Experience is a powerful vehicle for emotional connection. Experiencing something generates feelings and triggers memories. For this reason, promoting experiences when introducing a product or a service to your customers can be a game changer. 

Experiential marketing is a strategy based on creating experiences, engaging customers and fostering an emotional connection with your products or brand.
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Experiential marketing goes beyond simple adverts and invites buyers or potential customers to participate in your communication initiatives. It includes consumers in the campaign in a way that is more significant both for results and for how your audience will relate to your brand in the future.

Explaining it like that might seem too subjective. So let's dive into this marketing strategy and understand how it can be used in different sectors to promote a variety of products.

What are the Benefits of Experiential Marketing Campaigns?

As we explained, an experiential marketing campaign will create branded experiences and engage customers in a memorable way. The goal is to leave your consumers feeling optimistic about your product.

This type of campaign can take the form of events, interactive ads, virtual experiences and many others. More than creating a real-world experience, experiential marketing is all about creating an experience that will impact and stimulate participation and engagement.

When considering what best fits your brand, keeping your brand goals in mind is essential. Experiential campaigns must consistently communicate the core values and interests of your company. Still, you will do that by creating a long-lasting memory that customers will immediately connect to your products.

Having said that, the main benefit of experiential marketing campaigns is the long-lasting impression you will leave on participants. When you create an immersive interactive experience, customers will retain that message.

In a world increasingly busy when it comes to information, this type of campaign makes you stand out. They can quickly transform potential customers into buyers, especially since you are offering customers something before them buying your product.

Examples of Experiential Marketing Campaigns

With so many possibilities, it is customary to think experiential marketing campaigns are abstract.

Let's look at some successful campaigns that took their marketing initiatives to the next level by promoting meaningful customer experiences.

Refinery29

Lifestyle brand Refinery29 hosts an event called 29Rooms, which invites artists and brand partners to design interactive experiences for visitors. The event is described as an art exhibit and a fun house, encouraging visitors to play in each of the 29 rooms available.

Creators say the event began as a 10th-year celebration of Refinery29, also aiming to celebrate the themes covered by the brand. Every year, they choose a theme and invite collaborators to design the spaces. In 2023, the event will be hosted in Singapore.

29Rooms is an exciting way to bring to life the themes Refinery29 is known for, celebrating artists, creating partnerships with other brands and strengthening Refinery29's perception among its audience.

Visitors will come out of the event having fun, experiencing activities and remembering what Refinery29 is all about.

Red Bull

Red Bull's marketing campaigns are the epitome of experiential marketing. The brand promotes regular events that highlight the spirit of adventure they aim to be known for and also promote the brand's logo: "Red Bull gives you wings".

The perfect example of a successful initiative for the brand was Red Bull Stratos. In 2012, the brand invited skydiver Felix Baumgartner to live stream the highest skydive ever recorded. Baumgartner jumped from 24 miles above Earth's surface, and his achievement was discussed worldwide.

Red Bull promotes other events throughout the year playing with this idea of amazing stunts that will have you flying, but Stratos became one of the most memorable.

The amount of publicity the brand got with the event is an example of another great benefit of creating experiential marketing campaigns: people talk about it. It becomes news, and it increases your brand visibility.

Snapchat

In 2016, Snapchat launched unique sunglasses to use the app. Although the glasses' creation was already an incredible example of taking their product to the next level, Snapchat's launching strategy was a real experiential campaign.

The brand placed a yellow vending machine outside its headquarters and invited people to try the colours available and buy a pair.

The machine would be moved daily, and people would have to follow clues to realise where it would be next. People got extremely excited to try the glasses, and early adopters raced to find the vending machines.

The strategy helped generate buzz about the product, connected with consumers and created a vehicle to sell the new glasses.

In the virtual world, Snapchat itself became a platform for other experiential marketing campaigns. Through filters on the app, customers can swipe up and claim samples of a product, for example. This strategy encourages engagement with the brand online and offers the audience an incentive, which connects them further to specific products.

Ghostbusters

Movies – especially the ones with the nostalgia factor – are great products to promote with experiential marketing campaigns.

In 2016, for the launch of the movie Ghostbusters, a giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man was installed in Waterloo station in London. The creature was an invitation for the audience to take pictures and share them on social media using the hashtag #ghostbusterswaterloo.

Like many other experiential marketing opportunities, this strategy increased the movie's visibility and incorporated viewers into the campaign. Ordinary people became drivers of organic ads, promoting the film on their own channels.

The movie used the nostalgia factor to encourage people to take part,

Together with the marshmallow man, the campaign created a small pop-up Forbidden Planet store right next to it, allowing customers to buy tickets for the film or exclusive products.

The Simpsons

The Simpsons has some iconic sets and characters. With over 30 seasons, the show has impacted popular culture, being easily recognisable.

In 2018, the show made one of its most memorable spaces come to life by creating a store designed to look just like the Kwik-E-Mart, the convenience store owned by the character Apu in the show.

The store is located in South Carolina, United States, and sells the show's merchandise. The idea of the initiative is to attract show fans and give them a fun space to interact with products. As a result, visitors make an even greater connection with the show and feel motivated to buy the products available.

Armani Code Parfum

In 2022, Armani decided to relaunch its Code Parfum fragrance and we created a well-rounded campaign that combined a pop-up store, a virtual interactive experience, influencer content and Facebook and Instagram ads. Online, customers could visit and play a game to win a duffle bag or a sample of the fragrance.

The combination of in-person and online experiences attracted the attention of the audience, who was eager to claim a sample. On average, 97.5% of visitors of the virtual store were interested in the sample.

