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Experiential Marketing – Tips To Up Your Game In 2023

Good marketing goes beyond selling a product or service. It is about building an experience. An experience that impresses the right audience, excites them and inspires them to choose the brand over and over. Therefore, experiential marketing is something that every brand big and small should take seriously. 

Wondering how to start and where? Don’t worry. We’ve got all the ideas to help you lay the cornerstone for experiential marketing. And that will be a good way to give your 2023 marketing plan a boost. 

Getting to the basics – what is experiential marketing? 

The name probably gave it away. Experiential marketing is about making an impression through experiences. Because we might forget material things but emotions are hard to forget. So, if a brand manages to create a personalized experience-focused campaign, it leaves a lasting impression. 

One main difference between experiential marketing and traditional ads is that the former aims at stimulating all of your senses. A digital ad visually stimulates you. Videos use audio and visual stimulation. Experiences go beyond that. And that’s exactly why brands need them. 

Advertisements in the form of social media and web ads, TV commercials and flyers or billboards are all good. They grab attention but they are inert in one way or another. There is always the likelihood of customers just scrolling or walking past them without even taking a good look. Experiential marketing fills these gaps. It reels the audience in. It gives your target customers convincing reasons to react and respond on the spot. That’s one of the reasons why experiential marketing matters. It takes care of both instant gratification and a lasting impact both of which help a brand sell immediately and grow in the long run. 

Is experiential marketing worth your time? 

To answer this question, we’ll tell you the story of how a brand revamped its marketing. Mind you this incident is more than a century old. 

At the World’s Columbian Exposition, also known as the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, there were many small businesses that had booths to showcase their products and concepts. This fair turned out to be the debut stage for many new brands and ideas. 

Among them was a pickle-maker. And this business only had its booth on the second floor of the venue with not much foot traffic. To draw customers in, the business handed out souvenirs called pickle pins. The idea was a hit and consumers started flooding the booth. So much so that all the booths on the second floor made huge profits. If you haven’t guessed the brand name by now, it’s Heinz and these souvenirs were the very famous Heinz pickle pins. 

Heinz Pickle Pins

Well, what you just read now is a classic example of experiential marketing. It worked for Heinz more than a century ago, and it works now. Now that you have the internet to make communication with your customers so much simpler, experiential marketing is totally worth your time. In fact, it is one of the best investments you can make for your business. 

Long answer short – experiential marketing works for most brands. And now for the long answer. 

The perks of spending on experiential marketing 

Experiential marketing does more than just promote a business. It helps build lasting connections with customers. 

  • 75% of consumers attending marketing conventions report that an in-person event makes them feel more connected to a brand. So, well-planned events that create relevant value for customers can transform buyers into brand advocates. 
  • Events and experiences are among the top 3 most effective advertising strategies that help consumers understand products better. In other words, besides attracting new leads, experiential marketing also helps nurture leads at different stages of their purchase journey by helping them understand the product or service better. 
  • According to Event Track 2021, a report on experiential and event marketing, 91% of consumers would be more willing to buy from a brand after participating in an event. In other words, experiential marketing will act as a push for those people who were already exposed to your brand but are hesitant to make a purchase. 

Brand discovery, brand awareness, brand loyalty, a boost in sales – experiential marketing brings in a host of such benefits. Enough reasons for you to start working on your brand’s experiential marketing strategy today. But how exactly do you do that? Where can you start? We’ll give you a few examples of experiential and event-based campaigns from big brands to inspire you. 

Experiential marketing – how big brands do it

We’ll talk about some hit campaigns that delivered memorable experiences to customers – both old and new ones. You should also know that even live virtual events and experiences count. With live streaming being free in many places, even businesses running on a tight budget can give experiential marketing a go. Let’s talk about those examples now. 

Coca-Cola 

We are starting the list with a brand that’s a trendsetter in the world of experiential marketing. What better example than the World of Coca-Cola? An entire museum dedicated to the history of the brand! With experiences like these even skeptics will fall in love with the brand and start respecting it a little more. 

From beverage sampling booths to galleries, this museum takes experiential marketing to a whole new level. 

World of Coca-Cola Atlanta

There are many other instances where the brand won hearts like its friendship machine installations that had tall vending machines where friends had to give each other a boost to reach the money slot. 

Another notable one is the “Small World Machines” campaign. Vending machines were placed in India and Pakistan letting people befriend someone and interact with them across borders. Heartwarming campaigns like these stay in people’s minds forever. They also show what your brand stands for. 

Not all brands have a budget to set up a museum to talk about the brand story. Your social media pages and website can make up for that. You can always talk about your brand’s origin story on your Instagram Stories and leave the post in the Highlights for visiting customers to know about your brand before they interact. 

M&M 

One of the notable experiential campaigns from M&M is the Flavor Vote campaign where users could walk in to taste different flavors and vote for their favorites. And there were Instagrammable props set up in themed rooms dedicated to each flavor. Customers could cast their votes by posting a selfie in their favorite room. 

Experiences like these can make even adults feel like children all over again. The excitement these experiences create is the key to conversions. 

M&M’s flavor-hunting tactics have a long history. Like the time when the brand took augmented reality to a whole new level with its ARcade in Times Square. With this campaign, the brand let users download the app and scan the brand’s billboards to play arcade games. 

And since the brand did not want anyone to miss out on the fun it also added QR codes for these games on the packs of Caramel candy. Gamified content, creative use of outdoor advertising, stepping into the world of AR, partnership with tech giants like Blippar (for AR) – M&M tapped into several marketing tactics with this one campaign. With ideas like these, customers don’t just become aware of your brand but also fall in love with it. And that’s rare to come by. 

