What is experiential marketing?
Experiential marketing is a form of advertising in which your consumer gets to experience your brand through their senses - taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell.
Experiential marketing isn’t a new concept or marketing buzzword; The term “experiential” was first coined by Alvin Toffler in his 1971 book “Future Shock” and expanded upon 30 years later by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore in “The Experience Economy.” Think about the last time you visited Costco and sampled that brand new popcorn mix. Or that time you attended an informative lunch & learn sponsored by ATB Financial. Or when you personalized your can of Coca Cola at Stampede.
As you can imagine, there are many creative ways to engage your consumers or clients at an experiential level.
But why does experiential marketing matter?
Two words: Advertising clutter.
Today, we are inundated with thousands of marketing messages each day. “We've gone from being exposed to about 500 ads a day back in the 1970's to as many as 5,000 a day today,” according to Jay Walker-Smith, President of marketing firm Yankelovich.
Strategic experiential marketing activities can help you cut through the advertising clutter. It can help your organization:
- Generate leads
- Strengthen relationships with existing clients or consumers
- Educate your consumers
- Position yourself as a thought leader
- Increase brand awareness
- Create lasting, memorable impressions
Experiential marketing for B2B
Experiential marketing can also be applied for business-to-business (B2B) companies. Here are some ideas:
Host an informative lunch and learn for your clients on a problem they currently face
Create a contest that gives your community members an opportunity submit an idea and organize an event to announce the winner
Attend a conference or community event and have your colleagues hand out samples or discount cards in exchange for a photo or social media mention
Organize a fundraiser and support an important cause while bringing your clients, colleagues and community members together
Implementing a successful experiential marketing campaign
The key to developing a successful experiential marketing campaign is to ensure you understand your target audience’s behaviours, hobbies, and needs.
For example, if you were interested in hiring software developers, you wouldn’t throw a huge office party with loud music, fancy food and a black tie dress code. (Well, you could always try). Instead, we recommend getting to know your existing software developers. Where do they hang out? What do they like to do? What kinds of events or Meetups do they attend?
Research their needs and then create an event or experience that they would be drawn to so you can remove as many barriers to engagement as possible.
Do you have examples of successful experiential marketing campaigns that you’ve implemented or taken part in? Share them below!