How do you define experiential marketing? What are some of the top experiential marketing agencies and companies in the world? What activities and events are often included in this engagement marketing? Can you give examples of successful case studies?
What is it – Definition
What does it mean or how do you define experiential marketing strategy? Is it the same as engagement?
Well, experience or experiential, also known as engagement is a marketing strategy which according to Brad Nierenberg creates a, “live, one-on-one interactions that allow consumers to create connections with brands” [ithaca.edu] i.e. it gives consumers a chance to experience the brand being advertised or marketed in a more personal way – face to face interaction.
As opposed to the traditional advertising, the radio, TV and print mediums where brands and benefits of products are communicated visually or verbally, experiential tried to directly engage and call consumers to participate or experience the brand i.e. products and services. Of course, this will engage more human senses (touch, vision, feel, taste, smell, etc.).
This strategy is often associated with the terms ‘live’, ‘on-ground’, event,’ or participation marketing. However, for these terms to have the same meaning as ‘exponential’ or ‘engagement marketing’, activities involved must be the kind that “directly engages consumers and invites and encourages them to participate in the evolution of a brand” [en.wikipedia.org].
With that definition, let us look at some of the benefits before we look at activities involved, some examples and case studies as well as ways you can measure the impact it creates.
Impact of digital media on experience marketing
Even with the growth of digital marketing, the future of engagement marketing is not threatened at all. People still need that experience of brands, goods and products.
In fact, creating a sharable experiential promotions or activity can help consumers to share their experiences online on websites and social media platforms. Some filmed and shared stunts during experiential marketing events have been vital in some experiential agencies success to a global scale.
Why go for it – benefits
The main benefit according to Creative Guerilla Marketing is “to form a memorable and emotional connection between the consumer and the brand so that it may generate customer loyalty and influence purchase decision.” The deeper emotional connection and experience it creates often increase conversion rates or sales as well as changes reputation.
Secondly, if executed creatively and effectively, this marketing strategy is less costly yet the impact is good in terms of sales as already mentioned.
Thirdly, traditional methods such as TV, radio, are often ignored while in online marketing, ads are often blocked since some popup ads can be annoying. However, the nature of experiential marketing is something not easy to ignore due to the personalized approach it has.
Although relatively new, it is very necessary for any business to embrace this marketing strategy if it is to create memorable engagements and events to make their products, services or brands to beat the competition. This is occasioned by the fact that there is an increased number of goods and services available.
To summarize on its significance, the Jack Morton “2009 Marketer’s survey (click to see PDF documents) further reveals that “experiential marketing builds customer relationships for the long term.” If used effectively, it can further help in:
- Raising awareness,
- Drive word of mouth marketing
- Increases consumer loyalty
- Creates a lasting memory
- Creates better ROI
- Builds good relationships
- Change opinions of unhappy customers
- Confirms the target audience
- Helps establish relevance
- Encourages product trials and interaction
- Creates desire for products and services
On the downside, this strategy cannot be used for large-scale awareness such as global marketing and it cannot be good for people who do not like marketing messages that are very intrusive.
Events and activities
Some of the events and activities that experiential generally involve “finding and engaging with target audiences, giving the brand’s personality a clear voice, and ultimately creating brand fans” [tro.com].
During this process, other marketing strategies ranging from small scale tasters, invited only persons, to larger scale strategies such as guerrilla marketing tactics are often employed.
Some of the common experience events and marketing activities include the following:
- Conducting mobile marketing events and tours including in branded automotive and vehicles
- Carry out public relation events and stunts
- Sponsorship activation
- Having a pop-up retail and pop up dining events
- Creating street marketing teams
- experiential sampling
- Experiential plays
- Sampling campaigns
- Celebrities and sports marketing
- Tradeshow engagements
Ideas and tips
Some of the ideas and tips to ensure your experiential strategy works effectively includes having objects such as knowing your target customers and knowing methods to effectively interact with them. Furthermore, choosing a good location for the event, determining if this will be the best medium to promote your products or services as well as integrating it into your overall marketing programs is very important.
Other tips for a successful experiential brand include ensuring your brand has a taste, the campaign should be engaging and interactive and involve as many senses as possible. In addition, make it personal, go for ambassadors who are well trained, be brief and to the point, incorporate new technologies, be social, be ROI oriented and give your potential consumers a reason to make a follow-up or come back.
