Has your boss ever said to you, “Why should we consider experiential marketing? How effective is it, anyway?” There are a lot of ways to answer that questions. For this blog post, we’d like to offer this idea: Give your boss a run-down of how experiential marketing compares to other marketing mediums in terms of effectiveness.

When you look at studies that compare marketing mediums, experiential marketing often falls in the upper-middle on the effectiveness scale. That means it’s probably more impactful than many of the things you’re already doing. You can also make the case that experiential marketing is more beneficial in certain situations – for example, when you’re introducing a new food and beverage product and want to do sampling.

Here are five common marketing mediums and how they stack up against experiential marketing.

Email marketing

Email marketing is considered the most effective strategies by this and many other studies. Consumers increasingly appreciate being marketed to through email as opposed to phone or television advertising. It’s a consistent and non-obtrusive way to reach out to consumers, direct them to your website, and offer coupons and other deals.

The thing email doesn’t offer is person-to-person attention or the ability to experience a product. Even the most customized email doesn’t come with eye contact or the ability to shake hands. That personal connection is very helpful when you’re trying to sell products. An email also doesn’t give users the ability to touch, see, taste, smell or listen to a product. Experiential marketing is much more effective at providing human interaction and sensory experience.

Content marketing

Content marketing consistently comes in second or third behind email marketing (this study is one example). Online search is extremely important in today’s world, and content marketing is one of the best ways to boost SEO. A good content marketing strategy is similar to experiential marketing in that it offers consumers something of value as a way to build trust with them. It can also do a great job of communicating a brand’s personality and values.

However, no content marketing strategy can offer an experience as memorable as, say, attending a concert with your favorite band or having a meeting with a top business influencer. Another truth about today’s world is that people value experiences as much as (sometimes more than) they value stuff. They may get information about products and services through high-quality content, but they’re more likely to remember a product or service if they have experience with it.

Social media marketing

Social media or digital marketing is another fast-growing part of the marketing mix. Research shows that consumers want brands to be on social media; 95 percent of millennials, 87 percent of Gen Xers and 70 percent of baby boomers say brands should have a Facebook page and participate on at least two other social channels.

The interesting thing is that social media doesn’t necessarily influence consumers’ purchasing decisions. A study mentioned in this article states that only 47 percent of millennials and 19 percent of people in other age groups say sites like Facebook influence their purchasing decisions. Consumers see social media more as a way to interact with, learn from and make their voices heard by brands.

If you want to actually make sales, experiential marketing is much more effective. Ninety-eight percent of people who responded to an experiential marketing survey by EventTrack that if they were thinking about purchasing a product anyway, seeing it or trying it at an experiential marketing event made them more likely to buy it.

Television advertising

Despite the decline in live television viewing, this study from Turner Broadcasting and Horizon Media says that television is still the most effective advertising medium available. TV commercials do a better job of meeting key performance indicators than print, radio and online display ads. Although their effectiveness has gone down slightly (1.5 percent), it’s decreased at a much slower rate than other types of advertising (some of which have seen a 10 percent drop).

However, television doesn’t win in every category. The 2014 version of the EventTrack survey, which monitors opinions and data about experiential marketing, reports that 93 percent of consumers says live events are more effective than television advertising. The vast majority of those respondents said event marketing gives them a better understanding of a brand’s products or services.

That makes a lot of sense. During an experiential marketing event, consumers can try products for themselves to see if they like them. They can put on a new pair of running shoes to see how they feel, listen to the quality of music coming from a new set of speakers, or taste a new flavor of hard alcohol. That ability to “try before you buy” makes consumers much more likely to make a purchase.

Print advertising

When ebooks first entered the market, people worried it meant the end of print books. Similarly, when digital marketing became the Next Big Thing, some claimed that print advertising was dead.

It turns out both print books and print advertising are still thriving today. Research cited in this article shows that many businesses (especially small and local businesses) consider print advertising an important part of their marketing mix. Studies done by the US Postal Service found that 73 percent of consumers prefer direct mail advertising over other methods, and that 40 percent try new businesses after they receive some type of mailer from them.

Print advertising, like television advertising, suffers from its inability to connect with consumers on a personal level. Most mailers aren’t engaging enough to make a lasting impression in people’s minds, and they communicate little about a brand’s values or overall message. These are all things can be done very effectively with experiential marketing.

Of course, it’s important to note that experiential marketing works best when it’s integrated with other types of marketing. Activations should be tied to the messaging and themes in television or print ad campaigns. Marketers can utilize email before events to publicize them and afterward to keep in touch with participants. Experiential marketing can be part of a content marketing strategy, especially for B2B companies. And social media plays a vital role in the effectiveness of all activations.

Would your company like to add experiential marketing to your marketing efforts? At Factory 360, we know how to plan great events, but we also know how to integrate live campaigns with all of your company’s other marketing activities. We’ll show you how to use experiential marketing to grow your business and make your marketing efforts even more successful. Contact us today for more information.

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