In recent years, it seems customers are seeking out experiences more than ever before. But in a world where exciting digital and real-world experiences are more accessible than ever, it can be hard to stand out without deliberate effort. The brands who can facilitate outstanding customer experiences will be the ones that will differentiate themselves. And it’s not a secret to executives, as 68% of marketing leaders claim their company is increasingly competing on the basis of customer experience. As consumers become more set on experiences, many brands are turning to something called experiential marketing to facilitate those experiences.

But just what is experiential marketing, and how do you do it? In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at what it is, uncover some of its advantages, and talk about what to consider if you’re planning on doing your own experiential marketing. The time to create memorable experiences around your brand is now, so let’s get started.

 
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Also called engagement marketing, experiential marketing is a marketing strategy that immerses customers within a product or deeply engages them. In short, experiential marketing enables consumers to not just buy products or services from a brand, but to actually experience the brand. Emotional connections between the brand and the consumer are created through memorable and unique experiences. Experiential marketing not only involves customer engagement, but also often improves it in the process.

There are several, but here are just a few benefits of experiential marketing:

  1. Personalized engagement

  2. Stronger connection between product and emotion

  3. Creation of a positive touchpoint

  4. Social shareability

1. Personalized engagement

Customers want to feel a real human connection with your brand. In fact 84% of customers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business. There’s perhaps no better way to treat your customers like people than to immerse them in an exhilarating human experience. Let them see firsthand how your brand elevates them.

2. Stronger connection between product and emotion

People want to know what your product does. More importantly, though, the driving force behind why they choose you over your competitor may come down to how your product makes them feel. Your experiential marketing should amplify the feelings that come when they use your product. This is important to them, as customers are 3.7 times more likely to view seamless transitions between channels as important versus unimportant. Strong positive emotions endear customers to brands. Make sure the experience you provide creates a strong positive emotional responses.

3. Creation of a positive touchpoint

The more positive touchpoints you can have with your customers, the better. And the more connected those touchpoints, the more powerful and compelling they become. A cohesive experience is key to winning customer loyalty. In fact, 70% of customers say connected processes are very important to winning their business.

4. Social shareability

Experiences are compelling and powerful, and it seems people love capturing interesting experiences through video, and then sharing them on social networks. In fact, it’s projected that video traffic will make up 82% of IP traffic by 2022. You may find social media is there to spread the word for you, so long as you have an experience worth sharing. Positioning your brand as the creator of a positive experience is a win when it comes to spreading your brand vision and gaining recognition.

 
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Getting it right when it comes to experiential marketing is easier said than done. Special care should be taken to ensure that experiences are authentic and relevant to your brand. There are a number of steps to take to put on your own experiential marketing event or campaign. Here are some considerations.

  1. Observe and gather inspiration

  2. Get to know your customers

  3. Know your goal

  4. Determine the value you’ll provide

  5. Engage as many senses as possible

  6. Go to your audience

  7. Create a unique experience where the spirit of your brand shines

  8. Measure, analyze, and improve

1. Observe and gather inspiration

What are other brands doing to foster incredible experiences? In order to create a memorable experience when it comes to experiential marketing, it helps to be observant and understand which current brand experiences are resonating with consumers. Can you remember any particularly insightful experiential campaigns? Keep your eyes open when you’re out in the world. Try to remember a time where you were blown away by something a brand did. Take to social media or check your camera roll.

2. Get to know your customers

What do your customers love most about your brand? What emotions do they associate with you? What products or features do they most enjoy? These are all insights that will help you share the essence of your brand and the emotion behind it. Learn through reviews, social media, and short surveys. Knowing your customers and what they love about you will help you determine how to attract new like-minded ones through emotions and experiences.

3. Know your goal

Why are you carrying out an experiential marketing event? What tangible results do you hope to accomplish? How will you know you’re successful? You’re likely looking to create positive brand sentiment that leads to new customer acquisition and loyalty.

What immediate action do you want people to take as a result of the experience they have with your brand? Do you want them to share a video of their experience on social media? Would you like them to get a free trial of your software or purchase your product? Or do you want them to sign up for emails so you can nurture them and keep them connected with your brand?

Be sure you know what you want to get out of the event and make it clear to participants. Chances are good they’ll be willing to interact with or promote your brand if you provide them with an exceptional and unique experience.

4. Determine the value you’ll provide

What type of value will you give those who are involved in your experiential marketing? Will it be an unforgettable photo or video? Or will it be an amazing experience? Will you give away some of your product? What emotions do you want people to feel? Aim to provide value in as many ways as possible to create memorable experiences worth sharing.

5. Engage as many senses as possible

What do you want people to see, touch, and hear when it comes to your brand experience? What colors will you use? Will you incorporate music? How will you give people a hands-on experience with your brand? Immerse them in a sensory experience that engages more than one of their senses and it’ll likely have more impact.

6. Go to your audience

Your event should take place in a location where your audience already is regularly. If possible, a place in their natural world. Trade shows are great and they provide an easy opportunity to connect and engage, but unexpected experiences in the real world might be even more impactful.

7. Create a unique experience where the spirit of your brand shines

To craft a good experience, you’ll want to take considerable time to really determine what sets your brand apart and how you want it to make people feel and act. A truly impactful experiential marketing event will help others remember your brand and become part of your powerful mission.  

8. Measure, analyze, and improve

In order to determine how successful your experiential marketing efforts are, you need to have a way to measure effectiveness. Often, social media is a great place to uncover just how far reaching and impactful your experience was. Create some kind of platform where people can easily interact with the experience. Maybe it’s a hashtag, a web page or some other online channel where you can easily measure impact. When you look at the data, you’ll learn a lot about what consumers resonate with and you’ll be able to further delight them in the future and continually deliver incredible experiences.

Experiential marketing is a terrific way to engage current and potential customers and connect with them emotionally. On top of your experiential marketing events, utilize online channels to amplify real world experiences and always aim to deliver amazing experiences across multiple touchpoints. Be clear in your objectives,continually strive to understand your customer, and measure results. If you focus on experiences, you may grow to become a brand that does much more than just sell products. You’ll be a brand that fosters connection, sparks emotion, and creates and retains loyal customers.

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