Finally, ensure your the strategy has a way of measuring results. We will look at ways to measure impact or results later in the discussion.
Examples and case studies
If you are interested in the best experiential marketing examples, there are so many. In fact, it does not really matter if you are in Atlanta, NYC, Chicago, etc. You will find many examples near you.
However, for the sake of our discussion, we are going to briefly a few examples of best experiential marketing campaigns that wowed many people are where quite successful.
i. Red Bull Stratos mission
This is an award-winning experiential campaign mission which was set to ‘transcend human limits’ where Felix Baumgartner, supported by a team of experts “ascended to 128,100 feet in a stratospheric balloon and made a freefall jump rushing toward earth at supersonic speeds before parachuting to the ground.” It happened Oct. 14, 2012.
One of the YouTube video, it currently has over 40million views despite there being many other videos on the same. IRI research firm showed that the sales for Red Bull went high by 7% in about 6 months’ time after the experiential campaign.
ii. The interactive exhibit called Stillness in Motion
This was a viral event created by Delta Air Line for its customers to experience what one feels when they are still. “Designed to enhance productivity at work, the installation pulsed with light and used calming sounds to lower participants’ heart rates. After the event was over, an incredible 95% of participants tweeted about the event to their followers” [marketingprofs.com]
iii. TNT ‘Ewing Energies’ in NYC
The TNT ‘Ewing Energies’ meant to promote Dallas season 3 that involved installing “first Ewing Energies flagship gas station in Manhattan” on the 10 avenues, 37th street in NYC [adage.com]. They set a price of $ 1.98 per gallon of gas beating all their competitors.
iv. Zappos in Huston Texas
Going on with some of the best experiential campaigns we have Zappos. This campaign happened in 2013 a day before Thanksgiving ceremony at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport where Zappos, an online retailer company converted one of the airport’s baggage carousel to a fortune wheel where they awarded customer’s with prizes on which their baggage landed
v. Nike Chalkbot
This was great experiential marketing campaign meant to promote Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong that saw an increase in sales by 46%. In the campaign, “Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., Deeplocal and Standard Robot in 2009 created a roving vehicle that imprinted messages of hope sent by tweeters along the route of the Tour de France” [adage.com].
vi. Other campaigns examples include
Besides the above, other very successful experiential marketing campaigns that created a huge impact on consumers include the following:
- Carrie: A Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise
- The Selfridges: “No Noise” in the UK
- Coca-Cola: “Open Happiness”
- 20th Century Fox: “The Simpsons Kwik-E Mart”
- Gatorade: “Replay” by Gatorade’s US advertising agency TBWAChiatDay Los Angeles
- Adidas “D Rose Jump Store experiential marketing London
- Game of Thrones: Blinkbox in London
- Air New Zealand – Men in Black Safety Defenders
- LYNX live in Pitch Black (Australian)
- Naked Wines Sydney Tasting in 2015
We did not list all the top campaigns. There are many other best experiential campaigns you know of which you could also tell us about. Again, we did not go much into case studies since they are available online for each of the campaigns you might be interested in.
Best agencies, companies, and firms
Instead of trying to set up your experiential campaigns, it is a good practice to let experience companies and agencies in experiential advertising campaigns to help you. Globally there are so many experiential agencies which will come to your aid. We will mention a few agencies in various locations that can help you give a good brand experience to your products and general tips on getting a good company.
A good experiential agency is what you need for success. While you are in New York City, you will find so many companies that can do a perfect job for you. Some of the best experiential marketing companies in NYC include:
- The Bait Shoppe
- Factory 360
- Veeder Creative Ventures
- Relevant Partners
- 4 EON Inc Experiential Event Marketing Agency
2. In London
London, being a big city in the UK, it has so many experiential agencies. A few of the many very good experiential agencies include the following:
- Hotcow Experiential Marketing & Product Sampling Agency
- BEcause – London
- Marketing Agency London- Blazinstar
- Sense Marketing Services Ltd
3. In Los Angeles including On Board
If you are looking for a good an agency in Los Angeles, there are a number of these companies including the famous On Board experiential marketing. Some of the few we can give you include:
- On Board
- Be Core experiential
- The Bait Shoppe
- Experiential marketing Chicago
4. Experiential marketing Chicago
In Chicago, some of the good experiential marketing agencies you can give a try for excellent and well design experiential campaigns include:
- Agency EA
- Experiential agency
- Chicago Experiential Marketing Agency
5. In Toronto 170 agencies
In Canada, there are many places you can go to in the various cities. For instance, some of the good Toronto experiential marketing agencies include:
- Black Chalk
- Fervent Events Inc.
