From guerilla marketing tactics to tapping into the world of influencers, it can be hard to stand out from your competitors today. Companies are having to find unique and out-there marketing strategies to get their brand names known. One popular method that’s picking up traction is experiential marketing. Because as a brand, instead of marketing to the consumer, why not let the consumer market you?
That’s what experiential marketing is all about. By engaging consumers in brand-sponsored events and experiences that allow them to participate hands-on, brands are involving customers in the actual growth of their business and building one-on-one relationships with them. As a result, through social media and other channels, customers share their experiences and spread the word about a brand they’ve positively interacted with.
One example is Google’s “Building a Better Bay Area.” After agreeing to donate millions of dollars to Bay Area nonprofits, Google let the public decide where the money would go by installing interactive posters around the cities where people could vote. They also ran a social media campaign with the hashtag #GoogleImpactChallenge for people not living in the area.
Of course, unlike Google, you probably don’t have millions of dollars to test out on an experiential marketing campaign. So, how do you know make sure those marketing dollars get put to good use and that your experiential marketing tactic will be a success? Take it from Adam McArthur, an actor, experiential marketing pro and the entrepreneur behind The Booth & Bus Co., an photo booth company that offers booth rentals inside redesigned vintage VW buses. McArthur’s company is focused on providing organizations and businesses an experiential marketing service to offer customers.
Not sure if experiential marketing is right for your brand? Learn some helpful tips from McArthur about experiential marketing.
Entrepreneur: How has experiential marketing helped your business?
McArthur: Experiential marketing has helped my business in many ways. It has allowed us to be more specific in our brand, which in turn lets our clients know what to expect and look forward to from us, which then perpetuates the booking and sales cycle. When you create a memorable experience for people that piques their interest in a genuine way, it does your marketing, selling, and branding for you. It has been incredibly essential for our success.
Entrepreneur: For those looking to get started, what sort of experiential marketing campaigns/case studies do you think are successful?
First and foremost, knowing who you are as a brand and your “why” is essential to figuring out what sort of experiential marketing campaigns would work best. I’ve always asked myself, “What would I like?” when I’m crafting experiences. My advice for someone starting out would be pay attention to what the trends are, what everyone else is doing, and then see how many steps further you can take it. Don’t copy others. Be original and create a complete experience. Everything from the way you talk to clients, to what they experience visually, to the feeling they walk away with. Every detail is important.
Entrepreneur: Experiential marketing has a lot to do with senses — what you feel, hear, touch. Why do you think businesses are using this approach?
We live in a time where we’re constantly being bombarded with info. There are a million different social-media platforms, email apps, texting apps, dating apps, news “trends” and on and on. It has become the norm, and we’re all a bit numb. Businesses are having to get a lot more savvy to create experiences for the consumer in order to grab their attention. Appealing to any combination of senses in the right way can really make or break an effective experiential marketing campaign.
Entrepreneur: For entrepreneurs looking to get into experiential marketing, what advice do you have?
Like I mentioned before, know who you are. What are you trying to accomplish? Do you want clients to post you on their social? Do you want people to remember their experience with you and tell all their friends? Be specific. Be on brand. If you’re running a business and you’re not the target demographic, go to them (your consumer) and learn everything about them. Ask questions. It’s not hard when you know everything there is to know about your audience and then you give them what they want.
Entrepreneur: What are some aspects they should consider?
Definitely consider the business/financial side of things when you’re creating your experience. I see a lot of business owners who can’t get out of their own way and let a bad idea die. Be smart and honest with yourself. Though this is contradictory to my previous statement, you can’t completely rely on the trends either. Thinking outside the box and being innovative with your ideas is the most effective way of setting yourself apart from competitors. You have to pay attention to the trends, but you still pave your own path. And definitely make sure your idea is still relevant. Nothing is worse than showing up late to a party.
Entrepreneur: After the experience, what recommendations do you have to keep the conversation/memory going with the consumer?
If you’ve done the work, it will speak for itself. For my company, people walk away with something they’ll put up on the fridge or hang at their desks at the office. But even more than that, the uniqueness and the attention to detail in the experience we’ve crafted is what people talk about. When they look at their photo, they remember the vintage feel of the bus and all the carefully chosen decor. They remember the feelings associated with taking that photo. If you can refine every last bit of your experience and make it as thought out and specific as possible, it will resonate with its audience and impact them in a way that’ll keep them talking.