Experiential Marketing In the Event Industry.
Event is one of those rarest platforms where face-to-face human connection is still appreciated and needed. This human connection is reflected in all the aspects of events and event marketing is no exception.
Changing face of Event marketing
If we look at the broader picture, event marketing can be done in many ways. It may be online or onsite, it may be traditional or digital. All such modes of marketing have a common goal- to increase the footfall of the event which eventually leads to a better ROE (Return Of Event). As the attention span of the target audience is decreasing these days, event marketing is using various hacks to keep itself relevant and result-oriented.
Event marketing, like any sensible marketing, has inclined itself with the changing habits of its target audience. This has lead to the advent of experiential marketing in the event industry.
What is Experiential marketing
Marketing literature says, “Experiential marketing involves marketing a product or a service through experiences that engage the customers and create an emotional attachment to product/service.” It can also be termed as engagement marketing, participation marketing or loyalty marketing.
The growing Influence of Experiential marketing
As far as the event organiser is concerned, his ultimate aim is to make the life of his event attendees eventful. Thus, the event industry is a favourable stage for experiential marketing. According to the Event Marketing Institute, for 77% of brands, experiential marketing makes the core of their event marketing plan. This is how experiential marketing dominates the event industry-
Design of Booths
Booths have evolved into visual story-telling spaces, designed in a way that they promote interactions. They also follow the common theme or the agenda of the event which, in turn, aims at enhancing attendees’ experience.
Onsite Brand Ambassadors
Organisers are leveraging their loyal customers as onsite brand ambassadors. Such brand advocates are there not merely for promoting the product (it’s not a sales pitch) but to share how the brand enhanced their experience.
Organisers are promoting strong online conversations around the offline experience. In this digital era when attendees spend most of their time online, it’s easier to influence them online. Whether it’s a pre-event buzz or post-event thanksgiving, organisers are taking experiential marketing beyond the boundary of the on-site event. This has made the use of interactive event apps inevitable.
Event pages complement experiential marketing. Thanks to content marketing, event pages are not a mere event description anymore. They are informative and engaging. According to the data hero blog, As many as 89% of attendees use search engines to make purchase decisions. Event organisers understand this well and this has to lead to SEO optimisation of event pages which also helps in driving sales.
Another way to bring the right content for the right candidate is direct mailing. Researches show that about 80% mails are being read on mobile phones and 65% of respondents prefer emails that contain more visuals than texts. It’s no surprise that event organisers are designing their email campaign in a way that it becomes more visually appealing.
AI & VR
Artificial intelligence and virtual reality are enhancing the overall onsite event experience. Virtual reality has gone beyond the gaming world and it is now an effective experiential tool for product demonstrations. These days, events are dominated by interactive displays which aren’t just about big screens but engaging and authentic brand stories.
Interaction with attendees
Focus has shifted from showcasing the product to illustrating the same. This gives enough time and opportunity to the attendees to experience how the product can be meaningful to them.
Attendees prefer dialogues to monologues, conversation to the direction. In these times when sales pitching is both outdated and ineffective, consumer engagement is at the core of event planning. Many events have gone to an extent of one-to-one interaction, transforming themselves from a marketplace to a solution-provider.
Good practices never get old. In case, an event is not technologically sophisticated, even basic activities can trigger a delightful experience. This can be done by giving people an opportunity to create something on their own. Be it selfie competitions or quiz sessions, attendees invest themselves more deeply if given a chance to involve in onsite exercises. Dedicated networking section is also an easy way to get attendees involved.
Attracting emotional investment is no less difficult than attracting monetary investment. Effective experiential marketing makes sure that the consumer invests emotionally in the brand. It is due to experiential marketing practices that events are not just events. They are knowledge centres, networking platforms and most importantly a place that can make lives more eventful.