The aim of experiential marketing is to encourage participation in an event. The success of such campaigns depends on experts who know how to engage prospects and hook them into the named activity – be that an event, pop-up shop or something similarly interactive.
- Helps businesses form strong connections with customers
- Uses participation to build awareness of a product or service
- Is usually fun and unique – involving some form of activity
Think about it this way: while your competitors are writing blogs, posting on social media, and creating email campaigns you could create something truly unique that’d catch your customers attention,
Why is XM making a comeback?
Instead of asking ‘what is experiential marketing?’ the better question is why XM (industry shorthand for this method) is enjoying something of a resurgence in 2023.
The pandemic needs no introduction. What you may not know is it killed experiential marketing. Interactive events – indeed any kind of social interaction – were banned and so this approach was culled.
Rather than give up, businesses looked for new ways to interact with their customers that weren’t dependent on physical locations. That’s why XP campaigns can now be found online as much as in retail environments.
What is experiential marketing like in 2023? It’s designed to cater the needs of an audience no longer working to a strict nine-to-five schedule. Instead XP events can be accessed via almost any connected device.
Does ground marketing work?
That’s right, experiential marketing is also known as ground marketing. But moving terminology notwithstanding the process can improve brand advocacy by up to 40% and increase the chances of a purchase by an incredible 91%.
Why does it work so well? Because…
- It’s interactive not passive – meaning customers became a part of your brand and its story
- Customers don’t feel they’re being sold to and relax- reducing common barriers to selling
Consider: what is experiential marketing going to look like for your business and how can you tailor interactive events to suit the needs of your audience? Will online events work best or al fresco events that encourage in-person participation?
What are the benefits of experiential marketing?
- Greater awareness. By showcasing your business in a quirky way people are more likely to remember it.
- Better engagement. Interaction leads to better understanding – making the benefits of your offering clearer.
- Loyal advocates. Having experienced the power of your product, customers will be more likely to recommend it.
Three examples of experiential marketing
In practice, what is experiential marketing really like? What options could you explore to catch your customers’ attention and make them key players in your brand story?
Here are a few examples to whet your appetite…
Guerrilla marketing is spontaneous and uses the art of surprise to capture passing footfall. Imagine you sell street food. You might set up a stall near a university campus or on a busy industrial estate – offering free samples of your delicious cuisine to passers-by.
Alternatively, why not hire some projectors and beam images of your brand or campaign onto buildings in busy areas at night. Crowds are sure to gather and take pictures of your handiwork – perhaps even sharing them on social media.
What is a pop-up shop? It’s a temporary retail establishment with a lifespan of a few hours, days or, on rare occasions, months. These spaces cost less too, meaning businesses can sink more money into creating stand-out experiences.
The more inventive the pop-up the higher the chances of success. Birdseye opened a temporary cafe in London which served its cuisine. The catch? Diners paid by taking pictures of their food, uploading it to Instagram, and using the hashtag #BirdsEyeInspirations.
A more conventional form of XM, event marketing relies on building awareness of the occasion via digital channels and a dedicated public relations strategy.
Examples of experiential event marketing might include:
- Conferences and webinars
- Networking groups
Promoting positive outcomes is just as important as advertising the event itself. So don’t forget to share highlights of the day during and after the occasion.
The downsides of experiential marketing:
- Unique experiences can’t be repeated because they’ll lose their impact. So you’ll need to come up with fresh ideas often. How else can you present something your customers have never seen before?
- Even the best laid plans can fail. What is experiential marketing likely to reap for your business? In some cases the setting will prove problematic or crowd levels will dwindle due to time of day or weather.
- Measuring success is much harder. When a customer lands on your website you can track their activity from initial visit to checkout. But if you’ve opened a pop-up shop you might get a few email addresses at best.
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