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Experiential marketing is a marketing strategy that directly engages customers, actively encouraging them to interact and be involved with a brand or brand experience. It’s also known as: 

  • engagement marketing 
  • event marketing
  • on-ground marketing
  • participation marketing
  • loyalty marketing
  • live marketing
  • special events

If you've been in the digital marketing world for a while, you've likely heard about experiential marketing. But what is it exactly? What does experiential marketing look like when done well? When done poorly? How do you know experiential marketing is the way to go for your brand?

In recent years, experiential marketing has become increasingly popular due to its ability to create lasting impressions and engage effectively with customers. In this blog post, we'll discuss what experiential marketing entails and why it's becoming an essential element of digital strategies across industries.

Get your free experiential data strategy while you're here!

But before we go any further, here are a few other terms you might need to know to make the best choice for your experiential marketing strategy. 

What is a Brand Home?

Brand homes, sometimes referred to as brand houses, are experiential and interpretive venues designed to connect brands and consumers to build advocacy, foster community, and grow revenue. Brands that can benefit from a brand home include factories, distilleries, retail, and more.

What is digital experiential marketing?

Digital experiential marketing is online or virtual events that allow customers to interact and enjoy a brand’s curated experience. Digital experiences can be in the metaverse, VR, or even an online conference like Hubspot’s INBOUND. 

Event marketing

Event marketing is a marketing strategy that takes a brand and creates an experience in real life in new and exciting areas that complement the brand. For example, Red Bull made an entire ultimate sports event to promote its drink when trying to break further into the US market. 

The benefits of experiential marketing

Digital marketing as a method of reaching customers is becoming increasingly saturated with each passing day. 72% of overall marketing budgets are put towards digital marketing channels. 55% of marketing is digital. But that means there’s more competition for attention than ever, and digital marketing is starting to have less and less of an impact on sales. 

There’s a strategy that’s starting to overtake it: experiential marketing. 

Experiential marketing campaigns cut through the noise, bringing customers and brands together with the power of moments, becoming more valuable each year. When used well, experiential marketing can:

  • Increase a customer’s lifetime value
  • Offer a fuller picture of the customer

Increase a customer’s lifetime value

Marketing isn’t always about the quick win — it’s about the long game. When you develop an experiential marketing strategy, you increase a customer’s lifetime value. That means they spend more over time. 

For example, brand home Sierra Nevada found that using an experiential marketing strategy for their brewery tour could transform 93% of infrequent buyers into long-term customers who were more likely to buy their beer more often moving forward.

Sierra Nevada Brewery

Immersive and engaging content resonates with buyers who seek experiences. The brands that know how to elevate their offering are the ones who transform their sometimes-consumers into lifelong ambassadors. 

Diageo’s Johnnie Walker, the famed whiskey distillery, also created a fully immersive tasting experience and found that attendees were 40% more likely to buy their spirits in the future.

Offer a complete picture of the customer

The issue with digital marketing is that it stops at the screen. With new data privacy laws across the globe, it’s harder than ever to get clean data from your customers. One massive benefit of experiential marketing is getting clean and compliant first-party data from anyone who comes to your event.

With the right tools and questions, you can get a complete three-dimensional idea of who’s interacting with your brand, how often they’ve bought from you prior, and how their buying habits change post-event. And it’s not just us who thinks it: 88% of digital marketers are trying to make first-party data like that a priority.

How can you create an effective experiential marketing campaign for your brand?

It’s one thing to know what experiential marketing is and how it helps create a full marketing channel. But how do you create one that’s not only impactful but repeatable? 

Know what you need to achieve, measure, and how to get that measurement

Before you even think about budgets or huge fireworks-style events, focus on the goal of your experiential marketing. Rather than trying to measure by smiles, knowing exactly who you’re reaching and why you’re reaching them is vital to success.

A good experiential marketing strategy will measure key objectives for success such as:

  • An increase in attendee purchase behavior
  • Growth of a specific demographic as your buyer base
  • Increased sales of a specific brand
  • A higher NPS score

What’s an NPS?

A net promoter score (NPS) is a metric used to measure customer experience and loyalty and can be used to predict business growth. It’s calculated by asking your customers an initial survey question on a 1-10 scale; then, you get your accumulated rankings as one, from -100 to 100. The higher the score, the better your business is thought of. 

Understand how to format and ask for your experiential marketing budget

Experiential has been known to be the hardest to prove when it comes to getting money for marketing, mainly because it’s been hard to prove worth and measurement without the right tools in place. 

Making a case for your experiential marketing budget is all about knowing how to ask for what you need in a way that matters. 

Plan far enough ahead to make sure your ask isn’t last minute. Budgeting takes time, and you’ll want to ask with plenty of time in advance. Last minute means more money, so take your time and make sure that you’re far enough ahead of the event. 

If you’re stepping into a role that runs brand home events, like tours and tasting programs, when you scope your budget make sure it’s quarter by quarter vs. a one-time schedule. Scope for improvements and for marketing your current events.  

Finally, make sure you have a business case that reflects how each customer you bring in would add more value and revenue to the business. Figure out the ROI to make your budget stronger. 

ROI = Net income from each potential customer / cost of investment x 100

Use what you have and capitalize on customer touchpoints

It’s essential to remember that the most effective experiential marketing happens when brands figure out customer touchpoints that they can improve.

Where does your customer interact with your brand, and how can you turn that moment into an experience? 

For example, Nike launched NikeGO, an after-school and summer program to keep kids active. Since their brand has many different demographics they can activate, they decided that their experiential marketing would best work with keeping kids active with their sneakers. Not only does that match their brand, but they were also able to bring brand sentiment and boost the customer LTV of both parents and children. 

Experiential marketing is a worthy investment

Experiential marketing is quickly becoming one of the most popular channels to connect with customers due to its ability to create memorable experiences while also helping build positive brand recognition.

 If you're looking for a unique way to connect with your target market while also providing them with something fun and exciting at the same time, then experiential marketing may be the perfect solution! Make sure you plan to ensure success when running these types of campaigns.

Do you want to know more about building a bulletproof case for your experiential marketing investment? We answer all your questions about how to talk persuasively about your brand home. Watch below!

https://youtu.be/kY9pzpXWCcw

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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