for experiential campaigns to truly go viral and extend their reach far beyond their intended customer.

Experiential Marketing Tips to Boost Leads and Brand Awareness

There’s really no secret button you can push to launch a successful experiential marketing campaign. But in order to launch one, you need more than just a great idea, but to put in the necessary legwork as well. Here’s an overview of some tips to ensure your campaign is generating the most leads and maximizing your potential to create brand awareness:

  • Focus on experiences: Experiential marketing is all about creating memorable experiences for your current and potential customers. Flex your creative muscles and do your best to create a unique, fun experience that people will want to participate in. Standing out and creating a one-of-a-kind experience is the best way to resonate with consumers.
  • Know your audience: Knowing who you’re trying to reach is another important determination. What age group are you trying to attract? What types of experiences are important to this group? What are the interests and needs of this group? Your answers to these questions will likely help determine what type of campaign you’re going to run.
  • Collect data: Any marketing campaign – experiential or not – should be collecting data and weighing results against any established goals. QR codes, apps, registration methods and more are all an ideal way to capture the data and reach of any campaign.
  • Incentivize action: In a perfect world, creating a unique experiential campaign is enough to get consumers to engage and interact with your brand. In reality, they might need an extra little push to get started. Incentivizing action is a great way to encourage participation and boost sales. Discounts, free samples, access to exclusive content, raffling prizes and referral programs are all good examples of ways to incentivize action on your next campaign.

How to Launch a Successful Campaign

Despite studies and data that indicate the value of experiential marketing, HubSpot Blog’s latest Marketing Industry Trends Report notes that only about 30 percent of marketers are using such tactics in their role today. And while studies indicate that more resources will be put toward such campaigns in the months and years to come, there’s a lot of untapped potential in this space today.

So how do you launch a successful experiential marketing campaign? One way is to commit to it – both from a financial and resource perspective. To get the most out of any campaign, you have to go into it with the right plan – and we covered many of the tips for determining the right plan in the above section. And if that perfect plan is a little more difficult to determine, then it might be time to work with an experiential marketing agency.

When you work with experiential marketing experts, your brand can maximize the potential of its campaign and better position itself to meet its goals and improve awareness and brand activations. The right partner will work hand-in-hand with your firm to create memorable experiences and bring new excitement and energy to your marketing efforts while keeping your goals and budget in mind.

So, what’s your plan for your next experiential marketing campaign?

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