What Is an Example of Experiential Marketing?

There’s a new trend in the marketing world. Experiential marketing, or engagement marketing, is a way of organically growing customer support and loyalty through direct engagement of consumers through fun and innovative means. There are so many benefits to using this method of promotion for your business and so it’s no wonder companies across the world are adopting the strategy for themselves.

What Is an Example of Experiential Marketing?

The Basics

Engagement marketing has customers at its heart. By engaging with the general public, brands can form a strong bond with their customers, often far deeper than what would be expected from a standard advertising campaign. Potential customers aren’t just informed about the brand and its products, they’re invited to participate in the culture of the brand and take a stake in the business, helping them feel immersed in the company.

By using events and communications which offer something of interest to customers in the advertising process, this marketing strategy is a customer-centered form of marketing that is efficient in its use of resources to generate customers. But there’s only so much you can learn about this marketing strategy from learning about the theory. The best way to understand how engagement marketing works and all the ways it can benefit your business is to look at real-world examples.

Classic Campaigns

Although this form of marketing is becoming ever more popular, it’s been around for a long time. In fact, even if you don’t realize it, you’ve more than likely come across plenty of these campaigns yourself over the years. One of the best-known examples is the Macy’s Day Parade. This marketing event has become something approaching a public holiday and generates enormous publicity and brand recognition, with kids begging their parents to take them to see the floats.

Everyone’s heard of the parade and it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, not to mention television and other media coverage. Attendees of the Macy’s Day Parade might not feel like they’re attending a marketing event. They’re just there to watch the floats go by and soak in the atmosphere. The fact is, they’re being drawn into a highly successful marketing campaign for both Macy’s itself as well as a bevy of other brands.

Recent Developments

Although they share the same basic traits, modern engagement marketing campaigns have changed greatly from the well-known classic examples. The introduction of new communication technologies allows brands to make all new connections with their customer base and the public at large. As such, the events that normally form the basis of engagement marketing are enhanced by the digital world, using the internet and social media to create a buzz.

Many large media companies use events to grow buzz around their products. This essentially follows the philosophy big sports franchises and musicians use to create a loyal fanbase. The connection you might feel with the local baseball team or your favorite band is likely stronger than the connection you feel with a big clothes company. But both are money-making enterprises and both have the capacity to draw support in the same way if given the chance.

Advantages Over Traditional Marketing

Engagement marketing has been described as a system that allows customers to be the driving force in the interaction between themselves and the business. If you think back to interactions you’ve had with salespeople, you’ll probably remember feeling more favorably about salespeople who sat back and let you make your own decisions, helping you when called upon, rather than badgering you and pushing for the hard sell on products you aren’t necessarily interested in.

These kinds of marketing campaigns don’t just get the name of your business out there and bring in new customers and added revenue. They can inspire greater levels of customer loyalty than other marketing campaigns, helping with customer retention, and encouraging recommendations among friends and family.

A Modern Campaign

Let’s say a new restaurant in New York City wants to create buzz around its location, its products, and its branding. Located in an extremely competitive market, the restaurant’s marketing team would need to think outside the box to get the word out about their business. When there are so many other dining options nearby, simply handing out leaflets and hoping to be the best isn’t going to cut it.

The restaurant might arrange a special event to draw in potential diners. It could involve something unique and creative which showcases the restaurant’s strength, like a special food testing, party, or even a cookery class. Or else, online elements could be used, like holding an online poll to decide the menu or décor, giving customers a real stake in the restaurant and allowing them to feel connected to the brand.

Other Methods

Another advantage of engagement marketing is the sheer versatility which it offers customers. In essence, when it comes to engagement marketing, if you can think of it, it can be done. Campaigns can be run on as large or small a scale as you like, with everything from the smallest to the largest of businesses represented.

Alternative methods of engagement marketing include offering a unique set of branded collectibles, organizing flash mobs, secret events, concerts, and creating video series. The only limits are the bounds of you and your marketing team’s imaginations!

