In 2020, in-person events and experiences were suspended, forcing a transition to virtual interfaces. Throughout the pandemic, brands shifted their marketing efforts to focus more on the digital world. We are seeing an increasing number of brands on TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and other social platforms. This boom in the digital world means that brands need to find new, unique ways to stand out from the rest.
Consumers have indicated that a brand’s values and culture are huge factors in determining whether to buy its products or services. They are looking for connection and a sense of community when interacting with a brand. It comes down to quality over quantity in terms of brand exposure and interaction. There should be a two-way connection built between you and your audience, enhanced by transparency, authenticity, and inclusivity. Experiential marketing is an excellent way to foster this connection.
Defining Experiential Marketing
Experiential marketing uses real-life experiences to raise brand awareness, build connections, and increase sales. Exposure to your products and services occurs through events, activities, and experiences rather than just ads and social content. With traditional marketing, your customers are passive recipients of brand information, whereas with experiential marketing they are active participants. There are a variety of ways to incorporate experiential marketing into your strategy, including both offline and online experiences.
Augmented & Virtual Realities
Augmented reality (AR) is the use of technology to augment or enhance a person’s perception of their physical environment. This is done by overlaying a digital experience over the top of a physical one. Virtual reality (VR), on the other hand, is a completely immersive digital experience. By putting on a headset, the display replaces your physical environment rather than integrating the two. Both AR and VR connect the real world with the online world, providing interactive experiences immersed in a virtual environment. Using this experiential marketing strategy engages potential customers with your products in a memorable way.
Nikeland: The Nike Soccerverse
Nikeland is a shared digital space built by Nike in the Roblox online platform. You can create a personalized avatar and unlock clothing, accessories, and superpowers by playing games or participating in the Nike Cup Clash. Users are also able to create their own minigames, earn UGC items, and explore the digital world to their heart’s content.
Classes & Workshops
Providing classes and workshops is a great way to connect your audience with the people behind your brand. Establish yourself as an expert by teaching small groups of people how to make or do something relevant in your niche. Leverage your current customer base to create events that complement your products and services while being of interest to your audience. These can be held in person or online.
Wine & Paint Events
Wine and paint nights are a classic example of how you can connect with your audience through classes. During these events, an artist walks the attendees through creating the selected painting for the night. They give step-by-step instructions on what colors to use or blend and how to create the right texture with the brush. The participants have the option to follow along exactly or to create their own variation. Wine and paint nights are fun for the participants, especially if they come with friends, and the artist gets to share their work and skills.
Co-branding is when two or more companies collaborate on a joint experience that benefits all of the brands involved. These events work best when the products and services of each brand don’t compete with one another.
Joybird & Sherwin-Williams
Joybird is a home lifestyle brand that sells home furnishings and interior decor. They collaborated with Sherwin-Williams, a paint company, on a campaign that combined home furnishing and color palettes. Together, they provided inspiration for customers to easily choose paint colors that complemented their home decor.
Conferences are a place for like-minded professionals to gather and discuss industry topics. These conferences typically include live talks, in-person trainings, and networking events. You can share your expertise, educate others, and create personal connections with your target audience.
Social Media Marketing World
For the past three years, our marketing team has participated virtually in the annual Social Media Marketing World conference. During this conference, we participate in live talks with experts in social media marketing and have the opportunity to ask questions during a live Q&A. We have enjoyed attending and learning the latest tips and tricks for marketing on social media.
Product Demonstrations, Samplings, & Trials
Providing demonstrations, samples, and trials appeals to customers because they are able to try out your products or services before purchasing. They can make informed decisions based on their experiences. This is a great way for you to promote brand awareness, generate leads, and increase sales. Be sure to implement a lead- or purchase-tracking system to monitor the results of the campaign and determine if it was a success.
Subscription boxes are excellent for experiential marketing for two reasons: (1) they typically offer a free trial box so you can see if it would be a beneficial subscription for you, and (2) the products in them are smaller sample-size versions of quality items. These boxes work for most industries and products, including food, beauty, home decor, and art supplies.
Tours provide your audience with a behind-the-scenes experience of your company. Whether self-guided or staff-led, these experiences are ideal for tourists and brand enthusiasts. They get a chance to learn more about your brand, your history, and how products are made, and even try samples of your products and services.
Tillamook Creamery offers free self-guided tours of their facility. Visitors can learn more about the company’s history and heritage by exploring the Farm Exhibit and Viewing Gallery. During the week, you can watch as employees cut and package the cheese blocks. They also offer a paid touring experience where you can learn about their cheesemaking process and get an exclusive hands-on look at some of their premium products.
With these exclusive offerings, a select few people have the opportunity to experience a brand, product, or service in a new and meaningful way.
In 2021, the Philadelphia 76ers hosted the VIP Ticket Holders Tent Party. This exclusive event was a chance for loyal fans to cheer and celebrate their favorite team, complete with a 360 Video Booth to instantly share their unique experiences on social media.
Advantages of Experiential Marketing
Experiential marketing presents the opportunity to create meaningful experiences that transform your audience from passive recipients to active participants. This marketing strategy raises awareness of your brand and fosters authentic connections between you and your customers, ultimately driving sales conversions.
If you want to learn more about how experiential marketing can boost your existing marketing strategy, reach out to us today!