Experiential marketing, also called engagement marketing, is a strategy using experiences to make an emotional connection to your prospects. Think ticketed events like concerts sponsored by your brand. Think online contests that showcase your message.
Here’s why this experiential marketing is important and how it can help your small business.
Adopting the Right Mindset for Experiential Marketing
Steve Kurniawan is content marketing and digital marketing strategy of Nine Peaks Media. He outlined some of the concepts small businesses need to pay attention to before they get started.
“The main idea is customers are more likely to buy based on emotion, not logic,” he writes.
He makes a few suggestions like street team marketing. This is where ambassadors for your brand giveaway samples to create a unique experience. It’s a common method and cost-effective at the same time.
“Another concept to understand is experiential marketing focuses on the brand message and company culture instead of the actual product/service.”
There are two main principles according to Kurniawan.
“In general, there are two main principles–engaging emotions with an experience and focusing on a relatable brand message.”
There are some tried and true methods for making any experiential marketing strategy work.
A great way to make a splash is by getting involved in the community,” writes Steve Martin, the CMO of DaySmart Software.
“For example, a small pet groomer that donates their time to occasionally groom shelter pets could engage their customers. They could ask them what shelters they want them to provide their services to and get them to volunteer onsite.”
Having an open house is a great way for a brick-and-mortar business to do the same.
If you’re a small business, you can start off small. Simply answering questions on websites like Quora can start building up your engagement.
Using a variety of online off-line contests works too. Find the influencers are in your niche and see if you can work with them. Another good idea is to have an interactive website where the audience can play games showcasing your brand and message.
Experiential Marketing Strategies
Once you’ve got the details worked out, it’s time to put together a campaign. Here are a few of the strategies that are proven to work.
Tell the Story Behind Your Business
This is one of the best ways to get people to relate and engage with your brand. Remember to use good narrative technique. In other words, start your story in the middle at an interesting point. Giving away a lot of detail and moving in chronological order gets boring quickly.
Use Social Media
Social media is a great way to reach a wide audience with an experiential marketing event. Hosting an event on Facebook is a good option. Consider boosting attendance through paid ads before the occasion to create a buzz. These are generally not expensive and pay off in spades.
Look for Partnerships
If you’re putting on an event, you can partner with other area businesses. Make sure these are competing in the same space. For example, say you’re selling digital marketing services and hosting a webinar. Partnering with a local computer store or repair shop can bring in more customers.
Experiential Marketing Trends for 2019
Here’s a few trends you should be watching for in 2019.
Virtual reality is topping the list for a good reason. This is becoming a great way to give your audience an immersive experience remotely. Contractors can take renovation clients on a 3-D trip through a finished bathroom. Even a short YouTube video showing how your product works gets people engaged.
Look for more investment in this type of marketing in 2019. Big brands like Google and Netflix have led the way and opened a path to take advantage of. Small businesses can start by mimicking some of their ideas on a smaller scale.