March 27, 2023
Experiential marketing is a form of marketing where customers experience a brand or product. It’s considered the most successful marketing tactic as it’s not a show-and-tell situation where you throw information at people and hope it sinks in. Customers get to experience something in very real, memorable ways. As summer approaches, many marketing teams are busy planning experiential marketing events.
What experiential marketing events are the best? It varies and is dependent on your brand’s reputation, product or service, and clientele. Live events remain the most popular and make it easy for attendees to share social media and digital content with their family, friends, and acquaintances, but there are other options you shouldn’t overlook as you start making your summer marketing plans.
Five Hot Ideas for Experiential Marketing Events
What different types of experiential marketing events are popular? Live events are the most popular with 65% of consumers saying events and product demos were the most effective ways for them to learn more about a brand. But, there are all of these other experiential marketing areas you can use or combine in the experience you want to create.
- Augmented reality experiences
- Virtual reality experiences
- Contests and giveaways
- Interactive displays
- Live events
- Product demos and sampling
- Website or social media scavenger hunts
Live events are the most popular, and some major events around the nation rely on sponsors and vendors. Tapping into their popularity is one of the best ways to market your brand.
Have you heard of South by Southwest (SXSW)? It’s a giant tech and music festival held each year in Texas. While SXSW takes place in March and April, there are many summer festivals like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza.
PayPal wanted to share news of the PayPal app with the festival’s attendees. Factory360 designed a custom claw machine, and app users were able to order food at GrubHub’s on-site pop-up and get a gold coin to use in the claw machine. By the end of the festival, local merchants and SXSW vendors gained more than 8,500 PayPal transactions or interactions.
Summer Pop-Up Sales
If you have a pedestrian mall anywhere nearby, have you ever noticed the stores banding together and offering summer sidewalk sales? Store employees set up outdoor storefronts and sell specific items at huge savings. Often, that’s enough to increase interest and get shoppers into the store.
Your brand could tap into that idea. Set up a pop-up storefront and let consumers see what you have. A QR discount code and free shipping make it easy for them to purchase the items there and have them delivered straight to their door.
Factory 360 used an idea like this with Instagram. Instagram sellers usually sell their items online through their sites. In this case, a handful of sellers had displays in a pop-up where consumers could scan QR codes after looking at a demo product and complete the purchase. Completed sales came with free gifts and banana push pops were also available to shoppers. The end result was that 7,195 people shopped at the pop-up, leading to a 25% QR code-to-purchase conversion rate.
Summer Games Paired With Prizes
There are three things that people of almost any age love: games, food, and giveaways. Take those passions and turn them into an event that consumers won’t forget. Have you heard of the game League of Legends? Each year, the League of Legends Championships Series (LCS) is held. Use this event as inspiration for your brand’s summer game fest.
For 2022, Factory 360 helped out and created an unforgettable event that partnered the LCS Fall Finals with Grubhub. Games like a giant food-themed slingshot were set up for attendees and swag was handed out. Competitors for the LCS Fall Finals were on hand with their own booths for meet and greets, and there was live entertainment. Grubhub had plenty of food for hungry fans.
Freebies are everything to consumers. There are websites and Reddit groups dedicated to finding free swag and samples. Build on the appeal of freebies for your summer event.
Factory 360 helped the dairy-free company Oatly! spread the news of their items through a three-city van tour. Ice cream trucks were rebranded to be Oatly! ice cream trucks and samples were handed out in different cities along the normal ice cream trucks’ routes. More than 16,500 bars were handed out, and social media and national press coverage broadened the company’s exposure.
Chilling Interactive Displays
Weather forecasts fluctuate, but some areas are expected to see record heat all summer long. Capture people’s attention with interactive displays that help them cool off while having the perfect opportunity to take photos to share on social media.
Several years ago, JetBlue and the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau set up giant ice cubes in the middle of New York City. People had to chip away at the ice using items they had in their pockets or purse. If they managed to get to one of the prizes hidden in the ice, it was theirs.
Obviously, in summer’s heat, you have to make sure that the ice doesn’t melt too fast. But, you can build on this idea using an inflatable pool and magnetic fishing poles.
Factors to Consider
Before doing anything else, you need to make a few decisions. Gather your marketing team and discuss these factors.
What are your marketing goals? What do you hope to achieve with the experiential marketing event? Are you hoping to boost sales, gain traffic to your website, or get your name out there on social media?
Who is your target audience? Do you have a specific age group you’re hoping to draw to your brand or people from a specific income bracket, location, or employment field?
What’s your budget? You need to have a maximum price point in mind to ensure you don’t go over budget. All decisions that are made from this point onward have to keep the budget in mind.
How do you plan to reach your audience? Are you aiming for a live event, a virtual event, or a mix of the two?
Are you traveling to a specific location or planning to set up events or pop-ups in several locations? How much staffing is going to be necessary to pull off the event or pop-up if you do opt for specific locations, and do you have enough manpower?
What date are you planning to host the experiential marketing event? If you’re looking at a specific location? Are venues filled up or is your ideal location still available? You may need to shift days, and that means making sure it’s still convenient for your target audience.
How are you going to promote your event? Are you blasting the information all over social media or sending emails? Will you mail invitations? Are you going to take out ads in area papers or radio stations?
If you’re looking at ads or mailings, you need to have enough time to create the content, submit it to stations, printers, or media sites, and have it aired or mailed in time. Remember that post offices across the nation are not always delivering mail as quickly as they used to, so you may need extra time.
Once you have dates and times, locations, and a budget laid out, you have to stop and think about the equipment and supplies you need. If you’re doing samples or swag giveaways, you have to have the items delivered to the venue or location in time. Food trucks or caterers, if needed, have to be booked months in advance.
If you’re inviting influencers, they need advance notice. For live events featuring music, bands and musicians have to be booked in advance and you need backups just in case someone falls ill or can’t make it. You also need to consider any designers, programmers/web dev, and audio experts who will set you up with the equipment and programs you need to pull off the event.
This is the bare minimum of what you need to do before anything else. This is why it’s important to think things through. Not every company has a marketing team with the manpower and expertise to pull off some of these plans. You might have a strong team on content marketing and websites, but sampling and pop-ups are new territories.
Bring in the experts in experiential marketing. Factory 360 is a multiple award-winning marketing agency with a team of experts in all areas of experiential marketing, UX/UI design, virtual or augmented reality, pop-ups, sampling, and so much more. We’ll explore your options for an amazing event that gets people talking and provides the maximum exposure for the budget you must adhere to.