Does your marketing include live-action exhibitions that sell your product in a way that is interactive and powerful?
This is known as experiential marketing, and when done right, it provides your target audience with marketing that is tangible, because it takes place in a physical space that shatters the boundaries of computer screens, chat rooms, and email chains.
So how can you take advantage of experiential marketing that you can tailor to meet the unique needs of your business?
Let’s dive into some of the benefits of this powerful marketing strategy, and see how some brands have used this tool to boost brand awareness and improve the customer experience.
Experiential Marketing Lets Your Audience Touch, Feel and Use Your Product
One of the weaknesses of digital marketing is that if you sell a physical product as opposed to a service, it is often hard for your audience to get a feel for how that product would work in their own lives.
But if you launch an experiential marketing campaign, you can bring your product directly to your target audience, so that they can experience it in a way that is more intimate and valuable than simply seeing your product online.
For example, Lean Cuisine launched a #WeighThis campaign in Grand Central Station in New York, in which they set up weighing scales on a wall.
These scales were inscribed with encouraging messages from people who were on the weight-loss program, including thoughts such as, “Putting myself first,” and “Winning the uphill battles,” meant to motivate and empower visitors to remain committed to healthy lifestyles.
So let’s say your company sells wine online. To personalize your customer experience, you could launch a wine-tasting campaign by partnering with local high-end grocery stores.
This puts your product directly in the hands of your targeted customers, whose experience is now enhanced by being able to inhale the wine’s aroma, and feel its texture in their mouths.
Experiential Marketing Grabs Much-Needed Attention On Social Media
Another benefit of experiential marketing is that it helps your business stand out on social media.
And your social media presence is a significant factor in helping you brand your company, because when people like one of your marketing campaigns, they are more likely to share their interest with others.
Sprite recently launched a campaign in which it built an outdoor beach shower in the shape of a soda dispenser and invited beachgoers to use it to wash off the sand after a day of sunning on the beach.
The #spriteshower campaign was a social media sensation, and significantly increased Sprite’s social media engagement.
It associated Sprite with beach fun and frivolity, but did so in a clever way that grabbed the interest and attention of the public.
The takeaway is this: What aspect of your product can you leverage in a clever way that grabs attention?
For example, if you sell shoes online, you could launch an experiential campaign in which you build a giant booth in the shape of a shoebox and allow visitors to enter the booth and try on different pairs of shoes.
Don’t be afraid to use the nature of your product (in this case, shoes that come in a box) to help drive your experiential marketing campaigns.
Experiential Marketing Can Create an Immersive Experience
Because experiential campaigns are mostly done live, you have the opportunity to create an atmosphere that places your audience in a captive environment, especially if you use virtual reality (VR) technology.
Immersive experiences are especially effective for companies who produce entertainment such as video games, TV shows, and feature films.
For example, HBO has used experiential marketing to promote its biggest television hit, “Game of Thrones,” a fantasy epic filled with monsters, magic, lush locales, and epic battles.
The cable network’s The Game of Thrones: The Exhibit has toured cities such as Madrid, London and Amsterdam, offering visitors the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the fictional world of ‘Westeros’ where most of show’s action takes place.
The exhibition features CGI and facial recognition booths where visitors can transform their appearance into the fearsome White Walkers, supernatural villains on the show.
Visitors can also use the Oculus Rift VR system, which places them on a massive 700-foot ice wall – one of the centerpiece locales in the show – and experience falling from the top of that wall.
But you don’t have to be a media-based company to take advantage of immersive marketing.
That’s because the development of VR has made it possible for businesses in many different industries to create worlds that are specific to their products, vision and culture.
So the key is for you to find the ‘story’ behind your business, and recreate that experience within a VR environment.
For example, if you’re a robotics company, you could create an exhibition in which visitors could wear VR headgear to experience a world where everything operates through the aid of robots.
Marketing Your Audience Can Touch
Experiential marketing is effective because your audience can touch and feel what you are selling, and that can elicit powerful emotions that increase engagement levels, and draws more people to your brand. And the evolution of VR has provided the perfect tool for you to go for broke when it comes to creating the kind of experience that can shock, entertain, inform, and leave people begging for more.
Tabitha Jean Naylor is the proud owner of TabithaNaylor.com, a marketing firm that delivers ‘big agency’ quality at rates that are affordable for startups and small businesses. Her intimate knowledge of how sales and marketing go hand-in-hand has resulted in a variety of successful campaigns for start-ups through NASDAQ traded companies.