Editors note: This blog is based off finding in Maximum Marketing Minimum Dollars: The Top 50 Ways to Grow Your Small Business
Which would have a bigger effect on you buying a particular product; A, reading about it in an ad or B, trying it out first hand? Duh, B – real life experiences shape our opinions more profoundly than what we see in advertising or even hear from friends. This is the driving force behind new wave “experiential marketing,” which uses “events” to bring customers into contact with a product to create memorable experiences. This is also what develops a deeper level of brand recognition and increases the potential for brand loyalty. It’s the difference between telling people about the features and benefits of your product and allowing them to experience them first hand.
The key to a successful experiential marketing event is location. Choose a venue that will attract the right crowd (mall, market, street with high volume foot traffic, festival), or reach-out/invite your best prospects to you. Events that mix entertainment with testing a product are extremely well received. The event itself is what separates experiential marketing from traditional “sampling,” and it’s the fun and excitement of participating that entices customers to make purchases, refer, and return.
Experiential marketing, along side web-based promoting has shown to be one of the most effective combinations. Consumers express a preference to learn about new products and services by experiencing them for themselves or hearing about them from someone who’s judgement they trust. By giving your prospects an opportunity to interact with your product in a memorable way, you create a strong emotional tie and lay the groundwork for a loyal customer relationship.
When it comes to successful experiential marketing, smaller events are generally preferred over larger events. Not only do smaller events allow you to get close to your customers and maximize one-on-one interaction, they also give everyone a chance to try out your product. Face-to-face dialogue and the ability to share the experience with others are among the top factors consumers say make an event most interesting to them. Make sure to give all attendees a positive experience with your product, and keep in mind “smaller events cost less,” so it’s a win-win.
Experiential marketing has an extended impact by virtue of building word-of-mouth referrals.