Critics say that social networks are contributing to social isolation, but the exponential rise of experiential marketing suggests that the world’s foremost social networks may be allowing businesses to engage audiences in new and authentic ways. This engagement-focused marketing strategy revolves around direct interaction with attendees, and welcomes them into a multidimensional brand environment. Changing the relationship between the brand and their customer base, experiential marketing transforms the role of the consumer from that of a passive recipient of marketing messages to an active participant in the brand experience.
Whether you’re investing in a high-impact exhibition unit for an upcoming pop-up, or building your brand’s online presence by using social media to communicate with your customers, it’s important to consider the fundamental principles behind experiential marketing when planning your next campaign to make sure you’re firing on all cylinders. Today, we’re taking a closer look at 4 key concepts surrounding experiential marketing to help you generate the right sort of engagement from the right people.
Human beings are driven by their senses, meaning that sensory elements can and should play a crucial role in marketing campaigns. Appealing to the senses is one of the most effective ways to encourage audience interaction, so dedicate time to considering how you can harness these powerful triggers for your brand’s benefit.
Here are a few key ways business owners and marketers can take a sensory approach to engaging event attendees and leave a lasting impression of their brand:
● Touch: Online retailers may be going from strength to strength, but many of us are more at home in a brick-and-mortar store where we can get a feel for products in-person. Whether consumers are looking for a familiar feel or simply need to get their hands on a product to make a purchasing decision, there’s no doubt that our sense of touch plays a powerful part in allowing us to engage with the world around us. Fully loaded exhibition units can give audiences an opportunity to interact with products on a physical level, or incorporate touchscreen technology to create a deeper connection with a campaign
● Sight: They say that seeing is believing, and there’s no doubting the importance of sight in event marketing. Whether you’re exhibiting at a festival or hosting a pop-up on the high street, the single most effective way to get attendees engaging with your brand is by designing a visually impactful display. Eye-catching aesthetics will draw passers-by over to your exhibition trailer, as well as boosting overall brand recognition - so for maximum impact, ensure that your unit is big and bold
● Hearing: From musical elements to audio marketing messages, communicating through sound is a surefire way for a brand to strike a chord with their customer base. Drive footfall to your pop-up event through the sound of music or create exclusive video content that’s played inside your event space to bring an auditory level to your experiential marketing efforts
Experiential marketing is driven by one-on-one engagement between brands and their audiences, which makes the act of interaction an essential part of a successful campaign. Ensuring omnipresence across on and offline platforms means you can access a much more vast and varied audience, meaning there’s no excuse for non-attendees to miss out on your efforts. Thanks to the broad spectrum of tactics available when it comes to encouraging audience interaction, finding an approach that suits you couldn’t be easier:
● One-on-one product demos: Social media may have changed the way that we share and read news, but at the core of experiential marketing is a belief that the benefits of authentic, face-to-face engagement will never die. An in-person product or service demonstration from a brand ambassador will pique the interest of passers-by - and by seeking out individual audience members to give them a one-on-one opportunity to try your offering for themselves and ask any questions they have, you can make an impression that will stand the test of time
● Real-time technology: Whether you’re streaming live from an industry expo, broadcasting an immersive street performance or letting your followers in on a large-scale marketing stunt, real-time video sharing allows online users across the world to be a part of your event, whatever their location. Better yet, social media offers a free platform for spreading the word about your brand - meaning your experiential marketing campaign could go viral without promotion having to cost you a penny
● Online interaction: The world’s leading social networks boast hundreds of millions of monthly active users, so it’s no surprise brands are using these powerful platforms to share their event marketing campaign with the world. As well as encouraging followers to make the trip to the live event, broadcasting your pop-up and asking for feedback from your followers online means the general public can have their say and you can benefit from authentic feedback. Maximise your reach by encouraging attendees to share their experiences on their own social media accounts, and invite non-attendees to get involved by giving their thoughts on live footage from the big day
From triggering the senses to evoking a fond memory, generating an emotional response from an audience is one of the most effective ways businesses and marketers can build brand loyalty. Experiential marketing is all about initiating a mutually beneficial relationship between brands and their customers, and establishing an emotional connection is a crucial first step in making relationships like these work. Creating an immersive brand environment has to come first - and after that, you can decide how to appeal to your audience’s emotional side:
● The value of entertainment: From transforming an exhibition unit into an interactive drinks dispenser to bringing passers-by to your pop-up with live entertainment, making your campaign memorable will leave people talking after your event long after the entertainment is over. An entertaining display is sure to draw in a crowd, so concentrate on making your exhibit fun and unique, rather than placing too much emphasis on corporate marketing messages
● A personal connection: With so many impersonal advertisements out there, experiential marketing is a channel with the potential to add a much-needed personal touch. Appointing brand ambassadors to support your marketing efforts means attendees will be able to engage with reps face-to-face, giving your brand a living, breathing identity
● The power of nostalgia: The ability to flex your creative muscles and produce an out-of-the-ordinary environment for attendees is one of the most exciting things about the experiential approach. With limited time to make an impression on your audience, packing your event space with a torrent of marketing messages won’t make an impact. Harness the power of nostalgia where you can and embed your brand into attendees’ memories - that way, you can trigger an emotional response that won’t be forgotten in a hurry
In the age of experiential marketing, there’s no longer any need for a barrier to exist between businesses and their customer base. The rise of experiential tactics has allowed more and more brands to become relatable to their customers, giving audiences the ability and the incentive to engage with businesses one-on-one - and here are some ways you can make this approach work for you:
● An authentic connection: People communicate with people rather than brands, which makes establishing a genuine connection crucial. Connect with consumers on an authentic level, and you’ll be able to break down the barrier that once existed between brands and audiences. By forgetting pushy sales tactics and instead focusing on building brand awareness, businesses can engage with potential customers or clients face-to-face - creating a relationship that feels genuine
● Accessing each other out of hours: With flexibility at the forefront of most modern job roles, the traditional 9-5 is becoming increasingly uncommon in many business environments. The ongoing rise of social media platforms means it’s now possible to access your demographic 24 hours a day, and customers are beginning to expect the same level of access in return. By employing social media specialists to operate accounts both during and after a live event, brands are effectively conveying the message that they have plenty in common with their customers
● Adding a voice to experiential marketing: The role of brand ambassadors is crucial to many experiential marketing campaigns, as these figures echo a company’s corporate identity in everything from their appearance and demeanor to their ethics and values. A living embodiment of what a business stands for, consumers can relate to these brand ambassadors - as well as being influenced by their promotional tactics
From festival experiences to pre-Christmas activities, experiential marketing campaigns have become an integral part of modern promotion strategies. If you’re ready to take brand engagement to the next level, it’s time to choose your exhibition unit and revolutionise your event marketing strategy.