Thinking about using experiential marketing? Here are the 5 things you need to consider first.

As a business owner, you want to want to stand out in the marketplace, but it’s crowded out there. One type of marketing that has developed over the years and has benefitted from new technology and social media is experiential marketing.

One of the most important aspects of this immersive marketing approach is that it puts the consumer first, aka customer centric. And it is proven in driving sales and improving how consumers feel about and perceive brands. The latest Event Marketer report found that 85% of consumers are likely to purchase after participating in events and experiences, and over 90% have more positive feelings about brands after attending.

But before you invest in experiential marketing, here’s what you need to consider:

1. Have you set clear goals and outcomes?

Like any marketing campaign you need to think about what you want to achieve from using experiential marketing, rather than doing it because it is trendy. However, if you want to be seen as a creative, customer centric business then following the trends is the way to go. Here is a useful tool to help you to set your marketing goals.

2. Determine ways to measure those goals and outcomes

Setting your goals can come easy, but deciding how to measure them can be harder. Setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for experiential marketing is an important consideration before steaming ahead.

It may be that there are other people in your organisation who want to know how the marketing campaign is progressing. More importantly it will help you to understand if you are getting the outcomes you expect and achieving your goals. Being able to review the progress of a campaign and make changes will help ensure your business gets a good return on investment (ROI).

One thing you should measure is how much conversation the experiential marketing promoted. A survey showed that 71% of participants share their experiences with people who didn’t attend, typically friends and family.

Here are some of the common KPIs that marketers use to measure campaigns.

3. Identify and exhaustively research your target market

Make sure you know who your potential customers are. Who would buy your product? Think about the demographics of your target audience, i.e. their age, gender, location, income level etc. Once you have this, consider what their interests and hobbies might be, what are their values and what is their lifestyle. A good starting point for this is your current customer base.

Knowing the demographics and personal characteristics of your target market can help you tailor an event that speaks to them and also work out where to locate your event so you can target where they already are.

Find out more about how to define your target market.

4. Devise a creative, exciting, and impactful activation 

Once you know who your target market is, you can begin to create your experiential marketing campaign. Think about how you want to connect with your target audience and what you want to communicate?

Experiential marketing is a broad church and includes events such as creative product samplingroadshowsPR stuntsfestival pop-upslive experiences and more. Sometimes the link to the product is very subtle, but the experience has a high impact on potential customers, like the Weigh This campaign by Lean Cuisine.

And it isn’t just for B2C brands, B2B experiential events can have a big impact too. 67% of B2B marketers say that events make for one of the most effective strategies they use. Facebook used a fun and immersive experience to show businesses how they can use Facebook data to reach their customers. Essentially the experience needs to give people something of value.

5. Find ways to maximise online engagement through social media and other channels

Whilst experiential marketing is often in person, your other marketing channels also play a role in the campaign. Use social media, local / national press, billboards, display ads etc to drive people to the location of the experience.

Create a branded hashtag for the campaign and encourage people to take pictures and share it on their social media networks. Take lots of pictures and video to share people’s experience and their first person narrative of its impact after the event.

This Docker Dash event made a huge impact with their conference attendees, who then shared their experiences with the #DockerCon hashtag on Twitter, reaching 3.6 million people.

Feeling inspired?  Remember, at its core, experiential marketing is all about creating a meaningful connection between a brand and its customers. More than just promoting a certain product to a passive audience, experiential marketing is designed to have customers actively engage with a brand’s identity and its core values.

What examples of experiential marketing have you seen, or experienced? Tell us below.