- Free for All Marketing Inc.
6. In Africa
In Africa, agencies like Stretch are known to target Africa leading brands and helps these brands to a connection between consumers, communities, and employees. Others in Africa include EXP Agency and Matriarch Experiential Marketing companies.
In fact, in every African country, you won’t miss out on an experiential and event marketing agency. Just search online including the location.
How to get top agencies and companies
Besides the few agencies we have listed, there are many good agencies and companies that will do an incredible work. To get some of the best agencies use search engines like Google or Bing and then indicate your location i.e. experiential market agency + your location e.g. Atlanta, Sydney or San Francisco.
You can also check on various media forums, magazines, news sites, articles, journals, online blogs and websites who may have listed some of the top agencies for exponential and event marketing. Attending some of the experiential conferences will also be helpful.
From the list, you get, look at their work, client list, client rating, the kind of employees they have among other aspects before settling on a specific company. Also, look at your experiential needs and the specific companies meet them, request for quotes.
Here are some of the top 100 experiential marketing agencies for the year 2016 i.e. the 2016 It List Recognizing the Top 100 Event Agencies of the Year.
How to measure campaign
To measure the success of the various campaigns and techniques you have employed, you can look at a number of aspects that can capture data. Not just sales or social followers.
1. Number of potential consumers engaged
The first method is to look at the number of consumers participating directly in your experiential activities and events i.e. the number of people seeing, tasting, smelling or touching your products.
Onsite activations are some of the best ways to know the number of consumers who have been engaged.
2. Social media impression before and after the experience
The second way to measure the success of an experiential marketing campaign looking at the impact created by social media. This includes tweets, Facebook posts, and comments, webcasts, use of emails, blog post and news clippings of those who attended the event. There are some platforms and tools such as Sprout Social and Radian6 that can help measure not only the social reach but also the sentiment a brand has on social media platforms. There are also platforms where you can Buy Instagram followers in USA, Australia and Canada, like Buy More Fans or The Social Savior, although this is a bit controversial and many people are against it.
People will talk about their experiences on social media and since, “Ninety-two percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising” [nielson.com], expect more sales, awareness and so on.
3. Look at new users
Any successful brands need new users as well as bringing back former loyal users. By looking at the number of new users, you can get a glimpse of how successful your campaign was.
4. Look at sales figures
The main objective of any marketing strategy is to bring sales. We are not refuting the fact that social media awareness is important. In fact, they are closely connected.
Other aspects to consider include number of consumers who make follow-ups and the increase in confidence and trust of the brand.
Jobs and careers
Jobs in this area are equally rewarding like any other marketing jobs. In fact, they could even be more lucrative in terms of salary earned. It all depends on your experience and level i.e. experiential marketing manager cannot earn the same as an entry-level counterpart.
If you are a professional in this area, there are many jobs everywhere from London UK to New Delhi India to Melbourne Australia to NYC in America. Just check on some of the leading job advertising sites such as monster.com, glassdoor.com, indeed.com, LinkedIn, and try on sites such as On Board Experiential Marketing (OBEM) among others.
It is simple to get a job. Simply search for the specific job you want and enter your city or location, for instance, experiential marketing manager in Singapore, Boston, Denver, Vancouver, Dallas, Seattle, Miami, etc., on search engines.
Looking at trends and experiential marketing statistics, you expect this industry to experience increased budgets, permit costs, more companies embracing this strategy, more brand ambassadors becoming brand advocates, use of major sports events such as Olympics among other trends.
Book for further reference
If you are interested in good books that can expand your knowledge or for further research on the whole concept of experiential advertising and marketing concepts, try some of these books.
- Experiential Marketing: How to Get Customers to Sense, Feel, Think, Act, Relate Hardcover – August 16, 1999, by Bernd H. Schmitt (Author) 7
- Experiential Marketing: A Practical Guide To Interactive Brand Experiences(2009) By Shaz Smilansky
- Experience The Message: How Experiential Marketing Is Changing The Brand World (2006) By Max Lenderman
- Critical Thinking In Consumer Behavior: Cases And Experiential Exercises (2009) By Judy Graham
- Customer Experience Management: A Revolutionary Approach To Connecting With Your Customers (2003) By Bernd H. Schmitt