There’s no doubt about the fact that every modern marketer should be more than familiar with the high-octane, fast-paced world of experiential marketing… so if you need to brush up on this modern concept, fear not: you’ve come to the right place!
The world of event marketing is changing quickly. Once upon a time, people’s first thoughts about event marketing revolved around relatively dry or traditional occasions, typified by people in suits mingling around platters of sandwiches, trying to network while wandering across showroom floors. Today, things are really quite different, and that’s primarily been down to the rise of experiential marketing.
If you aren’t aware of this particular buzzword, you really should be. The modern marketplace is more competitive and saturated than ever before, and anything you as event managers and organisers can do to stand out is going to reap significant returns. This means taking a sideways look at marketing, ripping up the rulebook, and giving your contacts and attendees opportunities to break out of normal life and build a memorable connection with you and what you do.
Experiential marketing boils down to one key concept: offering direct engagement with your customers, and using creative techniques and approaches to interact with them in ways they aren’t likely to forget in a hurry.
The rise of social media has driven this to new heights. When you consider that around 50% of attendees create mobile videos when at branded events - and the majority of them make their way onto Twitter and Instagram - this type of marketing has the potential to easily go viral.
On top of this, experiential marketing practices have been proven to dramatically increase event ROI. They’re fantastic for making a name for yourself on a busy scene, and for adding a crucial string to your marketing bow. Let’s take a look at some of our favourite examples of experiential event marketing, and consider what it is that makes them work so well.
One of the most impressive pieces of experiential marketing we’ve seen in recent years was based around an ingenious idea: to create ‘movie sets’ which allowed attendees to immerse themselves in a concept or idea, and give them plenty of information and inspiration to chew over once the event was over.
This was encapsulated perfectly by GE’s ‘HealthyImagination’ initiative. They created realistic scenario ‘movie sets’ to represent different locations around the world (which included emergency rooms, rural African healthcare clinics and the suchlike), and then invited doctors to speak to the assembled crowd, and share their stories of working in such places in order to promote discussion.
Why it works: this ‘movie set’ concept allows attendees to step out of their version of reality for a few hours, and see things from new perspectives.
Imagine giving your attendees the opportunity to step into a scenario in which they’re given a specific challenge - perhaps the chance to save the world, avert a disaster, or rescue a patient in a hospital setting - and helping them work together to achieve a specific result. The result would be absolute attention-grabbing participation, big smiles all round, no doubt a flurry of photos plastered all over social media.
While this particular concept for experiential marketing was designed with children’s events in mind (most famously used in promoting a kid’s tv show, in which a teddy bear had to be treated by children posing as doctors!) the potential for getting fun-minded adults involved in this is enormous.
Why it works: It’s fun, it’s memorable, and gives a wide audience base the chance to experience something new.
Experiential marketing events which take place in public spaces have plenty of opportunity to garner massive amounts of attention, and one of the best ways of doing this is by creating an exhibition led by customer participation.
By getting your attendees and potential customers to create their own signs (which then can be mounted in a public space) expressing their wishes, dreams, desires and hopes, you’re effectively taking the attention away from sales, your product or your event, and putting it onto the unique characteristics of your customer base.
Why it works: Great public exposure, a creative approach and a customer-oriented concept.
One of the most exciting trends in experiential marketing is to do with corporate philanthropy, and brands using their clout and funds to make a deep and lasting connection with specific places and the people who live there.
By listening to the voices of the people, and allowing them to choose what results they’d like to see from the brand’s philanthropic efforts, the results gained are far more significant and transformative.
Google’s interactive posters (which allowed residents the chance to use touch screens to vote on charitable projects) were a superb example, and one which will be talked about and imitated for years to come.
Why it works: everyone loves to think that big brands are giving something back, and this can form a positive bond with that brand that can last for years.
Modern interactive technology is driving exciting ideas in customer participation. Interactive posters and displays are being used to fantastic effect, especially in charitable campaigns, where members of the public or invited attendees can give donations while interacting with images, films or promotional material.
By using such technology, you can easily help people to have a greater understanding of how their donation makes a difference, as well as impart important information in a way which captures the audience’s attention.
Check out Misereor’s Social Swipe campaign, and see how they cleverly used imagery and interaction in this way.
Why it works: this concept encourages direct interaction, and allows a brand or company the opportunity to spread awareness and information with ease.
If you’re a business or brand which has access to a shop or events space, there are hundreds of ways to use that space in new and exciting ways.
Get people through your door and experiencing your location in ways they would never have imagined possible: organise silent discos and sleepovers, transform it into a fairground or haunted house - the opportunities are endless!
Why it works: this is a highly effective way of transforming the way potential customers view a brand.
If you really want to make a big splash in a particular location, and capture the strange magic that is viral content, then flashmobs and live theatrical events are going to be your new best friends.
Social media has made it possible to gather hundreds - if not thousands - of people in one place, in order to partake in mass activities and games.
Whether that’s a branded pillow fight featuring a cast of hundreds, a record-breaking dance routine, or something as crazy and eye-catching as TNT’s ‘We Know Drama’ live action experience, it’s a sure-fire way to break out of normality and create instantly shareable content.
Why it works: flashmobs are fun, riotous, slightly anarchic and customer-driven events that are made for sharing on social media.
It’s been fascinating to watch the rise of experiential event marketing over the past few years. The ideas that events organisers and marketers are coming up with are endlessly impressive, and the bar is constantly being set higher with each year that passes.
Here at Ultimate Experience, we’re proud to be on top of this new trend in events marketing, and as events industry leaders, we’re more than happy to share our skills and knowledge with you. If you’d like to learn more about experiential marketing, or anything else connected with exciting, innovative events management, get in touch - we’d love to hear from you!