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August 14, 2023

3 Experiential Marketing Strategies and Best Practices for Engaging Your Audience

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So you want to make experiential marketing part of your brand growth strategy. It’s no wonder; experiential marketing is a powerful strategy for boosting consumer loyalty. 

Experiences can create an emotional bond that improves a customer’s lifetime value anywhere between 20% to 50% after attending.

But there are a few different ways to create a full experience strategy. We’ll review each plan, what's needed to execute, and how you can make them happen

How to Plan a Field Activation 

Meet your customers where they’re at with field activations! You can grab their attention, build a positive brand image, and, most importantly, convert them into loyal customers. 

Field activations, sometimes called brand activations, are when you engage your customers in person, in a location, or at an event they’re already attending. With field activations, you create an experience for your consumers outside your brand home, store, or headquarters (“in the field”). That can be sampling a product at a music festival or grocery store or allowing consumers to create a custom version of your product at their local park. 

But creating and executing a field activation campaign is a challenging feat. It requires careful planning, execution, and patience to get the desired result.

Define Your Goals and Target Audience

You need to define your objectives clearly and understand your target audience's demographics and behaviors. 

Clarity about your goals and target audience will help you design a campaign that resonates with them and increases the ROI of your marketing dollar.

This strategy is a burst of brand awareness that’s quick, memorable, and good for simple measurements like:

  • Feedback
  • “Product” in “Person” (JustEgg’s 'eggs in mouths', Red Bull’s ‘cans in hands’)
  • Customer Acquisition Cost
A flywheel of how field marketing works

Determine the Type of Activation Campaign

Once you have identified your goals and target audience, it's time to start brainstorming the activation campaign you want to create. 

Your activation should align with your overarching marketing strategy and goals. For instance, if you’re offering a new product in an already crowded market, you may want to design a sampling campaign, which allows your target audience to experience your brand and its products first-hand. 

On the other hand, if your goal is to launch a new product, you can create an event that showcases your product's features, benefits and uses. 

Some other types of activation campaigns are:

  • Street teams 
  • Experiential installations
  • Flash mobs
  • Product demos
  • Event stalls/booths

Create a Budget and Choose Activation Elements

Your field activation budget should include everything from choosing the event location, hiring staff, creating signage, and props design, to product giveaways. 

You should allocate the budget to every aspect of your campaign to get the maximum ROI. After creating a budget, it's time to decide on the activation elements. 

Activation elements can include:

  • Props
  • Signage
  • Products for sampling
  • Incentives (swag, giveaways, etc.) for consumers
  • Devices like iPads or other tools to help collect data on-site
  • Software and technology to run your event

Find the Appropriate Activation Venue

The venue you choose for your field activation should be accessible to your target market and a place they go to regularly. 

Cost is going to be a factor here, especially if you’re renting table space or if there’s a paid barrier of entry such as: 

  • Space
  • Permits
  • Additional rental costs like electricity or furniture

How to Plan a Pop-Up 

For a good reason, pop-up experiences and stores have been a trend in the retail industry for several years. They provide a unique experience from shopping to walk-throughs and create a sense of urgency that pushes customers to attend since the location’s only there temporarily.

Define Your Goals and Objectives

What’s the goal of your pop-up? They’re a significant investment, so knowing your goals and objectives is vital for a good return on investment, more than most field marketing types.

Some goals and objectives that are a good fit for pop-ups are:

  • Introduce a new product or service
  • Test the market and get feedback
  • Clear out old inventory

Identify Your Target Market 

Who would be interested in the products or services you offer in the pop-up store? Conducting market research will help you identify the demographics, interests, and purchasing power of your potential customers.

Some vital questions to ask to determine your target market include:

ATV formula

Find the Right Location

Location is one of the most critical factors that can make or break your pop-up store. You’re not just trying to find a nice-looking building: you’re paying rent on space, so you need to consider it like finding a store location. 

Look for areas with:

  • High foot traffic
  • A trendy vibe
  • Easy access to transportation

Consider collaborating with other retailers or partnering with local events that can help you secure the perfect location.

Create an Engaging and Personalized Experience 

Creating a unique and memorable experience can differentiate your pop-up store from traditional retail. Don’t be happy with another temporary store: treat this like an experience in and of itself. 

Incorporate interactive elements such as:

  • Photo booths
  • Games
  • Giveaways
  • Live demonstrations
  • Personalized design and layout
Pop-Ups and Activations at the Sea Otter Classic!

How to Plan Brand Sponsorships 

Nowadays, sponsoring events has become vital to many companies’ marketing strategies. The reason for this is simple: people love events and show up in droves to be a part of them. 