Over 980 people won a duffle bag by solving a puzzle online and later opted in for receiving more information about the brand and its products, which shows us the power of successful interactions.

How to Create an Experiential Marketing Campaign?

With a better idea of experiential marketing and what can be done when promoting your products or services, it is time for us to look at how you can create a campaign and what to have in mind when designing your own experience.

Consider the audience you want to reach

Before jumping into an idea, consider your audience and what they might want from your product.

You might want people to experience your product or be interested in showing your customers what kind of feelings your brand evokes. Either way, you must understand your target audience and how they respond to what you are offering.

Know your goals

Having clear goals is a vital aspect of any marketing campaign. For an experiential marketing campaign, this can be challenging. It is easy to get lost in ideas and take things too far.

Keep in mind what you want to achieve with your campaign. Is it increasing sales? Is it solidifying your brand? Is it attracting new customers? Whatever your goal is will help you shape your plan and find the best marketing approach.

Decide on your KPIs

A way to measure results is critical when developing a marketing strategy. An experiential marketing campaign can be fun and cause a good impression on potential customers, but without a way to measure results, that's all it is.

After deciding your goals, understand how you can check if your goals were achieved, so you can also repeat the achievement in the future.

Set a budget

Whenever you are creating a marketing campaign, your budget is an important thing to consider. It is definitely possible to develop a meaningful experiential marketing strategy with every budget, but how much money you have available will determine how bold or adventurous you can and should be.

Don't just rely on the experience

A successful marketing campaign will go beyond the experience you are promoting and will be an opportunity for you to take customers to different channels.

They might visit your exhibit or participate in your event, but they must also be able to find your brand elsewhere.

Use social media in your favour and invite your customers to follow you and engage with your content.

Experiential Marketing Strategies

Now that you understand what experiential marketing is and know what you need to have in mind when creating your own strategy, it is worth looking into the possibilities for experiential marketing and what method you can develop to promote your business and your products.

There are many ways to engage with your customers and inspire positive feelings. When looking at what strategy you can follow, consider your goals, audience and budget.

As we discussed, experiential marketing efforts can fit into any budget, but the more significant the investment, the bigger the impact.

Here are some of the ideas you can implement:

Promote a learning experience

Teaching something to your customers can generate a long-lasting connection between your brand to your audience.

Creating events such as workshops or talks with experts is a great way to associate your product with a valuable experience, positioning your business as one that provides more than just a product or service but actually guides customers through challenges they may face.

Let's say your main product is a food item. You can encourage customers to participate in a cooking class with a celebrity chef. Or you can provide online courses for people who buy your product at a specific time.

There are infinite possibilities, and providing a learning experience is an excellent way to stay in the mind of your potential customers.

Create a pop-up experience

One of the best ways to generate buzz and foster engagement is through a pop-up store or event. Knowing it is a temporary experience, customers will want to rush and participate before it ends.

In a pop-up store or event, you can sell products, offer a service or provide a unique experience for your customers.

The strategy can generate PR, attract potential buyers and provide you with important feedback about what you are offering.

Engage with one person

Experiential marketing campaigns can also be about one person instead of many people.

Take, for example, a video by pasta brand Barilla featuring tennis player Roger Federer and young fan Izyan Ahmad' Zizou'. A few years ago, Zizou asked Federer to keep playing tennis so they could eventually play against each other. When Federer announced his retirement from tennis, Barilla tracked Zizou down and invited Federer to keep his promise of playing against his fan.

The result is an emotional video that will put a smile on anyone's face. The brand's slogan, "a sign of love", perfectly matches the spirit of the video and the two end up celebrating the match by eating pasta.

Even though this experience was life-changing for Zizou, the emotions the video and the initiative provoked in the audience are a perfect example of how effective experiential marketing campaigns can be – even if it's focused on only one person.

Send custom-made packages

As we discussed, experiential marketing campaigns can be something other than enormous ideas that will engage hundreds of people simultaneously. It can be directed at individuals, providing them with a customised experience.
 
For instance, you can send samples of your product to your customers in a personalised package, showing your appreciation for their engagement.
 
If you are launching a product or initiating a more significant campaign, why not include the people who are already interested in your brand? A handwritten note can be enough to show your customers how much you value them, evoking the emotions that are so crucial in experiential marketing campaigns.

Custom packaging can highlight the new features of a product or be specifically designed for a launch to generate hype. The way you present your brand can make a significant difference in how your company will be perceived. Companies like Odore can help your business design the best packaging for the best experience.

Mistakes to avoid in Experiential Marketing

Like with any other marketing campaign, it is essential to note mistakes can be made.

Before getting carried away with an idea and start executing your plan for an experiential marketing campaign, consider the following:

Can this campaign be considered offensive?

Sometimes an idea is so bold and daring that it may offend people. Try to avoid controversy and ensure there is no other way to interpret your vision. Even though discussion can sometimes be beneficial, it most often hurts a brand.

Is your campaign safe?

Health and safety should always be a priority when creating marketing campaigns. When designing events, there's a lot that can go wrong, and you don't want your brand to be associated with anything that could be harmful.

Is everything legal?

When creating something bold, make sure what you are doing follows the rules and regulations of the local community. It's easy to take things too far when trying to be creative, and sometimes rules can change depending on the region you are planning to have your experience set.

Final Thoughts

Emotions are a powerful driving force. They can increase sales and increase the number of people who are aware of your brand.

Experiential marketing is an effective way to evoke emotions. Having your customers participate in an experience, no matter how big or small can solidify the perception of your brand and its relationship with customers.

Having learned about the opportunities and challenges in experiential marketing, you can now let your creativity go wild and try this strategy for yourself.