Brands are always adapting to new marketing trends and strategies to keep delivering for their current customers and to attract new customers to their services or products. And while conventional print, radio and television marketing still have a place in the annual marketing budget, there’s arguably no hotter trend these days than experiential marketing – especially as trade shows and in-person events are back on the calendar in a post-COVID world.
Experiential marketing has plenty of benefits – many of which we’ll touch on throughout this piece. But perhaps the biggest benefit of experiential marketing is that it can build customer trust and loyalty when it’s done right. According to data gathered by Learn Hub G2, 40 percent of customers state that experiential marketing increases their loyalty to the brand. And when you can build customer loyalty, there are a lot of trickle-down benefits that are likely to come as a result.
In this post, we’ll further discuss what experiential marketing is, how it can influence consumer trust, and other key benefits. Read on to learn more.
Experiential Marketing Explained
Simply put, experiential marketing is all about creating a brand experience for the customer or prospect. It’s also commonly known as “engagement marketing” or “event marketing,” the latter namely because it’s a marketing tactic that often takes place in person, such as at trade shows or conventions. The concept behind an experiential marketing campaign is simple: You want to engage the customer in an entertaining, yet meaningful way to create a bond that will inspire them to purchase your products or services.
Some common experiential marketing examples include pop-up stores, virtual and augmented reality, interactive trade show booths, event marketing, live or virtual product demonstrations, free sample campaigns, and social media campaigns, among others. Keep in mind that the sky is the limit when it comes to experiential marketing, simply because this marketing strategy allows brands to get creative in ways that they’re unable to with conventional marketing strategies.
Building Trust: A Key Benefit of Experiential Marketing
As we said earlier in this post, one of the biggest benefits of a successful experiential marketing campaign is that it can build trust and loyalty in ways that no other type of marketing can. Here are three ways it can succeed in building trust:
It’s More Authentic
Today’s customers don’t just want to purchase a service or product from a brand – they want to know more about the brand’s backstory, its values, and its value proposition. Traditional marketing can’t typically accomplish this, but experiential marketing can. One of the great things about experiential marketing is that it allows brands to engage more intimately with their customers, often one-on-one. This creates more meaningful and authentic experiences compared to conventional marketing, which involves one message in an attempt to reach masses of customers.
It Puts the Focus on the Customer
Experiential marketing is all about the customer and making any interaction a memorable one. It’s about ensuring that the customer is seen and felt, delivering a personalized experience that you can’t get from other types of marketing. Think of it this way: A good experiential campaign makes the customer feel like they’re part of the brand or part of the brand’s story and not just another fish in the sea. This can help establish a relationship with the consumer and, in turn, build greater brand loyalty. According to a study by Salesforce, nearly 90 percent of marketers cite the benefit of creating a personalized customer experience as a key motivator for their experiential marketing campaigns.
It Creates a Good Impression
You know what they say about the importance of a good impression, let alone a good first impression. Often, the best impressions of brands are those that are authentic and that make a real connection with the consumer. Experiential marketing enables consumers to connect with the brand beyond watching a TV commercial, listening to a radio ad, or reading a print ad in their local newspaper or magazine. Experiential marketing allows consumers to associate a name and face with a brand, ask questions connect in real-time, and build that emotional bond. Building such an impression can turn prospects into customers.
Other Benefits of Experiential Marketing
Aside from building consumer trust, there are various other key benefits associated with experiential marketing. Some of these benefits include:
- It can engage the senses in ways that traditional marketing techniques cannot.
- Marketers can flex their creativity in ways that conventional marketing techniques don’t permit. Think of augmented and virtual reality, two trending technologies that can help make any campaign more impactful, especially for younger generations of consumers.
- A good experiential campaign can create word-of-mouth advertising. According to some studies, nearly 65 percent of marketers believe word-of-mouth advertising is the most effective form of marketing.
- Experiential marketing can complement more conventional marketing techniques to create a well-rounded strategy.
- You can better measure experiential marketing. Conventional print and TV advertising tends to be tied more to brand awareness campaigns. But with experiential marketing, you can more directly measure the actions that consumers take to know whether your campaign hit the mark or not.
The last point also brings up another aspect of experiential marketing that’s worth noting – and that’s learning from various campaigns. A good marketer should measure and learn from their campaigns. The data that’s gathered helps them learn what worked, what didn’t and how to implement plans in the future.
How to Build a Successful Experiential Marketing Campaign
Building a successful experiential marketing campaign is easier said than done – and that’s why many brands opt to work with a qualified experiential marketing agency on any campaign. A good experiential marketing agency can offer the experience and expertise that many brands don’t have in-house, especially if they’re just beginning to explore experiential marketing strategies.
In addition to helping plan a campaign, an experiential marketing agency can also assist with execution and help crunch the data on any results. Even with an in-house marketing team, working with an external partner can go a long way to helping your brand develop more meaningful relationships with customers and prospects, all while building consumer trust and brand loyalty.