Smaller Examples

Engagement marketing isn’t just for big, multinational companies. It’s also an ideal strategy for smaller, locally-based enterprises. Even a small boutique store welcoming only a small number of customers per day could benefit from this kind of innovative marketing campaign. In fact, it can be particularly successful when targeted at small numbers of a specific community, rather than the general public as a whole.

A special event can show a niche community that your business understands how to cater to their specific needs. A catwalk event at the boutique might show the customers this business understands the intricacies of high fashion. Or a meet and greet with a famous model or designer can piggyback off the popularity of others, associating their popularity with your own business in the minds of consumers.

Online Campaigns

While lots of engagement marketing uses real-world premises to host events, like parties, meet and greets, showcases, and parades. But this is the modern world, so the online world should play a large part in advertising. Just because part of a campaign isn’t conducted in the flesh doesn’t mean it won’t have high levels of engagement. Popular social media platforms have millions of users, and many of these people form strong brand relationships through online interaction.

There are so many ways to engage a customer base online. Digital polls, videos, websites, and so much more can be used to create an engaging and memorable campaign. For example, one professional sports team ran public polls on which of their players they should offer new contracts to. This helped fans feel a sense of engagement with the team and its overarching brand, as well as gain press coverage from national and international outlets.

More Benefits

Customers have been shown to have higher levels of engagement and brand loyalty when they feel more engaged with the business. These campaigns grow organically, with social media, word of mouth, and media all contributing to the buzz, allowing the campaign to grow exponentially. When people on the street are talking about your company, it’s worth more than all the TV or radio airtime you could pay for.

Although engagement marketing is the perfect method of drawing in a modern, cosmopolitan crowd, it can be tweaked and tailored to your target audience, bringing in exactly the clientele you’re looking for.

Press Coverage

Particularly innovative campaigns of this nature often benefit from an extra bonus in the form of press coverage. How often have you seen news reports on special events in your town which on further investigation turn out to be deliberately thought up by the business for exposure?

This is actually an excellent strategy, allowing you to multiply the positive impact of your campaign and gain you huge levels of publicity. And the best part is, an article about your company will be more effective than equivalent advertising could ever be. The public will naturally give more attention to a genuine news story on the TV or in print media than they would to a clearly marked advertisement. Plus, there’s always the possibility you’ll receive attention from multiple outlets!

Engagement Marketing for You

We can work with you to create a bespoke event that will work to your needs. While a conventional campaign of television, radio, or billboard advertisements will get you so far, engagement marketing campaigns are by far the best way to generate a loyal and organic customer base.

We can tailor your needs and resources to create the perfect engagement campaign. Even with limited resources or a challenging market, we can come up with something to set your business apart and give it a strong and unique bond with customers.

King Sixteen understands how to structure innovative and effective marketing campaigns. We’ve worked with some of the world’s biggest brands and have the experience and ingenuity to make any campaign a success. Contact King Sixteen today for your own quality marketing campaign.

What Is Experiential Marketing?

What Is Experiential Marketing?

As industries evolve and the need for innovative marketing strategies grows, more companies than ever are devising clever marketing tricks that subvert traditional advertising. There’s more competition to contend with daily, and customers seek out new and interesting experiences now more than ever. Over 80% of marketing experts agree that live events are vital to their success, and experiential marketing is a core component of brand awareness.

To clear up the myths and confusion surrounding this sort of strategy, we’ve written a concise guide on what it is and why it works to help our readers understand why businesses are increasingly recognizing the benefits. There are many facets and a myriad of approaches, but above all, it’s about creating memorable experiences.

Experiential Marketing

Experiential, “live”, or “engagement” marketing is a marketing strategy that aims to immerse customers within a brand’s identity. This is done using branded, hands-on experiences, with the central goal being to get the customer to associate a positive emotional encounter with the brand. Unlike traditional advertising, the customer is no passive, disinterested observer who begrudgingly sits through an advertisement.  

Instead, they are compelled to engage with a brand directly and, crucially, in a way that solidifies the event in memory, drawing a strong emotional bond between brand and experience. Picture an electrifying live event you have attended, such as a concert, theater production, or a sports game. How much more deeply is that occasion rooted in your mind than the countless times you have listened to the radio, watched a movie, or followed a match on the TV?

