What is Experiential Marketing?
Experiential marketing is a strategy that involves engaging customers through immersive branded experiences, with the aim of creating a lasting effect on the consumer. Through personal experiences with particular products, consumers are typically able to develop deeper emotional connections with the brands providing these experiences. Experiential marketing can also be referred to as engagement marketing, due to its ability to facilitate personalized experiences that bring customers into the world of a brand.
Examples of experiential marketing range from physical experiences of buying products, to digital purchasing experiences and even non-buying experiences with a brand. In its simplest form, experiential marketing could consist of setting up a demonstration tent at a large trade show. However, since digital experiences have become increasingly commonplace and expected by today’s connected customer, experiential marketing strategies have evolved and become more complex. Marketing data and insights have ensured that these strategies can target relevant audiences who are the most likely to engage with a company’s product. It is important for brands to incorporate precise and personalized marketing tactics into their broader omnichannel strategy to improve overall customer experience.
What are the Benefits of Experiential Marketing?
The main benefit of incorporating experiential marketing strategies in wider marketing campaigns is that the businesses which can provide unique and memorable experiences for their customers will ultimately be able to differentiate themselves from their competitors and increase awareness of their brand. If a potential customer has a positive and impactful experience with a company, then they will be far more likely to choose that brand to continue their buying journey with, even if the final purchase does not take place immediately.
However, the importance of experiential marketing does not stop there. With the saturation of brands in today’s market, companies need to continue to engage with their customers post-purchase to prevent them from switching to brands offering similar products in the future. By providing personalized experiences and positive touchpoints for their connected customers, businesses can help to foster brand loyalty amongst their existing customer base. Customer retention is an essential metric for brands to consider and measure against, as it is an important indicator of how successfully a business can encourage its customers to repeatedly engage in buying actions with their brand.
How has Experiential Marketing Evolved?
In the past, experiential marketing was viewed as synonymous with event marketing and the term has been finding its place over recent years amongst all the other tactics that brand marketers have at their disposal. In ‘The Limitless Evolution of Experience’ episode of the Liftoff podcast, Christian Gani (former Managing Director of Match Marketing Group’s Boulder office) notes that the definition of experiential marketing has really broadened in recent years and technology has played an important role in its expansion. Christian’s view is that today’s concept of experiential marketing has evolved into a strategy whereby brands create hyper-specific targeted and personalized experiences for their customers, as well as continuing to deploy experiential marketing tactics at large-scale events to develop broader brand awareness.
Christian notes that experiential marketing will become increasingly important for brands to implement in the future. The biggest challenges to consider going forward will be how to provide personalized and targeted experiences at scale and how to accurately measure the impact of these experiences. Actions that help to build brand affinity and awareness may be less easily recorded by a business, however these actions can hugely impact the way people feel about a brand and how likely they will be to purchase products from them in the future. As a result, Christian argues that it may be more beneficial for brands to consider how effective experiential marketing spend is from a return-on-investment (ROI) perspective, rather than simply measuring the scale and reach of particular marketing campaigns. One thing is for certain: experiential marketing will continue to push the boundaries of the expected in the realm of consumer marketing for years to come.