One of the best way to reach your brand’s target demographic is to go to them rather than waiting for them to come to you. Experiential marketing can be an outstanding way to do that.
Think about it: Experiential marketing activations often happen in conjunction with larger gatherings such as music festivals, sporting events or trade shows. All of these events collect and publish demographic information on their attendees. It’s how they keep businesses coming and setting up booths.
You can access this demographic information to help you determine which events will do the best job of getting you in front of your target audience. But where do you begin? There are thousands of events you might consider attending. It can be hard to narrow the choices down to the few that are the best fit for your brand.
There’s no magic formula for this, but we thought we’d give you some initial ideas about where to look. Once you’ve done your brainstorm on the types of events you might attend, we highly recommend reaching out to them and asking them for any details they can provide attendees. We tend to think of music festivals as a place where all young people hang out, but some attract older audiences, while others are more popular with generation Z than millennials.
Gen Z (defined here as consumers between the ages of 11 and 21)
- Malls and other shopping centers. One of the early rights of passage for young people is going shopping with their friends instead of their parents. Reach them at malls and other upscale shopping centers with security (mom is more likely to let them hang out somewhere she feels they’ll be safe).
- High school and college campuses. Kids spend a good chunk of their waking hours at school. If you’re presented with opportunities to reach them on or just off campus, take them.
- Restaurants and other establishments near those places. Older members of generation Z do much of their shopping online. But they still enjoy going out to eat. Take your experiential marketing events to sit-down restaurants, fast casual spots, cafés and dessert places.
- Bars and clubs. When you turn 21, what do you do? Go to all the bars and clubs your friends have been checking out for years. These party hot spots are ideal for targeting young consumers.
Millennials (defined here as consumers between the ages of 22 and 35)
- Music festivals and other types of festivals. These events are hugely popular with young people. And it seems like there’s a new one that pops up every year, so you have lots of choices.
- Smaller and unusual sporting events. Since millennials are typically still on the lower end of the wage spectrum, they often can’t afford to attend major league sporting events. Plus members of this generation like to do things are different than the generations before them. That’s gotten many interested in sports that aren’t among the big three (baseball, basketball and football). Be creative when you’re searching; while many young people are fans of soccer, they may also be following sports you’ve never heard of before (underwater hockey, anyone?).
- Grocery and other stores. This certainly isn’t as sexy as the first two, but let’s face it: People have got to eat. And that means going to the grocery store. Millennials aren’t as likely as their older counterparts to be set in their buying habits, and many are interested in trying new and different foods.
- Gym or other exercise/outdoor venues. Fitness and staying healthy is very important to millennials. Catch them in the indoor and outdoor places they stay in shape, meet with friends and explore the world around them.
Gen X (defined here as consumers between the ages of 35 and 55)
- Family events. By the time they’ve reached their mid-30s, most of the men and women who are going to start families have already done it. They’re more settled, meaning fewer bars and night clubs and more family-friendly events. Reach them at county fairs, children’s health and safety days and similar events. Stores that sell children’s items can also be great places to reach members of Gen X.
- Conferences and trade shows. Many people are well established in their careers by this point and are looking to take things to the next level. Young professionals are very likely to attend or present at conferences and trade shows as a way to advance their professional development.
- Major sporting events. Now that they’re earning a decent living and have some of their major expenses behind them, Gen X can afford to go to those major sporting events they dreamed about when they were young. Whether they attend for fun or to entertain work clients, this can be a good place to market to them.
Baby boomers (defined here as consumers between the ages of 55 and 70)
- Classic rock concerts. With the kids gone and plenty of money burning a hole in their pockets, baby boomers are out looking for fun things to do. Why not start by attending performances by the bands they enjoyed in their youth?
- Places that cater to gardening, woodworking and other leisure activities. As they near retirement, baby boomers are looking for ways to keep them busy when they’re done with work. Gardening has become quite popular, especially among women, while many men are turning to wood turning and other types of woodworking.
- RV communities. RVing is extremely popular among older adults. Many parks have community centers, special events and other places where you can reach consumers.
Retirees (defined here as consumers 70 and older)
- Community centers. Many retired people are regulars at community centers. They go for company but also to discover new hobbies and explore new interests. Maybe one of those new interests can be experimenting with your company’s products or services?
- Retirement communities. Active older adults no longer interested in taking care of their own homes find retirement communities a terrific alternatives. Good communities have event staff who are always looking for activities for residents. Couch your request to host an experiential marketing event in terms of providing an educational or recreational experience, and you should have an easy time getting your foot in the door.