The Basics

Intense, vivid, memorable experiences are the beating heart of live marketing that makes it so powerful. It is far less about generating sales directly through events, and much more about creating positive associations and real connections with customers on a personal level. These associations invest consumers in a brand, cement long-term relationships, drive repeat business, and create passionate advocates who only amplify the campaign itself.

Benefits Over Traditional Marketing Strategies

The experiential approach is one that provides a myriad of benefits over other, mainstream approaches. Quite simply, it achieves things that other methods cannot, and are as follows:

  • Personal investment
  • Positive association
  • Connection between product and emotion
  • Viral marketing and share-ability
  • Standing out among competitors

Personal Investment

It is no secret that in today’s dispassionate and cold electronic business world, customers value human connection. By interfacing with customers directly, live marketing generates customer investment naturally. They see your brand in immediate proximity and feel as though they are a part of a larger whole – and not just another statistic on a spreadsheet.

Read our other articles

Positive Association

The positive association created by live experiences is valuable beyond measure. Simply put, your customers have fun engaging with you, which builds trust and endears them to you over your competitors. Importantly, once this happens, they’re very unlikely to switch.

Connection Between Product and Emotion

Even well into the future, your customers will continue to associate your products with the enjoyable experiences of a live marketing campaign. The very best of events will accompany them for years to come.

Viral Marketing and Share-Ability

Nobody retweets an advert or shares a post about an upcoming sale. Yet a massive portion of attendees to live events will create social media posts about them. In other words, they magnify the influence of your campaign with little additional effort (or cost) on your part.

Standing Out Among Competitors

Brand identity is what lets you stand out from the crowd, and experiential events build that identity and awareness brick by brick. And if your event has a unique twist or angle, all the better, because customers will associate it with your brand, and others trying to emulate it will only remind them of you.

Experiential Marketing in Practice: Some Examples

Showcases and Pop-Up Experiences

In practice, the possibilities for this style of campaign are boundless, and the sky is the limit. Product showcases are a classic example. With a little creativity, a product showcase needn’t be a dry affair, and they’re great for educating customers on the purpose of a product. Tasting events for culinary products and car exhibits are two typical types of product showcases.

A fantastic example of a pop-up experience is National Geographic’s Ocean Odyssey in Times Square, NYC. While less about marketing, and more about immersion, it serves as a stellar example of the draw of a truly unique experience.

Workshops

Hosting workshops and classes is a fantastic way of engaging with an audience while giving them something in return. A particular advantage of workshops is that they almost guarantee the undivided attention of attendees.

Single-Person Events

Experiential occasions needn’t cater to everybody or even a large audience. With the power of social media, single-person events that are widely shared communicate positive emotions and experiences to a wider audience.

Direct Marketing

Marketing events needn’t happen in public, and they don’t necessarily have to cater to new customers. It’s equally important to maintain the existing relationships, and one of the best ways to do this is with targeted, direct marketing. Instead of the run-of-the-mill brochures, catalogs and discount offers, why not send a bespoke list of existing customers a personalized postcard, or donate to a good cause on their behalf and let them know?

Direct mail combines well with other methods, too, to heighten the feeling of connectedness and personal investment. If you’re hosting a workshop or a showcase in a client’s hometown, send them a personal invite for an exclusive guest list.

Outside-the-Box Ideas

Some of the best campaigns are ones that think truly outside the box. One great example, Folger’s coffee manhole covers, made creative use of the steam emanating from the vents across NYC to emulate a hot cup of coffee. Not only is this immediately shareable on social media, but it’s incredibly cost-effective – and memorable for passers-by.

Another great example, also from NYC, is airline JetBlue’s ice block challenge, which offered passers-by the opportunity to win various prizes ranging from summer accessories to exclusive flights. The catch? The prizes were frozen in a thick block of ice and had to be smashed, hammered, and clawed free by eager onlookers. That’s not an experience anybody would forget.

