October 7, 2021
By the Numbers: The Benefits of Experiential Marketing
Traditional marketing is far less effective than experiential marketing. Experiential marketing is about five times more effective. After an experiential marketing event, 98% of attendees drafted a post or video about their experience, and all shared it through social media channels.
Of those who attend or view an experiential marketing campaign, 91% report feeling more optimistic about a brand. Almost three-quarters are more likely to buy a product or service following their experience. Half report that they’re more likely to buy a product if they get a sample or try it before purchasing. Finally, 65% of consumers feel that an experience helps them better understand the product over other marketing methods.
What are the best ways for marketing departments to provide an experience? The top three are an informative website, events (live or virtual) and demonstrations, and in-store offers. For store-based experiential marketing campaigns, these are the most effective options.
- Discounts like in-store coupons and BOGO offers – 64%
- Food and drink offerings while shopping – 30%
- Personalized shopping experiences – 18%
- Product demonstrations – 18%
- Live entertainment – 17%
If that’s what consumers want, how do you meet their preferences? This is where your campaign needs to embrace the different ways to help consumers experience your brand.
Explore the Different Types of Experiential Marketing
You have to create an experiential marketing campaign that makes sense and matches your budget. There are so many options, and you can embrace as many different options as you want. When it comes to experiential marketing types, you have a lot of room to wow your target audience.
Events can be in-person (live) or virtual (online). It gives you the chance to interact with your consumers through Q&As, informative presentations, or fun engagements like live concerts or trade shows. Virtual events gained steam during the pandemic, and they were so successful that many companies are continuing to offer them.
When a group of U.K. vendors learned the pandemic was closing the door to the town’s outdoor market, they decided to take that market online to a virtual trade show/exposition. The Aylesbury Virtual Market became so successful for the vendors that it soon had more than 200 businesses and 3,000 other members promoting and selling their items through the virtual farmer’s market.
A guerrilla marketing event surprises or catches the consumer’s eye in an unusual way. This marketing method may cross into the territory of installations or be something unique. The goal is to shock consumers and leave them pleasantly surprised and wanting to take photos and share what they’ve seen.
Crayola pulled off a stunning guerrilla marketing campaign on the side of The Crayola Experience building in Pennsylvania. On the rooftop sits a giant box of crayons tipped so that crayons seem to be falling to the ground. Those giant crayons are affixed to the box of crayons, but it’s hard to see the connectors.
A brand installation can lead into guerrilla marketing territory. It’s a form of marketing where the brand installs a structure in a public area. That installation captures attention and gets people to take photos and share what they’ve seen. Permits are usually required to pull off an effective installation. Someone has to scout the perfect location, create the design, ensure the installation is insured, and supervise the installation and eventual removal.
Pantene came up with a clever way to promote their anti-breakage line of hair products. The marketing team designed giant braids and installed them from third-story windows in select areas. Halfway up the braid was a man climbing towards the open window. Samples of the anti-breakage products were handed out to the gathering crowds.
Mobile tours bring brands to the consumers. You’ll reach more consumers as you set up your event in places your target audience is likely to be shopping or running errands.
Wyman’s held a successful mobile tour all summer, traveling to stores, parks, and festivals. They painted a van to look like an antique truck carrying a massive pile of wild blueberries. Consumers enjoyed samples of Wyman’s products and received coupons. Consumers could also spin a wheel to win a prize that ranged from branded playing cards to t-shirts. Plus, brand ambassadors were on hand to learn what fruits consumers would like to see making their way into future Wyman’s Just Fruit Cup offerings.
Pop-ups can be one of two things in the marketing world. One is the pop-up ad you get on a website that offers you an incentive to stick around and purchase items. It might be a coupon code for a 20% discount or free shipping for your first purchase. There are also pop-ups where a company creates an indoor or outdoor venue for marketing.
One of the most notable pop-ups came from Bird’s Eye frozen foods. They rented a storefront for a day and prepared restaurant-quality meals using the frozen foods. In exchange for a free meal from “The Picture House,” diners took photos of their meal and shared them on Instagram. As long as they showed that they shared the photo, their meal was complimentary.
Like guerrilla marketing, PR stunts are designed to get attention in significant ways. They can be a little riskier as some PR stunts miss the mark, and negative publicity follows. Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” is an example of a successful PR stunt where ordinary women replaced professional models in ad campaigns. This campaign increased sales by 700%.
In the 1990s, Pepsi created what they thought was a funny PR stunt offering a Harrier jet to any consumer who collected 7 million Pepsi points. They never expected someone to collect that many points, but one man did. They didn’t have the Harrier jet to give away. Pepsi responded to his request for the check by saying it was a joke. He responded by suing the company.
Walk into a warehouse store, and the first thing you see is a cart where a product demonstrator gives away samples. If the marketing campaign involves a food item, the product demonstrator may cook a meal and offer bite-sized pieces. Others may hand away pre-packaged samples of a laundry detergent or cleaner. These samples allow consumers to see how something tastes or how well it works for them at home. If the marketing event is successful, it drives more consumers to purchase the item.
Impossible Foods came up with a way to offer free samples during the pandemic. Using a blend of pop-ups, mobile tours, and sampling, branded food trucks to store parking lots. The tempting smell of grilled plant-based foods drew consumers to them, where they were treated to a free sample of Impossible Meats plant-based “beef.” In hopes of winning a swag back, consumers took pictures with the truck to share on social media and filled out a survey to provide immediate feedback.
Not every company has a strong marketing team. Even if you do, your marketing team may still be learning about successful experiential marketing campaigns. Everyone needs a helping hand now and then. Call Factory 360 with your ideas, and let us help you turn your vision into reality. Our team is happy to help you plan the best experiential marketing event that fits your budget and goals.