Adidas 

The “Billie Jean King Your Shoes” campaign from Adidas is an exemplary experiential marketing campaign. For the brilliance of the concept and the response it received, the campaign won the 2019 Clio Gold Award. And this campaign led to a 20% increase in tennis sales. 

Source 

The above campaign was a celebration of women in tennis, about the tennis legend Billie Jean King. When tennis was still a male-dominated space, Billie Jean King made a historic win in a game against Bobby Riggs, in 1973. She wore a pair of blue Adidas sneakers in that game. So, during the 2018 US Open Tennis, Adidas allowed fans to walk into the booth and get their sneakers customized to mimic the iconic blue sneakers that Billie Jean King wore. 

The campaign was a huge hit and several top models in sneakers from brands like Nike were customized that day. The event was soon the talk of the town. 

This campaign was all about celebrating the player instead of the brand itself. By capturing the spirit of the game, the brand managed to connect with tennis fans. Campaigns like these are great for building a strong brand image

These were all large-scale campaigns from big brands. But not all brands can afford such massive measures. In such cases, a creative idea executed in a simple marketing fair, a boot that encourages the participation of the audience and live events that help the brand gain traction on social media are all great alternatives. And if you are wondering how to execute these ideas, here are some tips. 

Tips to make the most of experiential marketing 

Kimp Tip 1: Prepare for the hybrid experience expectations 

Offline experiences are the real deal. But the world of virtual events has opened up new possibilities. This way you can connect with customers across the globe. You do not have to worry about a drop in participation because of venue constraints. In fact, 60% of marketing professionals find it important to reach non-physical attendees in order to make the event a success. So, one of the first things to keep in mind while planning your events and campaigns for experiential marketing is to adopt a hybrid approach. 

The Flavor Vote campaign from M&M is the perfect example of hybrid experiences. This way you cater to the expectations of customers who prefer in-store experiences as well as those who prefer virtual events to avoid the crowd. 

For such campaigns, your promotional graphics span different channels. You can have packaging designs customized to promote the campaign, as M&M did. And this works if your campaign will be running at least for a few weeks. Because it does not make sense to change the packaging of a batch of products just for a one-day event. 

Other kinds of marketing designs that come in handy would be brochures that contain event-specific information, entry passes, discount codes, QR codes, and other useful details. 

On the digital marketing front, you will need social media ads running on different platforms like Instagram, and Facebook, both on regular Feeds and Stories. You can also add video ads through YouTube advertising to reach your target audience. 

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Social media design by Kimp 

When you have a comprehensive design service like the Kimp Graphics + Video subscription, you can have all these designs for your experience campaign created in one place. Visual consistency, on-point designs – you have them all. 

Kimp Tip 2: Set new trends with NFTs 

Brands in various industries like sports, luxury goods, and more are venturing into the world of NFTs. NFTs are used as digital tokens to provide customers with access to exclusive privileges. Some of them include virtual experiences and community events. This is a great idea because it not only shows your brand’s creative side but also helps you generate additional revenue and recognition through NFTs. 

NFTs also open up a channel to drive continuous engagement with your customers. Brands do this through NFT airdrops for customers who sign up for the loyalty program for example. This way you are rewarding customers who stick with your brand for a long time. 

And if you ever need help creating custom characters or other styles for your branded NFTs, get in touch with the Kimp team. 

Kimp Tip 3: Design for social media 

Consumers these days are social media fanatics. And they use their social media pages to tell stories. About places they visit, products they purchase, events they attend, experiences in general. So, ensure that your event, offline or online, strikes the right chord with the social media-loving generation. 

Two things can get you there. You need to be aware of what’s trending on social media. This could be visual styles, colors, or topics. And these should be ideas trending with not just any people but your target demographics. Platforms like TikTok where trends are born will be your best source of information. In general, a strong social listening strategy is what you need. 

The second thing will be creating campaign designs that are share-worthy. In other words, your venue decoration, the styling of your banner, the concept, on the whole, should be such that your target audience will be motivated to share it on social media. Take the Adidas campaign for example. Customers who got their sneakers customized at the booths happily shared pictures of the Billie Jean King version of their sneakers on social media. 

Shoutouts from your existing customers are the best ads for your brands. 

Want to prep your social media aesthetic to match the promotional graphics? A Kimp subscription can help. Because you get unlimited designs across various categories. 

Kimp Tip 4: Explore all your options 

When we talk about experiential marketing, most brands instantly think of events – live and virtual. Conferences, webinars, workshops, and other events help. But they are not your only options. 

If you want to tap into the potential of outdoor advertising for memorable experiences, you can go with art installations or interactive billboards. Reebok’s Speed Cam campaign is a good example. In Stockholm, the brand installed an interactive billboard with a speed-monitoring camera. Users who ran faster than 10.56 miles per hour got a free pair of Reebok ZPumps. All it took was a billboard and the right placement. So you see, you do not need a huge budget to try your hands at experiential marketing. 

The other kinds of events that provide valuable experiences to customers are live shopping events where customers can view the products live and shop them online with exclusive discount codes displayed during the event. 

Or you can also create an app or a game as M&M did with its ARcade campaign. This can also be your chance to step into the world of AR and VR and show customers how tech-savvy you are. 

Bring your experiential marketing ideas to life with Kimp 

From print banners for your pop-ups to digital and print ads to drive the process before the event, there are lots of promotional graphics involved in experiential marketing. From building anticipation to delivering essential information about the event and finally building your brand identity at the venue, your designs influence the effectiveness of your campaign. So, to ensure that you have on-brand graphics to carry your event forward, a Kimp subscription can help. 

Sign up for a free trial now and find out how it works.