Just when you thought that you were finally getting to grips with all of the new lingo and marketing buzzwords on the scene, along comes another. If you keep hearing the phrase ‘experiential marketing’ being thrown around the office and wondering what on earth it means, you are not alone. The good news is that this is no new phenomenon.
The term ‘experiential marketing’ is a just a fresh package for a familiar marketing technique; though the sophistication and scale of event based promotion has changed considerably over the last two decades. Essentially, if your company has ever held an event designed to let prospective customers experience a product or service, you have been involved with experiential marketing.
Whether or not it was successful is a different question; one which depends on the amount of conversions the event secured or how many consumers signed up to mailing lists in its wake. The purpose of an experiential event is to go beyond simply telling customers why your company is the right choice. In this age of constant distraction – with mobile apps, social media profiles, and never ending content vying for our attention – it is no longer enough to just to tell.
The modern consumer demands to be entertained and surprised. They want to be immersed in the value of a brand and the only way to do this is to take it to them. For example, look at promotion for the Disney kids show Doc. McStuffin. As the show is about a small girl who heals stuffed toys from an imaginary clinic, Disney set up ‘teddy bear clinics’ all across the country – children were invited to come in and adopt the role of doctor.
This is a very basic form of experiential marketing, but the objective is the same for adults as it is children; to create an immersive encounter, usually in the form of a one off event. So, another great example is the rum flavoured beer, Cubanisto, which was launched in the last two years. To promote the new drink, a series of free masquerade style parties were held at a number of major UK cities.
The attendees were not asked for anything, so the event really was an exciting ‘free’ experience for them. Whilst it is true that the only drink on offer at the event was Cubanisto, the guests were not asked to pay for anything which they might not usually. If you want your experiential marketing event to be a success, this is key –you have to offer customers a no obligation taster, so that there is no sense of risk involved with trying the product or service.
This does mean that effective experiential marketing requires a skilled event planning team. The logistics of a launch or a taster session have to be very carefully managed, especially in respect to how many people it can accommodate. The good news is that tools like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Evernote, and Hootsuite are making the process simpler than ever.
by: Ant Hampel