December 5, 2016
Why invest in experiential marketing? Because it has so many benefits. At least ten, which we’ve laid out neatly so you can share them with your boss, your colleagues, or whoever else you need to convince. What would you add to this list? We’d love to hear about your experience with event or live marketing.
Experiential marketing is effective
One of the reasons experiential marketing is so popular is that it’s quite effective. The 2015 EventTrack survey, the largest annual survey of the experiential marketing industry, shows that 79 percent of brands expected to increase their spending on experiential marketing. On average, those firms planned to bump spending by over six percent.
Why the big increase in investment in experiential marketing? Nearly 80 percent saw a return on investment of 3:1 or more for each event. Sixteen percent realized an ROI of 20:1 or more. Eighty-one percent of brands who used experiential marketing created brand awareness or saw their brand awareness increase; 62 percent said consumers gained greater product knowledge as a result of their event; and 57 percent developed deeper consumer involvement.
Brands see results from experiential marketing. That’s why so many of them are investing more money in it every year.
Experiential marketing generates sales and leads
EventTrack also shows that experiential marketing can lead directly to sales and leads. Seventy-nine percent of companies surveyed said experiential marketing events helped them increase sales. Seventy-four percent of consumers surveyed said they were more likely to purchase a company’s products or services after an experiential marketing event.
Experiential marketing events are great for generating leads as well. Fifty percent of companies said their goal for experiential marketing events was to gather leads, and 41 percent said they used the events to increase their prospect databases.
Experiential marketing allows consumers to experience products/services with their senses
Traditionally, one of the reasons to have an experiential marketing event was to allow consumers to feel, touch, taste, hear and smell a product. Shoppers are more likely to buy food and beverages if they can sample them before they make a purchase. Consumers who can smell candles and air fresheners can figure out which ones they like best before they buy. And the list goes on.
Note that service companies (not just those selling a product) can provide consumers with opportunities to sample products with their senses. DJs can play music to show off the quality of their equipment. Natural cleaning product companies can allow consumers to smell their products to demonstrate that they don’t contain chemicals that make the eyes or nose burn.
Experiential marketing allows brands to interact directly with consumers
So often these days, consumers interact with brands through email, a website or social media. When consumers interact with a brand by phone, they’re typically speaking with a person who is thousands of miles away (and perhaps in another country).
There’s something to be said from the convenience of being able to access brands through so many channels and at virtually any time of day. But these interactions can also be impersonal and frustrating.
Experiential marketing gives consumers the chance to directly interact with people at their favorite brands (either employees or, more likely, well-trained brand ambassadors). At events, consumers can look people in the eye, shake their hands, and do all of the things people used to do when they made sales and created relationships. A positive person-to-person interaction is much more likely to stick in consumers’ minds and keep them returning to the company.
Experiential marketing helps brands convey their values and mission
Research shows that consumers are more likely to feel loyal to a brand when they have shared values. But values, mission statements, goals and similar messages are hard to convey through traditional advertising methods. Social media, videos and other types of digital media make it easier to tell your brand’s story, but attracting consumers and holding their attention long enough to get them to consume that media can be challenging.
With experiential marketing, you have a captive audience waiting to absorb your brand’s message through a set of tactile experience. Conveying your values and other key beliefs through words and experiences makes them more memorable. Having people share your messages with consumers also lends some authenticity that’s hard to get through any other type of interaction.
Experiential marketing makes social media even more powerful
Social media is a powerful tool on its own. But when you combine it with experiential marketing, it becomes a more potent and effective way to share your message.
Consumers love to take and share pictures of themselves on social media. When you invite them to a fun and memorable experience, they’re highly likely to capture their favorite moments on film and share them with people they know. That gives your brand free grassroots advertising that’s hard to come by any other way.
Good experiential marketing events attract earned media, influencers, etc.
Television, newspaper, influencers and others who can share your message widely are unlikely to cover your new products or services if you hold a press conference. But if you build an engaging and meaningful experiential marketing activation… well, they will come. Use experiential marketing to gain attention from the people who can help you share your brand story.
Experiential marketing events provide useful analytics
Since experiential marketing allows you to interact with consumers at a live event, it’s fairly easy to track several key analytics. EventTrack respondents said their top measures for events were total attendance/participation, Facebook likes or other social media interactions, and product sales leads. Other common quantitative measures include how many samples were given away, e-newsletter signups, views of a website page or digital site set up specifically to support the event, and how many sales leads were generated.
Data keeps the bosses happy. It also provides you with the raw material you need to make future events and marketing campaigns even better. Get quality information without too much extra trouble from experiential marketing activations.
Experiential marketing allows you to micro-target specific audiences
Is your biggest marketing goal to educate millennials about your products? Go to the places they hang out and talk to them. Are you hoping to get retirees to buy your company’s services? Talk to them in the places they frequent.
Most event organizers – from people to put together music festivals to the folks who run the county fair – keep very detailed data about their attendees. Use that data to find the target populations you’d like to reach, and plan to go to them.
When people are attending events, they’re often much more receptive to marketing messages than they would be at home or in their everyday life. That’s another way experiential marketing presents you with a great opportunity to meet your marketing goals.
Experiential marketing is fun!
Everyone likes events – especially events where you get to have meaningful experiences or received substantial samples of products or services. Experiential marketing campaigns are fun for the companies that host them, and fun for the consumers who partake in them. Combine the fun factor with the high return on investment of experiential marketing campaigns, and it’s hard to see how anyone can lose.