It’s common knowledge that the days of relying solely on traditional marketing are in the past. The digital landscape has dramatically changed the way consumers purchase and interact with brands. The internet allows more entrepreneurs to start companies and market their products both locally and across the globe. This lower barrier to entry means that consumers now have more purchasing choices and, at the same time, an unprecedented amount of information at their fingertips.
With this increase in information, buyers can learn more about the companies behind their favorite brands. This sense of intimacy has given consumers the opportunity to feel connected. Before they buy, many want to understand the origin of a company and its corporate philosophy. They want to know the story of the products and proof they are worth the investment. They want less interruption by impersonal media and more personalized messaging.
Even as technology has led to a more comprehensive corporate presence, a consequence of this digital environment is a decrease in tangible brand experiences. In many cases, a screen separates consumers from the product they are purchasing until it ends up on their doorstep. And while reviews, corporate videos and product details are great, they do not deliver the power of a physical experience. Therein lies the opportunity. Presently, one of the best differentiators and avenues in which companies tell a memorable and meaningful brand story is to invest in event marketing. When consumers can taste, touch and feel your brand there is a connection, and that connection can translate into sales. In fact, according to a study performed by the Event Marketing Institute, a whopping 98% of consumers feel more inclined to purchase after attending an experiential marketing event. Experiential marketing creates a personalized experience and establishes a social relationship with consumers in the process. Invest in event marketing and you can capitalize on these benefits.[Tweet “When consumers can taste, touch and feel your brand, there is a connection.”]
Invest in Event Marketing to Amplify Other Marketing Efforts
Experiential (or event) marketing breaks the digital barrier. When consumers have a positive experience with your product or service firsthand, they feel better about their purchase and are more likely to spread the word. One of the best things about experiential marketing is that it takes place offline, where the impact is greater. Yet giving consumers the opportunity to post their experience online immortalizes your event and amplifies its power. This is why tying social media to event activation is critical.
About 60% of consumers will use Facebook or other social media outlets to share event-related content. Companies that tie an online campaign to their activation are benefiting in two ways. First, the in-person experience is transforming attendees into customers and brand advocates. As these attendees share content from the event, the event gets exposure and the brand engages people who weren’t even present. Putting the event online also makes post-event digital follow up that much more impactful. Second, the brand is receiving the best kind of marketing: word-of-mouth. This free press not only comes from trusted sources, but is at no cost and can grow exponentially.
Brands can incentivize positive social sharing in several ways. Consider a contest with customized hashtags to create excitement and provide a channel with which your marketing department can track feedback. Provide a photo booth at the event itself to aid attendees in creating and sharing branded event content.An experiential marketing event is the ideal place to distribute coupons or discount codes to produce long-term event ROI for the brand. Providing special offers to encourage an initial purchase can make attendees more likely to become long-term paying customers.
Event Marketing Has Tremendous Variety
Another enticing aspect of event marketing is its versatility. Experiential marketing is by no means one-size-fits-all. Some techniques that are ideal for one company will not work for others. It is important to identify where your target audience lives, both on and off line, and how they prefer to be engaged. Only then can you choose the best way to invest in event marketing to give you the best return. Some common types of experiential marketing events are:
- Product sampling or demonstrations
- Promotional giveaways
- Street teams
- Interactive displays
- Virtual reality experiences
- Lead generation campaigns
- In-store demonstrations
- Mobile tours
- Trade shows
- PR stunts
- Guerrilla marketing
Keep in mind that there may be new avenues of experiential marketing that have not been pioneered yet. While there are best practices, there is no event marketing blueprint. Your only true mandate is to be cre-ative, serve your audience and to measure and show event ROI.
Want to learn more? This post is just Chapter 1 of The Ultimate Experiential Marketing Staffing Guide and Checklist. Click below to download the full guide for free and put your next event on the path to success!