What is Experience Marketing?

Daniel Wade

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Daniel Wade

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December 29, 2020

Experience marketing is fundamental to any modern marketing plan where customers desire meaningful interactions before buying any product.

Experience marketing, which is also called experiential/engagement marketing, represents a marketing approach centered on offering a unique customer experience. The most common definitions refer to experience marketing as a distinctive marketing approach that directly engages consumers and inspires them to participate in its evolution.

Instead of viewing clients as passive message receivers, engagement marketers trust that consumers must be actively involved in both the fabrication and co-creation of marketing plans, creating a relationship with the brand. This post will help you understand what experience marketing is all about, why it is essential, and the different types of this marketing approach.

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What Is Experiential/Engagement Marketing?

Experiential marketing/experience marketing defines an approach that uses in-person events in brand promotion. Typically, experiential marketing represents the live, one on one interactions that enable consumers to establish connections with various brands. Experiential marketing usually allows consumers to experience brands. As opposed to an ad, commercials, or Tweets, engagement marketing symbolizes messaging that you can feel, touch, or view in the physical realm.

This marketing approach offers consumers an opportunity to interact with brands in person. While this approach is often event-centric, the more customary campaigns may also take a cohesive strategy inclusive of tangible, offline experiences. Once you incorporate experimental components, brands can effectively complement or enhance their initiative.

Take the legendary Apple keynote or pop-up shops, for instance. All these events demonstrate how experience marketing works. These strategies are created to allow prospects to interact with and familiarize themselves with products before buying them. Sneaker or makeup pop up shops enable prospective consumers to check in and check out products that are usually only available online.

Why is Experiential Marketing Important?

Experiential marketing's primary objective is to establish an exceptional customer experience, boosting your overall consumer value optimization. Ideally, you want customers in attendance to wish to post the event on their social media platforms and grow into frantic fans of your brand and products.

Typically, experiential marketing is now more fundamental than ever before. This is because firms are centering more on digital marketing in addition to promoting their online brand visibility. By practicing experiential marketing, brands can enhance their recognition by offering an unforgettable experience.

When you blend digital marketing with experiential marketing tactics, brands can enjoy synergy resulting in a generally better brand recall, recognition, and presence. Typically, experiential marketing is a terrific method of increasing customer satisfaction and brand loyalty; undeniably, the two primary reasons why engagement marketing is crucial for organizations.

How Does Experiential Marketing Work?

One particular aspect you should understand when it comes to experimental marketing is that it is neither publicity nor a marketing stunt. Although there is a specific overlap between these two components, and this marketing strategy encompasses event marketing aspects, experiential marketing must be considered a long-term approach instead of a one-off event.

Experiential marketing is designed to create a genuine branded experience for the audience, and it can happen both online and offline. To better understand what engagement marketing is all about, you must first understand precisely what makes an authentic branded experience. Genuine branded experiences must always involve the following three elements:

  • Active engagement and participation from your audience
  • Promotion of the values and message of the brand
  • Offers long-term value

Unless you offer your customers all these three fundamental components, you are simply not engaging in experiential marketing. Let's carefully examine each of these points in detail:

  • Active engagement and participation

The most crucial step of any genuine branded experience is permitting your audience to engage actively with your brand. This can mean virtually anything from taking pictures and sharing them on your social media platforms to engaging in a fete game.

  • Promoting brand Values and Message

Besides promoting a given item, an outstanding branded experience must be all about the brand. Ideally, telling your prospects why your brand is the best is not enough because they may not always get the message. However, allowing them to experience the product on their own will guarantee that your message will stick in their minds for a long time.

A fantastic example to demonstrate this is the Adidas D Rose Jump Store's grand opening in the UK. This project entailed NBA superstar Derrick Rose opening the store and establishing a 10-foot-high shelf that features numerous pairs of his signature sneakers. Any customer that could jump this high and get to the sneakers would take them all!

