by Shauna Hammack
When we use the term experiential marketing, those of us in the industry describe it the same way: an immersive experience that shows customers how a brand fits into their lives while allowing those brands to form long-term connections with consumers.
In other words, experiential marketing brings a product to life by reaching consumers in more innovative, authentic, and sharable ways. You’re no longer asking them to watch a random advertisement — you’re creating an experience that builds a bond between consumers and your brand.
Why Experiential Marketing Is Important
Whether it’s for a B2C or B2B audience, experiential marketing is one of the most effective ways to build brand awareness. According to a report by Mosaic and the Event Marketing Institute, 65% of consumers believe that live events or demos help them to better understand a brand. This means any and all industries can benefit from experiential marketing efforts.
Traditional advertising is often more generalized in its messaging, especially when you consider that only 28% of brands use digital audience data to inform TV ad buy decisions. With experiential marketing, you can tailor an experience to a specific audience and focus on their preferences to create more memorable and relevant interactions.
This isn’t to say traditional advertising lacks relevance. It certainly can be relevant, but its connection is often more rational in nature. Experiential marketing, on the other hand, goes deeper by connecting to consumers’ rational and emotional sides.
With more than 25% of people now using ad-blocking software — not to mention the fast-forward functionality of DVRs — it’s more difficult for traditional advertising to resonate with consumers. A well-planned experiential campaign cuts through the noise and reaches consumers where they work, live, and play.
The Benefits of Experiential Marketing
Consumers no longer pay as much attention to traditional marketing efforts; they would rather experience what a brand offers. Experiential marketing allows them to control their interactions with brands and decide whether they want to share those experiences with other people — sort of like hashtags on social media.
Research from Harris Group found that 72% of Millennials would rather spend money on experiences than material items, which explains why more than a third of CMOs plan to allocate up to 50% of their overall marketing budget to experiential marketing. It’s a cost-effective and practical way to generate one-on-one engagement with consumers and to build brand awareness.
If you try your hand at experiential marketing, make sure your campaign is both innovative and authentic to your brand. Furthermore, your campaign should be inherently shareable and encourage its participants to invite others in their network to join the fun. Above all else, be sure to set clear and measurable goals prior to launch. Without a defined target, you will have no way to properly track your success.
Experiential marketing continues to gain popularity with companies that want to build lasting connections with their audiences. Now is the time to determine whether it can do the same for your brand.