Hallmarks of a Great Campaign

Anybody can envision a successful marketing strategy, yet there are several points to bear in mind to ensure that it is a success and provides a bountiful return on investment. No two campaigns are alike, yet all of the good ones share many of the same vital aspects.

  • Clear and actionable goals
  • Tell a story
  • Humanize your brand
  • Promote social media engagement
  • Lead Generation and follow-up
  • Measurable outcomes

Clear and Actionable Goals

Above all, your campaign needs to have clearly defined, achievable objectives. This applies to event marketing as it does to any other marketing strategy, and should go without saying. The intent behind a campaign is what defines everything that comes next. Are you looking to break into an untapped market? Improve brand awareness? Endear your brand to a new audience?

Tell a Story

As any junior-level marketing professional knows, stories are memorable. Stories drive advert engagement, engagement drives leads, and leads drive sales. The multi-dimensional aspect of live events offers the indispensable opportunity to involve and embed customers within that story. As we’ve stressed before, this type of marketing transforms customers into active participants.

Humanize Your Brand

One of the core goals of any experiential marketing campaign is to foster a personal connection with customers. To do this, a campaign needs to come across as authentic and down-to-earth. The message must stay true to your core brand identity and highlight what it is that makes you unique.

Promote Social Media Engagement

As we discussed earlier, one of the secondary benefits of this strategy is the free advertising your invested customers do on your behalf, often without realizing that they’re promoting your business. User-generated content can be planned for in advance, by creating appropriate hashtags and picture-worthy scenes that anybody would want to grace their social media feed.

Lead Generation and Follow-Up

Interacting with customers directly affords the opportunity of not only generating new sales leads, but gathering customer information in an organic fashion, potentially even with them volunteering their information. No live marketing campaign should be envisioned without consideration of how to gather information for follow-ups to reinforce the message.

Additionally, it’s a great opportunity to receive honest feedback from customers about your brand, and what’s more, listening to customer feedback at such events only goes further to make them feel included and valued.

Measurable Outcomes

Measurable data in marketing is king, for without it, you are unable to react and adapt to failing strategies, capitalize on successful ones, or even know if your campaigns are having an effect at all. You absolutely must know how well your campaigns are faring, and for this to happen, your outcomes need to be quantifiable.

Checklist for Kick-starting Your Own Campaign

It’s not easy to get it right, and for every story of amazing success, there are an equal number of campaigns that have fallen flat. If you’re looking to start a new campaign, it’s important to follow several critical steps in the planning process to maximize the results.

  • Brainstorm and gather information
  • Know your customer base
  • Understand your goal
  • Engage multiple senses
  • Work with industry professionals
  • Focus on your brand’s strength

Brainstorm and Gather Information

The critical first step. What are the first thoughts that spring to mind? What are others in the industry doing in this regard? Understanding your brand, and the market it exists in is critical.

Know Your Customer Base

Your customers are the ultimate recipients of your targeted strategies. What do they like about your brand, and what emotional responses can you expect from them?

Understand Your Goal

What is the endpoint of your campaign, and what does it seek to achieve? Critically, what do you want your customers to do as soon as they have experienced your event?

Engage Multiple Senses

Immersion beats passivity every time. By engaging more than one of the senses, you can be certain your event will have a larger impact. Sights, smells, sounds, colors, music, wonder, and awe. All are powerful, and all can be made to work for you.

Work With Industry Professionals

Ultimately, there’s no need to rely on your own intuition or guesswork. With the aid of proven industry professionals, your ideas can be supercharged with an injection of innovative ideas and an existing network and knowledge base required to turn foundational ideas into serious results.

It’s harder than ever before to grab people’s attention. In a crowded and bustling market, more and more brands are recognizing that enduring, fruitful relationships with customers are fundamental to generating repeat business. Becoming the brand that fosters positive emotional responses is the key to sustainable success in the future.

Contact King Sixteen today for more information about the pioneering strategies we offer.

Partnerships that matter. Experiences that last.

We are a collective of event producers that work directly with national brands seeking to activate in unique markets across the United States.

Clients

Brands we have worked with