When some people think of brand marketing, they imagine digital methods, such as social media. Everyone is anxious to learn how they can find more Twitter followers, get more blog readers, and increase their online reach. But what if we told you that the most effective brand marketing strategy actually occurs offline?
Having a social media presence is important, but few things make an impact like a live event. Events stir up emotions and positive feelings in people that will last far longer than just reading a post.
At an experiential event, a company is able to look customers in the eye and shake their hands. This type of face-to-face interaction will be remembered far longer and will create stronger connections with your customers.
Experiential marketing has become more important than ever because it allows the customer to experience your brand in person.
What is Experiential Marketing?
But what exactly is experiential marketing? Yes, experiential generally includes a live event, but it is about much more than that. Rather than just putting together a one-time event and moving on, experiential creates a lasting bond between your brand and the customer.
Live events bring to life the brand’s personality and make it stand out from its competitors. This incentivizes the customer to continue to come back and continue purchasing from that brand.
This blog post summed it up nicely by saying that experiential marketing is an immersive branded experience. It is something that you can physically interact with, which rules out anything on TV or social media.
Of course, live events are nothing new. But experiential marketing takes live brand events to another level. It can incorporate technology and storytelling to make your experience more impactful. The purpose is to immerse the customer in a fun and interactive experience which will encourage brand loyalty and more sales, both immediately and down the road.
6 Reasons Experiential is the Future of Brand Marketing
It is becoming more difficult to capture a customer’s attention online, and it is even harder for brands to make a lasting impression. That is why 77% of B2B marketers use live events as part of their brand marketing strategy. And experiential marketing ranks as the second most effective channel for event promotion.
Still on the fence? Here are six reasons why experiential is the future of brand marketing:
1. Experiential marketing sets your brand apart
Giveaways are nice, but are you really going to remember a free cup of coffee years after the fact? When you give people an experience they will remember, you are giving them something far more valuable.
In a marketplace where everyone is trying to stand out, experiential events allow companies to do just that. Almost every company is online, but far fewer do fun and interactive events.
2. It can be combined with social media
We aren’t suggesting that you forget digital marketing altogether! Experiential events can actually be even more powerful when combined with social media.
Live events are highly “shareable”; people love to check in, take photos, and share them with all of their friends. This is a great opportunity for free exposure and an effective way to further promote your brand. Make sure your events give attendees the opportunity to create content, and encourage them to share it.
3. Your customers physically interact with your products
Think about the last time you went to the grocery store and someone was standing by one of the aisles with free samples. Or the last time you walked around the mall, and sales people were standing by booths offering to let you try their perfume. Customers are more inclined to buy a product if they can taste, touch, or smell it first.
Experiential events are a great opportunity to introduce your products to customers in a low-pressure setting. They can try them out for free, share their feedback with you, and make a purchase if they want.
4. It allows you to show your brand’s values
Customers will show greater loyalty to brands that share their core values. But most people have a much shorter attention span for online content. This can make it a challenge to communicate your values on social media.
At a live event, you have a captive audience that is willing and interested in learning more about your brand. This makes it is much easier to show your values and core beliefs. Events allow your customer to get to know your company in a different way.
5. Experiential events create brand loyalty
A critical component of marketing is keeping your customers engaged, even after that first initial sale. A one-time buy may help you meet an immediate goal, but it won’t guarantee long term customers. To gain loyalty from your customers, you have to give them something more valuable.
Experiential marketing is a way to continue to engage with attendees and turn one-time purchases into long term sales. This survey found that 74 percent of people had a more positive impression of a brand after going to a live event. And nearly 70 percent of the event participants ended up becoming long term customers.
6. Experiential marketing creates connections
The needs and desires of customers are constantly changing. As marketers, we have to keep pace with those changes. Experiential marketing resonates with customers because it gives them a chance to connect with the brands they are considering buying from.
The reason why this matters is simple — as humans, we have an intrinsic need for connection. Experiential marketing gives customers a safe space to have the face-to-face connections they are looking for. It allows them to have a voice in a marketing process which is traditionally one-sided, and this makes them more inclined to have positive sentiment toward your brand.
As connected as we all are, sometimes it can feel like we are farther apart than ever. When people communicate, it is largely through text, email, or social media messages. There is an appeal to this sort of “instant access,” but it can also feel impersonal.
Our exposure to constant social media chatter and online advertisements causes people seek real connections and create memories. Experiential events can give this to them.
Because of this, events can be a more effective brand strategy than any Facebook ad or Tweet. And this is because experiential marketing is not about a quick spike in sales. Sure, it is about revenue, but it is also about creating brand loyalty and building real connections with your customers.
Experiential is the future, but as the holiday season approaches, retail brands would be wise to make experiential the very near future of their brand marketing efforts. Our free Experiential Marketing and Retail Guide offers the why and how of incorporating an experience into a retail brand marketing strategy.