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What is Experiential Marketing?

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

One of the most powerful experiences a brand can provide and one of the best ways to nurture long-term relationships with existing and potential customers is creating a unique memorable event using experiential marketing.

According to HubSpot, experiential marketing now ranks as one of the top five marketing strategies companies are currently leveraging to promote their brands and reach customers.

Experiences that offer games, photo opportunities, and interactive and heartfelt participation will leave a stronger lasting impression than typical conferences, trade shows or traditional marketing methods. These experiences leave you with more than what you came for: a long-lasting memory that creates a true connection with a brand.

By integrating experiential marketing into your marketing strategy, your brand can create these long-lasting memories. You can craft these types of experiences for your customers with some thoughtful planning and creativity, whether they’re in-person, hybrid, or virtual.

So what exactly is experiential marketing?

Experiential marketing is a marketing strategy that creates a unique experience for your customers through live interaction. Rather than using traditional marketing tactics such as print advertising, broadcasting or trade shows, you’re inviting your audience to participate with your brand. Experiential marketing is built around a long-term strategy designed to engage your customers through interactive branded experiences.

At a glance, experiential marketing can include but is not limited to:

  • Events, festivals and award ceremonies

  • Activities and kiosks at trade shows

  • Pop-up shops and retreats

  • Samplings and demos

  • Virtual and augmented reality experiences

  • Charity events and opportunities for social good

Ultimately, the goal is to create a relationship with your customers so they continue to engage with your brand. Some experiential strategies involve live events, while others include one-off installations that last for a short period of time. Whatever the format may be, experiential marketing has proven to boost ROI and is a crucial strategy for marketing executives today.

“It is important that we prioritize experiences as a way to foster the human need for connection, curiosity and culture.” - Brett Hyman, President and founder of NVE Experience Agency

What does experiential marketing look like?

Creative agencies are redefining what's possible in experiential marketing through engaging activations, pop-ups, and over-the-top stunts for big brands.

Some great examples use bold colours and smart ideas to transform public spaces into areas of excitement, discovery and storytelling.

To celebrate the release of Coldplay’s 2021 album Music of the Spheres, the band teamed up with Amazon Music for a traveling activation called “The Atmospheres,” an audiovisual experience for fans in New York, Tokyo, Berlin and London (pictured). These custom-built installations produced by BMF Media Group enabled fans to be transported to The Spheres, intended to be a distant solar system that played host to the band’s latest album, where each of the twelve tracks was twinned with a different planet. This use of experiential marketing allowed fans to create their own alien language messages and snap selfies in an augmented-reality photo booth.

In 2019, Tinder put up a 30-foot “Pride Slide” at Pride events in New York City, with “Slide Into Your Senators” written down the side. The length of the slide represents the 30 states that didn’t have anti-discriminatory laws protecting the LGBTQ+ community. Tinder donated $10 toward passing the Equality Act for each person that rode the slide.

JetBlue developed a clever way of promoting their new direct flights from New York to Palm Springs with a six-foot ice cube filled with a number of summer accessories, all up for grabs. Using whatever tools people had on themselves at the time, the goal was to chip away at the ice to claim their prize. Prizes included summer accessories such as golf clubs, beach clothing and free tickets to Palm Springs. A full social media campaign was executed in tandem with the experiential strategy and the result was powerful online buzz for JetBlue. This brand activation was a partnership between Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau with the aim of bringing more tourism to the beautiful California city.

How to get started

Some companies do experiential marketing in-house, while others outsource to an agency. But no matter the approach, experiential marketing is producing exceptional results and is here to stay.

Key success points to developing an experiential marketing strategy are:

  • Understand your target audience

  • Communicate a clear and concise message

  • Create a campaign that provides value, educates, and brings something beneficial to your audience

  • Leverage augmented and virtual reality

  • Promote your campaign across multiple channels

  • Track campaign metrics to ensure repeat success

At VEE Agency, we are experience creators. If you’d like to learn more about experiential marketing and how to bring these projects to life, come say hello! Our team is here to guide you and brainstorm your next experience. We create brand experiences that are fresh, unique, and smart.

Browse our work to see what we do best!

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