Marketing methodology is shaped around the way consumers process communications and respond to messages. TV adverts, direct mail, email marketing, SEO and print strategies are formulated based on the way the consumer thinks, behaves and makes decisions. We analyse human behaviour and psychology to generate campaign success in these areas. On the surface experiential marketing works a little differently; in reality it marries these different methodologies and can act as a catalyst for multi-channel success.
Experiential marketing can be used to support above and below the line techniques or be the icing on an integrated cake. When it comes to the customer, experiential marketing seeks to dictate and enhance the customer journey, accelerate the decision making process and bring the campaign directly to the target audience.
Creativity and customer awareness are key when planning an experiential campaign or event, but there also other essential strands you should consider during the planning stages. The following five campaign components can be seen as benefits of experiential marketing and also be used as key performance indicators.
1) Offers product experience
At the most basic level, many experiential campaigns take the product directly to the customer and ask them to experience it first-hand. This might be through innovative product launches and demonstrations or through more interactive events such as public competitions and social events. Whatever the tactic, this ensures the target market come into contact with the product and removes many of the common barriers to trying it for the first time.
2) Brand extension and differentiation
The type of experiential campaign helps to differentiate the product in the market place and can help shape the perceived brand persona in a number of ways. For example, a drinks company could work alongside a band to set up a one-off club night to promote a product launch and offer tickets to the event as competition prizes. The type of band, the venue and the likely competition entrant all help to set the tone for the product and act as an extension of the brand, which is differentiated in the market by this approach.
3) Direct relationship building
Whether it’s signing up for an app that allows guests to guess the ingredients in a restaurant’s new menu as they work their way from course to course or leaving an email address in exchange for a carry away sample, experiential marketing offers plenty of opportunities for data capture. Relationship building also becomes a more organic process as questions are more easily answered on site with products on hand to offer proof in the pudding.
4) A moment to remember
The ability to build a positive product experience in advance of purchase gives brands the ability to shape the consumer’s view of them and their product from the off. Building a campaign around an experiential event and offering it up as a prize or an extra in relation to a product or service gives the consumer a reason to come into contact with it and ultimately, a moment to remember too.
5) Shareable subjects that generates social signals
In experiential marketing, the campaign often carries itself. Create an experience that consumers want to take part in, talk about and engage with and they will share it and positive information about your product for you. Good experiential marketing is a great support to other offline and online strategies because it encourages sharing, sharing that generates social signals, content, site visits and hopefully, purchases. With careful planning shareability can be built into your campaign and channel your target audience across platforms to purchase.
One example of a brand that continually implements effective experiential marketing campaigns is upmarket sandwich chain Pret A Manger. One particular experiential marketing campaign, which was the brainchild of experiential marketing firm Kommando Ltd, aimed to reinforce Pret A Manger’s core values of providing stylish, fresh and natural produce and service, by transporting customers to their new stores on Pret branded pedicabs, and dispensing free helium balloons, brownie samples, and money off coupons.