Experiential marketing

Experiential marketing is a cross-media promotional activity which encourages two way interaction and direct physical immersion into a brand. Experiential marketing is a relatively young marketing discipline, but is growing rapidly because it ticks a lot of the right boxes. Compared to mass media campaigns, experiential events tend to communicate on a much more personal level, generate a deeper level of emotional engagement, result in better conversion rates, and all at relatively low cost. Experiential marketing activities can range from high profile invite only events to tasters at a local farmer’s market.

Why should you chose to use experiential marketing?

“TV advertising will be only a third as effective as it was in 1990 due to increasing advertising costs and dramatic reduction in viewing figures.”
McKinsey and Co.

The fragmentation and saturation of conventional media channels has led to the reduced effectiveness of traditional promotional methods. Consumers are becoming immune to advertising by fast forwarding through TV adverts using their hard disc recorders, blocking or ignoring internet banner advertising, and failing to hear the constant bombardment of marketing messages they encounter throughout their daily lives. Experiential marketing by its very nature is a a dialogue that consumers cannot ignore, not because they’re being forced into it, but because it engages with them on a personal level.

What can experiential marketing be used for?

A 2009 survey[1] revealed that the majority of marketers believed “experiential marketing builds customer relationships for the long term”. They also agreed that it generates sales and leads in the short term, increases awareness of the product, drives word of mouth and can align internal audiences with business goals. Experiential marketing can be used successfully to:

  • Build relationships
  • Raise awareness
  • Increase loyalty
  • Establish relevance
  • Encourage interaction and product trial
  • Create memories
  • Stimulate positive word of mouth
  • Change the mind of dissatisfied customers
  • Create product desire
  • Verify the target audience
  • Increase return on marketing investment

Experiential marketing generally cannot be used to…

  • Generate brand awareness on a large scale
  • Communicate with people who prefer less intrusive marketing messages

When experiential marketing events work best?

  • When people are susceptible i.e. at an exhibition or other event
  • When they are appealing, engaging and personal
  • When the event staff are well briefed
  • When it is part of an integrated marketing campaign
  • When the right customer groups are accurately targeted
  • When the product is good and easily demonstrated

Establish objectives and goals

Experiential marketing can be used to satisfy many marketing requirements, but the best campaigns have more tightly defined goals.

  • Which customers do you want to target?
  • What is the best method of interacting with these customers?
  • What is the best location and environment?
  • Is event marketing the best medium for promotion?
  • How will the events integrate into other marketing programmes?

Measurement of success

No promotional activity should be put into place without some evaluation and reporting of success. Experiential marketing results can be measured in many ways which depend on the objectives of the activity.

  • Number of A grade impressions
  • Quality of impressions
  • Quality of data captured
  • Number of leads opting in to follow up
  • Integration into current marketing programmes
  • Number of relevant consumers
  • Number of resulting sales or purchase intent
  • Increase in trust and confidence in a brand

Final words

Experiential marketing is a powerful marketing tool which should be considered as part of any integrated marketing campaign. Ensure your events are well run, well targeted and integrated with other marketing campaigns for best results. Do it well and you’ll create brand advocates who they will further spread your brand messages through word of mouth advertising, and become a loyal customer for life.


[1] Jack Morton “2009 Marketer’s survey”