Experiential marketing events differ from mass media campaigns by offering connection on a more personal level, generating a deeper level of emotional engagement. The millennial mindset of “collecting experiences not things” therefore presents opportunities for businesses to leverage consumer experiences and increase their value. Companies that are built on experiences or have experiential components will benefit from this additional economic value and win the hearts of consumers.
Although this might sound like bad news for product-focused businesses, it has in fact encouraged more creative and innovative marketing activities. Done right, experiential marketing can effectively:
By inviting consumers to immerse themselves in a sensory experience of your brand as part of a carefully timed and targeted brand activation, connections can be established. According to a 2016 study (1), 74% of consumers said that engaging with branded event marketing experiences makes them more likely to buy the products being promoted. Moreover, 73% post pictures of the events on social media, creating a buzz around the brand and products.
Arguably, the brand most recognised for its experiential marketing impact is Red Bull. Between sponsoring Felix Baumgartner to freefall from 24 miles above the Earth’s surface and the 30 extreme sports events they organise and sponsor, Red Bull spends a mere 20% of its marketing budget on traditional advertising. The communities which are created by such events attract consumers to become a part of something bigger and get them talking (and drinking Red Bull).
Rest assured, you don’t need a Red Bull budget to create a successful experiential marketing event. A pop-up shop, a community event or free product trial can have the same effect: that is raising awareness and giving consumers a unique experience which they will associate with your brand.
With the ability to fast forward television adverts and install ad-blockers, digital consumers are becoming increasingly immune to mass marketing messages. Experiential marketing, however, is difficult to ignore because it involves active – rather than passive – engagement. For many, happiness is no longer focused on material possessions but rather living a meaningful, happy life filled with memorable experiences. So if you want to get people talking about your brand, do something unexpected and memorable.