From small community events to massive festivals, sponsorships can significantly boost your brand's awareness by putting you in the middle of the action.

Choose Events That Align With Your Brand's Values

When choosing which events to sponsor, it's always best to pick events that align with your brand's values. For example, do you support causes on a local level? 

Sponsorships show you're interested in giving back to the community and building meaningful customer relationships. Additionally, sponsoring the right events increases your brand's visibility and helps you reach your target audience.

Events to consider sponsoring:

  • Local youth clubs and teams
  • Festivals (Food, Music, etc.)
  • Nonprofit organization events
  • Young documentary filmmakers
  • Races and Sporting Competitions
  • Industry trade shows or conferences

Know Your Target Audience

Knowing your target audience is essential for sponsoring events. For instance, if your audience is eco-friendly and cares about the environment, consider supporting events focusing on environmentalism, like a conference or nonprofit. 

Deloitte surveyed Gen Z in their recent buyer survey and found that overwhelmingly, 94% expect companies to take a stand on important social issues as part of their brand identity, and 90% say they are more willing to purchase products they deem beneficial to society.

Causes that are popular among consumers are:

You’ll be able to connect with people who already show interest in the things that your brand values. It's an excellent way to build a loyal customer base that goes beyond just purchasing your products or services.

Offer Something Valuable to Attendees

Another way your brand can make an impact while sponsoring events is by offering attendees something memorable that engages the senses for free. Offering something valuable will help attendees remember your brand long after the event. For example, if you're sponsoring a food festival, consider offering free samples of your products. 

Other great value-adds include:

  • Discounts
  • Special offers
  • Competitions/games
  • Limited edition swag

Don't Just Sponsor For the Sake of It

The best approach is to refrain from sponsoring events just for the sake of it. Ensure the events align with your brand's overall strategy and you have precise goals. 

Track your return on investment (ROI) to see which events impact you most. It helps you make an informed decision the next time you're looking to sponsor an event. 

Build Long-Term Relationships

Building a long-term relationship with events solidifies your company's presence and establishes your brand as a trusted community partner. Additionally, building long-term relationships pairs your name with theirs, making it hard not to mention the event without thinking of your brand. 

For example, The North Face sponsors local events and communities with their Explorer Fund, which aims to bring outdoor sports and activities to traditionally underserved communities. The Fund has $7 million that they can allocate to different areas, and each makes a difference for those involved. 

By working with local communities, it’s not only DEI. They’re creating an experience with nonprofits and more that those involved will always associate with their brand.

Consider working closely with the event organizers to identify ways your brand can contribute to future events, creating mutually-beneficial partnerships.

Experiential Marketing Strategies are a Natural Progression

Marketing began with heralds and town criers before the printing press, shouting news through their towns and villages. When print emerged, ads became a new strategy for businesses to tell people who they were and what they were selling. 

Digital marketing changed everything. Now, the company wasn’t just telling you why their product was good — it was your cousin, best friend, and even a co-worker. You get first-hand accounts of brands from a trusted source. 

Experiential marketing takes this one step further. Now, instead of a cousin telling you how great Chef Boyardee’s soup is, you can make the soup yourself with the brand. At its finest, this emotional connection creates memories with brands that weave them into our everyday lives. 

Step 1: Evaluate Your Scheduling Software Needs

Before researching online booking systems, evaluating your business needs is essential. After all, you don’t want to overspend on bells and whistles when you only need an online form. For newer events looking to scale, a more sophisticated system might be the goal but not the starting point.

Consider the type and size of your business, the nature of your services, and the volume of transactions you handle. For instance, if you run tours and tastings, you should look at solutions meant for high-volume enterprises that can include add-on shirts, beer steins, and more.

Scheduling Software Flowchart

We made a helpful flowchart to help you decide if you’re ready to invest fully in online bookings or look into a free scheduling app, like Google Forms, as a better starting point.

As someone trying to make smart investment decisions, you don’t want to buy a booking and ticketing solution that doesn’t meet your needs. Use our guided questions to determine where you are in your investment journey.

Booking System flowchart
Use the flow to gauge where you are on your journey!

2. Compare Booking Page Features and Pricing

Booking Page Features

Once you have a clear idea of your business needs, you can compare online booking systems that meet your criteria. Have a list of your most essential needs and what would be nice for you to have. Some features you should consider including on your list include:

  • Website integration
  • Branded booking page
  • Configurability to match your brand
  • Payment processing and add-on sales
  • Automated reminders
  • Automatic data analysis
  • Feedback collection and analysis
  1. Website integration
  2. Branded booking page
  3. Configurability to match your brand
  4. Payment processing and add-on sales
  5. Automated reminders
  6. Automatic data analysis
  7. Feedback collection and analysis






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