With this campaign, Adidas allowed its customers to get real-time insight into a professional athlete's life while promoting their brand message and value of peak performance and athleticism.

  • Offers long-term value

Lastly, an outstanding branded experience offers long-standing value to your audience. In most instances, this is where numerous brands fail when it comes to engagement marketing. Why? This is primarily since they emphasize entirely offering short-term value. An outstanding experience sticks with its partakers and encourages continuous brand interaction for the long-term.

One great example of this is Lululemon, an athleisure brand known to use multiple experiential marketing tactics in brand promotion. They hold yoga classes for their customers within certain retail stores. This way, Lululemon can interact directly with their customers and establish authentic and long-lasting ties with them.

The Different Types of Experiential Marketing

Now that you understand what experiential marketing is all about and why it is essential, let's highlight the different forms of engagement marketing strategies you can use for your own venture.

Workshops and Classes

This is the most popular type of engagement marketing in the B2B realm. Hosting workshops and classes is an excellent way of interacting with your target audience while still offering exceptional value (education).

Remember that this need not be an in-person event. Although it might be better if participants would physically be there, hosting an online class would work well.

Take Foundr, for instance; it engages and educates their prospects with an online workshop on Instagram marketing. With this campaign, attendees get an opportunity to interact personally with the founder, Nathan, and learn more about the brand.

Single-Person Events

Another fundamental aspect worth remembering with engagement marketing is that it need not impact as many individuals as possible; sometimes, all that is necessary is that your brand offers one person an outstanding experience.

When integrated with the adequate amount of social sharing and creativity, building an experience that only impacts a small number of individuals can be as impactful as hosting an event that gathers many attendees.

For instance, Coca Cola in a joint promotion together with a forthcoming James Bond film, created an experience that offered their participants the opportunity to become a James Bond for one day! This was done by providing clients a challenge to get to a second vending machine to get their reward while circumventing standard Bond-related hurdles.

Pop-Up Experiences

On the mention of engagement marketing, what hits the mind first is a pop-up event. These events can take multiple forms and shapes like art installations, live performances, and retail stores. Nonetheless, the objective of these events is to improve the everyday experience.

The Period Shop by Kortex is a unique pop-up shop that sells items dedicated to assisting women with their occasional period issues and expediting more extensive conversations on menstruation. With this initiative, Kotex offered an unforgettable retail experience that was entirely different from their everyday experience.

Direct Mail

Essentially, engagement marketing is not limited to event marketing walls. As earlier mentioned, the primary objective is to create an authentic and meaningful relationship between the customers and the brand. What's more, experiential marketing tactics should be utilized together with other marketing approaches.

The Bizible Bible firm well demonstrates the best example of this tactic. The company chose several prospects to get in touch with and sent them physical care packages through their mail. This included a copy of their Bible (Total Economic Impact Version), a handwritten note, plus a donation to an eco-friendly charity in their prospective customer's name. By using a refined, more personal approach can be as dominant and useful when properly used.

Product Showcases

Finally, one of the primary objectives for marketing is adequately educating prospects about your item/product. For product showcases, though, this is a typical experimental marketing strategy for numerous brands.

According to a recent study, 65% of clients outline that product demonstrations and live events aided them in understanding products better than other advertising tactics.

Customarily, product showcases are somewhat an entirely indistinctive and gloomy affair. However, product showcases can transform into awe-inspiring experiences when blended with some creativity and technology.

Take, for instance, Glenfiddich, a renowned malt Scotch whiskey brand, staged a special pop-up event to create interest and awareness of their recent product. Rather than hosting a typical and ordinary tasting event, the brand took their campaign to a whole new level, with clients taking part in short quizzes. Their answers helped the company offer them a cocktail to suit their personality.

Ultimately, the most fundamental part of the experience/experiential marketing is to build an experience worth sharing - a unique factor that makes people around the world form a connection with your brand and reminisce about what a remarkable experience they had...all because of you!