The marketing and advertising industry has changed dramatically in recent years. It wasn’t long ago that brands were able to raise awareness and generate revenue through social media and search engine marketing. Unfortunately, those days are coming to an end.
As consumers, we’ve become wise to easy plays. As a result, today’s marketers are stepping up their game to reach out to their target audience.
Brands looking to overcome these challenges are increasingly turning to experiential marketing as a more effective approach. The purpose of experiential event marketing is to engage attendees in meaningful and action-oriented ways.
There is no doubt that it is an extremely powerful form of marketing. If implemented righty, it can bolster a brand’s reputation as well as boost its ROI.
What Is Experiential Marketing?
The purpose of experiential marketing is to create an experience that affects a consumer’s behavior by appealing to their emotions. That’s why it’s also called engagement marketing.
Some consider event marketing a special type of experiential marketing because created experiences are typically part of larger events. Experience is a fundamental aspect of all events. Attendees will experience something at an event whether or not they are designed to do so by event planners.
Experiential marketers strive to make customers feel emotional bonds with their product or brand by making their experience unforgettable and enjoyable. These experiences help marketers increase ROI and achieve their goals.
Benefits Of Experiential Event Marketing
The experiential marketing approach differs in two important ways from traditional and digital marketing strategies.
First, experiential marketing engages multiple senses – not just visual ones – to create an emotional connection. Secondly, experiential marketing aims to create positive sentiment about a brand or product in general, not just to promote sales.
Experiential event marketing offers many benefits similar to traditional event marketing. The following are reasons why experience marketing should be at the center of your event marketing strategy:
Boost brand awareness & loyalty
Brand activations and product launches can be centered around the actions of your end users. Provide them with opportunities to try out your product or interact with it in a tangible way. Involving your audience in your marketing efforts will help your brand connect more effectively with them.
Increase your presence on social media
The opportunities for user-generated content are endless at experiential events. Organize a social media wall activity that your audience will want to share on their profiles with a memorable hashtag.
Highlight your sponsors in organic ways
An experience-based co-marketing strategy has a greater impact. You can suggest ways in which you can collaborate with your sponsors so that the attendees can experience both of your products at the same time.
According to research by pwc, customers are more likely to purchase products and services from brands when they have a positive experience.
Improve your lead generation opportunities
Reframe your lead generation efforts as a fun experience. Turn it into a game. Offer a giveaway, raffle, or other incentives for customers to share their contact information.
Increase attendee retention
Experience-based marketing will engage your attendees and make them enjoy your event more. A happy customer is a returning customer. Make sure to measure attendee retention to prove the ROI of experiential event marketing.
How To Plan Experiential Events
It is important to consider your specific target audience when planning experiential events. What drives them? What are the most effective ways to create an emotional connection between your brand and your customers? What kind of story will they enjoy? Tell them about that story.
You might consider including pop culture references or trends in your experiential strategy if your target audience appreciates them. You can use this tactic to engage your customers in a way that delivers real value to them, rather than just engaging your customers to increase engagement.
Having identified what delights your audience, you can get started on the “how” of experiential design. To transform your event into a boundary-pushing experience, you need much more than event technology solutions. You should design your events with the experience in mind, and use technology to support that vision.
These are some of the most essential tips to consider when planning an experiential event:
Engage All Senses
In contrast to most other marketing strategies, experiential event marketing involves using all five senses. It is important for event planners to focus on generating the right feeling by choosing the right music, food, and colors.
To energize attendees, event planners should use bright colors for signage, and serve foods that enhance energy levels.
Alternatively, if planners want to put the audience at ease, they must keep the space uncrowded, the music calm, and the colors soothing.
The best experiential events encourage attendees to participate in challenges, raffles, and games. Trade shows and exhibitions can take advantage of this powerful lead-generation tool.
It would also be a smart idea to inject a healthy dose of creativity into the event. Gamification offers a great opportunity to amplify an event theme.
Stella Artois, for instance, used experiential marketing during tax season by aptly referring to participants as “account holders” and the prize as an “investment vehicle” rather than a tandem bicycle. As a result, their messaging was replete with financial references, increasing audience engagement and brand loyalty.
Have Event Staff Support Your Event Concept
Make sure your event staff is familiar with the concept of your experiential event and instruct them to help people experience it in a certain way. You can make them feel excited by cheering them on. Assign them a personal concierge to let them feel like a VIP.
It’s also imperative for your speakers and emcees to know about the experience you are planning. In this way, they can prepare their content accordingly. For example, they can make references to your event theme and promote your event games.
Leverage Community Marketing
Marketing needs to create a compelling story before events, tapping into attendees’ emotions and excitement with teaser trailers, persuasive copy, and messages on the event app or platform to give events lasting impact.
The experience itself should extend beyond the event itself. Make sure you post an after-movie, and a heartfelt message, and encourage others to share their thoughts and feelings as well.
You can create an emotional setting for your event by using your online community. Event marketers are increasingly focused on building strong communities around their brands.
Marketing professionals can engage audiences all year long by offering value in terms of networking, content, and education. As a broader concept, experiential events are seen as a culmination of excitement within the community.
Elevate Attendee Experience With Event Personalization
A key component of the experience economy is personalization. It goes without saying that human experiences are deeply personal. As the personalization trend gains traction, experiential marketers are able to boost loyalty and drive ROI.
Implement event personalization by:
- sending personalized emails with a targeted message (segment by name, company, title, and other registration metrics),
- offering attendees personalized agendas based on their interests or expertise,
- setting up different workflows for different registration tiers,
- measuring the success of personalized marketing efforts.
- Add A Pinch Of Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality
There is no doubt that virtual reality and augmented reality are among the most exciting current event technology trends and are sure to generate buzz at your event. The majority of attendees might have never used a virtual headset or an AR event filter before. You have an excellent opportunity to give your audience a unique experience.
As a marketing asset for your future events, VR and AR make excellent user-generated content to share on social media.
Do you remember the special event you attended or planned years ago? In the end, it’s the positive emotions attached to the memory that makes it so memorable.
The goal of experiential events is to evoke that feeling in attendees. When events generate positive experiences, attendees become evangelists for brands who return year after year.