Experiential Marketing 2.0: Your 2018 Guide to Alternative Events & Experiences

rows of colourful chairs in front of brick wall
Experiential marketing has now unquestionably come of age. Otherwise known as event marketing or engagement marketing, this vibrant and dynamic tool in the modern marketer’s toolkit has been raised to adulthood by ambitious brands willing to push the boundaries of events and find new, as yet unexplored ways of making the business-customer relationship mean and deliver more.
When it comes to whether or not this channel has the potential to generate leads, foster brand loyalty and make honest-to-goodness sales, there is no question. What’s yet to be answered, though, is where we go next. At The Events Structure, we have a few big ideas for the next exhilarating frontier of experiential marketing.
If any of these ideas inspire you to take your brand in an exciting new direction and explore as yet uncharted territory, check out our range of exhibition trailers and other products to take the first crucial step.

Adventures, excursions and expeditions

two people skydiving
One crucial consideration businesses should make when planning their next round of event marketing activity is this: what genuine value does your event offer attendees?
Experiential events of the past have attempted to satisfy this query by masquerading brand or product information as genuine value - but the truth is that any marketing event should be inherently entertaining or exciting or memorable in its own right, or else it has little chance of standing apart from any other self-serving offering.
That’s where unique experiential marketing adventures come in. Think skydiving, bungee jumping, scavenger hunting, mountain biking (or hiking), camping, kayaking or orienteering - the sky’s the limit when it comes to once-in-a-lifetime adventures and excursions and, if you can connect your brand with an unforgettable experience that attendees remember forever, you’ll find your brand is similarly memorable.
Sponsor an event or organise one yourself from scratch, use any social media, email and even direct marketing tools at your disposal to spread the word, and spend an adrenaline-filled day with your customers to offer value that simply can’t be disputed.

Hands-on workshops and masterclasses

woman teaching yoga to class
While we’re on the subject of value, let’s not forget how memorable a truly expert educational experience can be. Zooming out far beyond the immediate topics that are your business and product or service range, there are options galore when it comes to sharing knowledge with audiences and helping them to pick up or sharpen personal skills through the medium of event marketing.
Whether you’re organising a practical how-to session (streamed live for maximum exposure), a collaborative workshop or online masterclass delivered in webinar format, the first step is to identify the web of topics that surround your brand and industry, and go from there.
If you’re a B2C company selling art supplies, you can impart real-world value by offering classes on different artistic disciplines and how to master them. B2B retail tech manufacturers may instead choose to run an interactive workshop on product merchandising best practices. Put customer benefits ahead of what your brand has to gain and you’ll have the foundations for an enlightening piece of experiential marketing.

Parties, festivals and role-playing experiences

confetti launched over crowd of people at experiential event
It goes without saying that an action-packed party is sure to help your brand find its way into the hearts of audiences - and the good news is there are all kinds of ragers you can throw which will generate valuable brand exposure while remaining professional and on-brand.
Launch events are an eternally popular type of branded party that businesses throw to get all eyes on their enterprise - and there’s no denying the rewards there are to be had, assuming you can guarantee a great turnout. If you’re already lucky enough to have a loyal and engaged customer base and you’re on the countdown to launching a sister brand or new product range, this type of event marketing could certainly do the trick - but if you’re instead looking to build a vibrant and popular brand from the ground up, you may need to move your thinking outside of the box.
Festivals, for example - even on a far more low-key scale than your Glastonburies, Latitudes or Downloads - provide an unmatched opportunity to bring consumers from all walks of life together in the name of entertainment (whether it’s music, performance art, comedy, drama or whatever else).
In an entirely different vein far removed from traditional experiential marketing, themed parties including an element of role play - think murder mystery nights or brand-sponsored Halloween blowouts - give attendees a chance to get in touch with their creative and imaginative sides, leaving their day-to-day behind to indulge in something out of the ordinary within a vibrant brand environment.

Marches, protests and rallies

image of people at pro-science rally holding pickets
For many business owners, and especially in the case of nonprofits, their enterprise or organisation is a passion project fuelled by one very closely held belief or cause that drives them to succeed. If this sounds like you, the solution to your experiential marketing problem is to take to the streets and fight for what your brand believes in.
Rally the troops online - with Twitter being one of the most powerful tools at your disposal in this case - and set the date and time, whether you’re planning a politically-charged protest, a march to raise awareness about an issue deserving of exposure, or an industry rally that will see competitive companies or organisations come together in the name of a common goal. Pushing the boundaries of event marketing is the key - and it may be that your typical conference or trade show just isn’t your style.
Aligning your brand with an ethical cause can do wonders for your image - especially, of course, if your interest is entirely heartfelt and genuine. If customers can make an emotional connection with your business and feel good about buying your products or subscribing to your service, half the battle has already been won.

Augmented and virtual reality events

woman with virtual reality headset on
Once you’ve exhausted everything there is to experience in this reality, it’s time to broaden your horizons further still and take a collective step with your customers into the next dimension: augmented and virtual reality. This ever-evolving tech is the key to unlocking experiences that would otherwise be off-limits - bringing typically unextraordinary locations to life in the case of AR, and granting invitees access to immersive, otherworldly experiences in the case of VR.
The technology is continuing to mature and it’s becoming ever clearer that there’s no ceiling on its capabilities - so to treat prospective customers to something truly spectacular, get in touch with augmented and virtual reality experts and discuss the innumerable options available to you.
Could one of our dynamic exhibition trailers help bring your experiential marketing campaign to life? Hire one today to bring your brand into the public consciousness.