The Five Pillars of Experiential Marketing
The Experiential Marketing Summit is an annual conference that brings together leaders in the marketing world. At last year’s event, the Vice President of Experience Marketing at Adobe, Alex Amado, spoke about what he considers to be the five pillars of experiential marketing. Adobe is one brand that has embraced experiential marketing from the very beginning, so all eyes in the room were on him during this keynote address. Here’s a look at the five pillars of experiential marketing that make every event a success:
The design of an experiential marketing event should be of the utmost importance to every brand. This doesn’t mean that the design of the event should just be visually appealing, but also that it should convey a strong message about your brand. Guests should immediately know who the brand is and what they stand for when they walk into an event.
The event should also be designed in a way that makes the experience easy to understand. For example, when GE wanted to host an event to show industry professionals how they were providing global healthcare solutions to impoverished countries around the world, they relied heavily on the event’s design. The company set up several “movie sets” designed to look like various parts of the world that they had helped, including rural African villages and emergency rooms. Then, doctors stood in front of each set to explain to guests how GE’s initiative was impacting these areas. During this event, the design was used to make an impact on guests and clearly illustrate the difference that GE was making around the world.
An experiential marketing event should also embrace the community of the brand’s potential and existing customers. One brand that seamlessly incorporated their community into their experiential marketing event was Google.
Google announced plans to give away $5.5 million to nonprofit organizations in the San Francisco Bay area. Instead of letting executives decide where this money would go, the company enlisted the community’s help. Google set up interactive posters throughout the city in places such as bus shelters, restaurants, and shopping centers. The posters asked the community one simple question: where should the $5.5 million go? People in the community could then tap on the poster to vote for a specific cause such as helping parents and teachers connect, growing small businesses, or helping at-risk kids graduate.
This is a perfect example of how companies should embrace their communities. Google recognized that their donation could lead to significant change in the community, so they allowed the community to decide what needed to be changed. In this example, Google’s community was the actual community of San Francisco, but for many brands, the community is their target audience.
Experiential marketing is all about engagement, so it’s no surprise that this is one of the five pillars of this strategy. In the past, brands engaged in one-way communication with their consumers. The brands sent messages via TV commercials, billboards, or print ads, and consumers did not have the ability to respond. But now, consumers demand that brands engage in two-way conversations with them. Consumers want to be able to provide feedback, share their concerns, and ask questions in order to gain a deeper understanding of the brand. Fortunately, this is all possible at experiential marketing events.
Guests should be able to test new products, speak with brand ambassadors, and participate in fun brand-related activities at an experiential marketing event. Even if guests are not actually purchasing the brand’s products, they are still engaging with the brand. Giving guests this type of positive experience is the first step to converting them into customers and building a lifelong relationship with them.
During the event planning process, marketers should constantly ask themselves how guests will engage with the brand. If there are not enough opportunities for guests to engage directly with the brand, changes need to be made in order for the event to be a success.
Marketers should rely heavily on data both before and after an experiential marketing event. Before the event, marketers should use data to figure out where the event should be held, the best way to communicate to their target audience, and what results they should expect. After the event, marketers should analyze the data collected from the event to determine if the event was a success. This data should also be used to improve future events. For example, let’s say the data reveals that the vast majority of guests heard about the event on Instagram and none of the guests heard about the event on Twitter. When planning the next event, marketers should reference this data when determining the best way to invite members of their target audience.
Brands must have a customer-centric culture in order to plan successful experiential marketing events. If everyone in the company knows that the customer always comes first, this will help them make better decisions when it comes to planning and hosting an experiential marketing event. The event will truly be designed with the customer in mind, which makes it much more enjoyable for guests.
It’s important for brands to hire brand ambassadors that understand the idea of a customer-centric culture. The brand ambassadors will be the face of your brand during an experiential marketing event, so they must be trained to make sure every guest has a pleasant and memorable experience. If they don’t put the customers first, guests will assume that your company doesn’t either.