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Content. A buzzword of modern marketing and a technique that has been driven by the development of social media. How does experiential marketing fit within this era of content-rich and user generated content strategies?

“Field Marketing”, “Brand Experience”, “Experiential”; whatever term used to describe it, the technique has been used for decades. It has in the past been accused of falling behind the times, but over the last five years it has seen a huge resurgence and is now enjoying an increase in marketing budgets and client spend. In the last few months alone, brands such as Carlsberg, Samsung, Flora, Gillette and McDonald’s have invested heavily in experiential campaign activity.

When you review the stats, it’s easy to see why this technique is appealing. A recent study done by the Event Marketing Institute showed that respondents were 96% more likely to purchase a product after participating in a live branded event and 74% will have a more positive impression of the brand.

By definition, it’s concerned with inviting consumers to experience something real. It creates a closer bond between the brand and the consumer by immersing them in a fun and engaging experience. It pulls people into the brand and gets the consumer participating. And in the age of ad blocking, it provides the opportunity to reach out and touch the consumer in a way traditional advertising is finding difficult.

Any experiential marketing activity should provide the consumer with a positive, memorable experience that will influence and encourage brand loyalty and provide the consumer with an experience to share via social media.

It’s the constant need for stories to share with followers, friends and family, that means consumers value authentic, real experiences more than ever before. As the digital world becomes more and more prevalent in consumers’ lives, the need for physical experiences and engagement will also grow.

In this technologically advanced age, very little is exclusive. The latest technological gadgets and apps are widely available, but authentic, memorable physical brand experiences are harder to come by.

2016 has seen us moving on from “Content” and into a world of “Immersive Experiences”. Giving consumers experiences that are authentic and social. If a brand can deliver these, consumers will quickly develop strong and meaningful relationships with the brand. And the best bit, they will share these experiences with anyone who will listen to them.

Just as any experiential activity should be planned and activated as part of a multi-channel campaign, it should also provide social media sharing opportunities. This will extend the reach of the experience beyond the attendees and the actual event. Think branded backdrops, prominent campaign hashtags and devise social sharing incentives e.g. rewards for sharing photos and entry to competitions.

Experiential marketing had a reputation of being high cost and difficult to measure, but that was in the days before social media, digital metrics and innovative event solutions. Whilst virtual and augmented realities are without doubt areas that will see huge growth amongst the world’s biggest brands in 2016, sometimes simple is best. Ensure your activity is multi-sensory, include audio and scent if possible to stimulate the audience into engaging; and plan every activity around the consumer. Provide them with the memories they will want to share and this individual consumer advocacy is the very kind that traditional marketing spend simply cannot buy.

If you give the consumer a memorable experience to talk about, you can be sure they will generate the content and wider audience for you! So, start planning your next experiential activity now and let’s get out there and make a memorable, lasting impression.

From local sampling events to nationwide road shows and festival activation, we have over 11 years’ experience in planning and executing award-winning experiential activity. We are here to help and we love what we do. Get in touch today to find out how experiential can deliver for you: zoe@83agency.co.uk

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