If you have been to one of my workshops or seen one of my videos on social media (FB, TW, IG or LI) you have probably heard me reference experiential marketing. But, a lot of people seem to be unsure about what this actually is. My post today is here to shine a light on this and demystify the term.
Have you heard people talk about events marketing or engagement marketing? Well experiential marketing is the same thing. It is a marketing activity that directly engages consumers – inviting and encouraging them to participate in the marketing! Sometimes through events and spectacles and entertainment, sometimes through interactive tech through apps and mobiles which interact with the physical space and sometimes just through people or objects.
Don’t let the “participation” factor put you off. It isn’t just for big brands – small businesses don’t harness the power of this enough and it can be done well on a budget.
First things first though, why is experiential marketing important or why should you bother including it in your activity? I’ll outline this below, then I’ll give you some handy examples so you can visualise what experiential marketing can be…
There’s a reason experiential marketing is also known as engagement marketing – its purpose is to engage an audience.
Hopefully we all know why engagement is important… it is connections that win over hearts and minds. If you can make regular connections and connections that make a big impact, the more likely you are to stay in that customers’ consciousness. Customers that are won over by a brand because they connect with them on an emotional level are more likely to make purchases and repeat purchases as well as recommend friends and give positive word of mouth referrals.
Engagement equals connections. Need I say more?
So now you’ve got the engagement bit, why is marketing that is delivered through experiences and participation relevant? Well recent statistics show that people are more likely to part with their money for experiences rather than things – think holidays rather than houses. Plus, consumers are more likely to learn and engage with brands they have experienced personally or have heard about through friends. Experiences are what get the chemicals going in our bodies and behavioural science shows that experiences will evoke an emotional response. People are more likely to buy-in to brands they have an experience with.
Here are some examples:
Have you seen the new Back to the Fuchsia Ted Baker range. The promotional video is like “Think Pink” in the film Funny Face. but I won’t go into all the reasons the concept is perfect for the brand this time, I am simply giving you the background to understand their experiential marketing…
On Mother’s Day (UK) this year they had dancers like in the video, out and about in London performing for passers by to promote the new pink range. They promoted the fact on all their social media channels (targeting the people located in London I imagine.)
Do you think people just watched them and walked by, or do you think they snapped photos and shared on their Instagram, Twitter and other social media accounts? This is amplified word of mouth and gets fantastic reach.
The best experiential marketing uses the offline activity to drive people online too – think along the lines of asking them to share a photo of the event/marketing activity with a particular hashtag and get entered into a prize draw or receive a discount etc.
Then in America they had models dressed “Ted to Toe” in the clothes and giving out pink drinks and pink flowers free.
All of this is to engage with an audience – the recipient has to interact with the marketing and this sparks connections.
Another great example was given to me for this blog – John Lewis ran a competition for people to win a sleepover in its Oxford Street store in the fully furnished (by John Lewis) apartment named The Residence.
Talk about an opportunity to experience the brand first hand!
This is all experiential marketing.
Another example is this by Hotel Chocolat that I had the pleasure of being involved in at conceptual stages.
These are all big brands, perhaps with big budgets too. But, small businesses can get involved with experiential marketing.
Look at this example above from The Canonbury Tavern, a gorgeous pub I frequent in North London. They have taken Easter Egg Hunts to another level – find the bands that earn you a free drink at the pub… What an amazing example of how customers and those who stumble across the golden bands, can experience their brand.
Now I’ve explained what experiential marketing is and the benefit to business, will you be trying it out?