8 Tips For Successful Experiential Marketing Campaigns

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In today’s digitally cluttered world, event marketing has the power to cut through the noise and convey a clear message. It’s no surprise that brands continue to champion experiential marketing campaigns as a crucial tactic in their overall business strategy.
Experiential initiatives are different from other channels. In addition to requiring a good event plan they require the participant’s full attention within the given time frame.
Whether that be 30 seconds or 30 minutes, experiential marketing enjoys the advantage of having 100% engagement. Compared to competing for the consumer’s attention in a digitally dense environment. For this reason, experiential initiatives have the potential to make a huge impact.

To ensure that you and your team are best positioned to create exceptional experiential marketing campaigns, here are 8 tips that will make your initiative stand out from the rest.

 

1. Create Emotional Resonance

large wall that reads '#WeighThis'                                                                                        Source: eventmarketer.com 
As is the case for all successful experiential marketing campaigns, creating an emotional connection is key to staying in the minds of consumers.
A key question to ask is: How do we want our audience to feel? Having a clear vision of what the resulting emotion should be, helps to tailor the strategy to arrive at the desired emotion.
A great example of this is Lean Cuisine’s “#WeighThis” campaign.
Lean Cuisine asked passersby in Grand Central Station how they actually wanted to weigh themselves, separate from their physical weight.
This forced people to consider what is truly important in their lives and the accomplishments they were most proud of. One woman wanted to be weighed by the amount of love she gave her sons while another desired for her determination to graduate from college.
By the end of the experience, participants felt a sense of self-validation that made for a truly memorable moment.

2. Experiment With Different Technologies

two people wearing VR headsets                                                                           Source: Anheuser-Busch
With technology continuing to evolve at such a consistent pace, it’s important to incorporate forms of emerging tech into your strategy. Why not try event apps, live-streaming and VR.
Doing so has the potential of engaging consumers in a way that has not been done before.
Anheuser-Busch took full advantage of the increasingly popular VR technology by offering a virtual tour of the Budweiser brewery.
Participants sat down and put on VR goggles to receive a full tour of the Budweiser brewery in St. Louis. They walked away with an experience that was memorable. But, it also made them better understand the inner workings behind Budweiser’s product.

3. Offer Value To Consumers

burger held in front 'The Economist'                                                                              Source: beyondmeat.com
Sometimes, just having a “cool” experience isn’t enough. Are targeting a savvier consumer demographic? The experience should provide them with valuable takeaways.
Valuable takeaways from experiential marketing campaigns often come in the knowledge the participants didn’t have beforehand.
Free food is always a plus.
The Economist combined both strategies when they had food trucks in New York City offer free samples of meat-free burgers. This was the with an aim to educate people about the negative impact of meat products and the tastiness of artificial meat.
The Economist better positioned themselves to offer discounted subscriptions to people who passed by the food truck.  Because people were already engaged, they were more likely to consider purchasing the subscription.

4. Look For Partnerships Opportunities   

pool with a white float                                                                                  Source: Casper
Teaming up with other companies can be a great way to magnify the effects of experiential marketing campaigns. A partnership with another brand can offer resources and access to a different audience that wouldn’t have been possible to reach otherwise.
During SXSW 2017, the popular mattress brand Casper teamed up with One:Night. The app that allows you to book same-night hotel reservations for people in search of a spontaneous adventure.
At SXSW, people were given a 1-hour window to book one-night hotel reservation for only $99. Once the guests arrived to the hotel, they would find their rooms outfitted with Casper mattresses, pillows, and slippers.
They were also given fresh pajamas, milk and cookies, and could even request a “mom” to come to their room and read them a bedtime story.
This partnership is a great example of how two brands came together to leverage one another’s strengths to create one of the best campaigns of SXSW.

5. Amplify The Campaign With A Dedicated Social Media Strategy

group of people near 'Honest Tea'                                                                            Source: Honest Tea Twitter
The one possible downside to experiential campaigns is that the actual experience is limited to the direct participants. Coupling the campaign with a strong social media strategy would not only eliminate that limitation. It would also significantly amplify the effects of the original experiential initiative.
In 2015, Honest Tea launched the #refreshinglyhonest campaign in which they encouraged people to be more honest in their daily lives through light-hearted, quirky confessions.
People could submit their confessions via social media using the #refreshinglyhonest hashtag. They could also visit one of the 27 Honest Tea pop-up shops all across the country.
This was a great example of how combining social media with experiential magnified the overall impact.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Remove The Product From The Spotlight

piano stairs and an escalator                                                                               Source: KJ Vogelius

Sometimes marketers become too obsessed with creating an experiential campaign that revolves around the product.
However, the product itself does not always have to be the main focal point.
The message and emotion you want to convey must hold precedent, particularly for experiential marketing campaigns. This an ideal opportunity for consumers to perceive your brand in a way they never have before. By solely focusing on promoting the product, you may be limiting the possibilities.
A great example of this would be Volkswagen’s piano stairs. The world-renowned automobile company created piano stairs next to an escalator in a subway stop in Germany, encouraging people to take the stairs.
This initiative quickly went viral, both through social media and word-of-mouth.
This campaign was successful because it made consumers associate the car brand with not only automobiles, but with a sense of fun and playfulness that really stays with a customer.
Thus, Volkswagen was able to elevate their brand equity without mentioning cars even once.

7. Incorporate Popular Trends Into Your Strategy

image of HBO sign                                                                                    Source: The Verge
Think of ways to incorporate popular trends into your experiential strategy.
This is a fun way to stay relevant with consumers and to capitalize on the momentum of already popular ideas.
For example, during 2017 SXSW, HBO created an entire Escape The Room exhibit with each room having the theme of a popular HBO show like Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley.  HBO did a clever job of capitalizing on the popularity of Escape The Room while also leveraging the popularity of their many shows.

8. Don’t Limit Yourself To a Stationary Event

Casper outdoor pop up space                                                                               Source: Casper
Experiential marketing campaigns do not have to stay in one place. Many marketers oftentimes limit themselves by imagining their events as a stationary effort. However, having campaigns that are “on the move” can be just as, if not more, successful.
Here’s another Casper example. In the summer 2017, Casper offered “naps on-the-go” by driving all round the country in their Napmobile and providing people the opportunity to take a quick snooze during the day.
This was a creative way for Casper to expand the reach of their experiential strategy through a mobile campaign, literally.

Wrapping Up

There are plenty of other tips we could add to this list, but these are the main ones that should be kept in mind when planning your experiential campaign. In the end, as long as you’re able to create a memorable, valuable, and emotionally resonant experience, the campaign will be a success.

 

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