Experiential marketing means putting a whole event together that represents brands and engages consumers. As you can imagine, that involves a lot of work. An experiential marketer needs creativity, organization, people skills, and a lot of energy. They also need to have an exceptional understanding of the market and what people want from a brand.
You can think of it in terms of putting together a film. There needs to be an idea, someone with a vision. A production stage with many hands working together to achieve the goal. Distributing the concept to a wider audience follows. Someone yelling “action” is completely optional.
What Does an Experiential Marketer Do?
The Idea Stage
This is where the marketer can really shine in creating amazing ideas for their brand, but it takes a lot of work.
It might sound pretty obvious, but knowing the market is a big part of the success here. Understanding the brand you are working with and the demographic they want to target is the key to succeeding in experiential marketing.
A wonderful idea that doesn’t match a brand’s demographic will cause carnage and potentially ruin the client’s image. A wonderful idea that doesn’t do what the client wants it to do is unhelpful. A wonderful idea that costs too much is probably not all that wonderful an idea.
Having marketing knowledge is the foundation top putting together a good experience. There are fundamental dos and don’ts. A marketer creating these experiences needs to understand the underlying concepts about client bases and what consumer groups respond to. You do not want someone who has skipped their schooling here. A good team will do their research before planning an event.
Working With the Brand
Do they want to target new clients or existing ones? What do they hope to get from this event? Are they happy to pair up with other brands? What should this campaign say, or not say, about them? Sometimes clients might not even know the answers to these questions, so working it out in the early stages is really important.
Clear goals are what we want here. Really understanding the brand, what they represent, and who they want to target. For experiential marketing, the team involved needs to work closely with their client and be skilled in understanding their needs. Putting everyone on the same page. Reading from the same hymnsheet. Synergising. All the cliches.
In this kind of marketing, innovation is everything. A good event strives to be memorable. This is what successful experiential marketing does. Consumers should come away thinking of the brand in a fresh new light and wanting to engage further with them. A lot of marketing revolves around connecting with consumers. However, in this industry, the work involves a lot more than just creating a successful Insta post for people to click and like.
Even giving away free stuff can fall flat if it feels tired and jaded. And no company wants it to look like they can’t even give their product away. It is acceptable to use similar tactics, such as getting people to pose for a photo or giving away product samples. However, a marketer needs to put a unique spin on their version of the event that will really show off the value of a product. The experiential marketing team is the architect behind that idea.
Getting the Word Out
Party planning 101. If you want people to turn up to you’ve got to invite them. This work involves getting all across the brand’s social media so that everyone and their sister knows about the incredible event you are putting together and wants to join in.
This side of the job puts us back in the more traditional marketing territory of understanding social media. Of course, some events will be private and there isn’t a need for this. Some, however, need a deft hand to get the word out to the relevant demographic so that they can turn up to engage with and promote the brand.
Of course, actually planning the event is a key part of the job. Depending on the type of event or experience, this could mean a huge number of things. So an experiential marketer has to be flexible and ready to liaise with a huge amount of different companies to set the event up successfully.
Of course, there are the boring sides of liability insurance, health and safety, and adequate facilities to think about too. In this role, checking every box and dreaming up every possible scenario is critical to ensure an event runs smoothly. When representing a brand, there is no room for error.
To further crash the dream party, there are the harsh realities of a budget. Every campaign needs to work within the confines of the budget set for the project. Of course, giving away a free iPod to customers is probably a great way to get them to love a brand, but the job here is to get a little more creative with the funds. This means thinking creatively to really get the most out of any set budget.
The Production Stage
Here is where the action happens. Experiential marketing can mean anything from a small giveaway to a full-scale concert. Depending on the event, the logistics can get very complicated. A good experiential marketing team needs to be able to handle a wide variety of different tasks.
Keeping guests and venues happy, organizing catering, decorating locations, managing equipment, and coordinating staff are just some of the many things to have a handle on. On top of that, should any issues arise on the day, they need to be smoothly and calmly sorted out.
As with any event planning, days can be long and incorporate many different skill-sets. Staying calm under pressure is another required feature of a great event marketer. However, there is no better feeling than pulling off an incredible event that represents the client wonderfully.
In many cases, if the company is putting together something unique, entertaining, or endearing, they are going to want the rest of the world to see it. Sure, you can put on a fun show for a handful of people in one city on one day, but why not show everyone else?
If you impressed the people who directly engaged, you’ll want to make sure that emotion can translate through to some great footage. Maybe onlookers will film it themselves. But a good experiential marketing team will ensure that there is professional footage too so that anyone with access to YouTube can also see what an amazing event the brand held.
The Distribution Stage
Showing Off the Event
If the event was filmed, that film needs to get out into the world. Working across different platforms, experiential marketing teams will work to showcase their footage. This involves making sure the footage is well-edited and represents exactly what the company wanted. Well-edited footage of a great brand experience can then be seen by thousands of possible or existing customers.
Brands have huge success with experiential marketing when the video goes viral. A heart-warming scene of a surprise giveaway can go pretty far online. And that is excellent news for the brand behind that heart-warming video. A marketer who has an excellent understanding of just how to do that will return even more on investment for their client.
Obviously the most fun part of any job is analyzing the data. Okay, maybe not, but it is very important. You need to know if your campaign works. Tracking sales or engagement with a brand can give an insight into how well the campaign you put together performed.
There are many indicators that a brand event has gone successfully. Sometimes it can be as obvious as tracking sales. Other times it might be looking at sign-ups, gauging customer responses, looking at how long people stayed, or monitoring social media buzz. Another aspect of the job is to know which of these factors matter and what you are expected to deliver.
There’s often a large investment in these kinds of events. Any good experiential marketer will do the proper research to know that they are returning on that investment. Their work will improve the image, reach, or sales of their client. When things haven’t gone completely right, it is important to know why and what happened. And when they have gone right, it’s nice to know just how right and learn from that too.
So, what do experiential marketers do? The answer, as you can see, is a lot. Taking a brand, understanding them and what they want, all the way to forming an idea and executing it flawlessly. It’s a huge responsibility and can really boost a business’s performance when done right. Certainly, any brand wants the right team behind them when they want to pull this off.
At KingSixteen we have an experienced and accomplished experiential marketing team. We work hard to perform all the tasks mentioned above and love doing it. If you would like to talk to us about the vision you have for your brand call KingSixteen today. We would love to discuss and design the perfect event for your brand.