It’s statistically true.

No doubt about it.

An EventTrack survey reported:

“Seventy-two percent of consumers say they positively view brands that provide quality event content opportunities and experiences. A larger percentage of consumers (74%) say engaging with branded event marketing experiences makes them more likely to buy the products being promoted.

Yeah, experiential marketing works.

But why?

Well, first, and obviously, it’s truly the only way to offer a live, collaborative experience for a brand, which the study goes on to say is “proven to build brand loyalty and preference.” Now, that might not necessarily produce more revenue or improve sales, but statistically you can see that more often than not, it sure can. And the experience delivered is invaluable in continuing to build brand loyalty. Perhaps more importantly, it builds a company’s corporate culture in exciting ways, inspiring employee loyalty to take the brand even further.

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Perhaps more importantly, experiential marketing can build a company’s corporate culture in exciting ways, inspiring employee loyalty—along with the customers—helping take the brand even further.

Another reason: You don’t have to go big (or be big) or go home. Of course, it’s axiomatic that larger brands have bigger bucks and prospects, but many of the most memorable experiences discussed and logged in company websites and on YouTube have been of a more diminutive nature.

A couple of years ago, to promote its new photo app, Google parked a cupcake truck (literally, a food truck) on the side of the road in Austin, Texas. People could get a cupcake simply by taking a photo with the new application. Funny thing, Zappos waylaid the entire stunt with their walking box full of free watches and shoes. They strategically placed their mysterious gifting cube next to Google’s truck, and when fed a cupcake in a tiny slit, the human-sized box would dispense a container with Zappos products—from sunglasses to belts and more premium apparel. It’s a great viral video, showing incredible value and how thunder is sufficiently stolen.

That leads us to the next critical component: experiential marketing dovetails effortlessly (or should) with a brand’s marketing strategy. Especially concerning content. A brand can extend its reach, and its dollars, by sharing this experiential content in real time, over social media platforms, on websites or any of their materials. Obviously, videos are the most popular media created from experiences, they’re highly sharable, fairly entertaining and occasionally inspiring.

At SXSW last year, Gatorade created an experience where consumers were transformed into athletes, in the form of an NFL-esque rookie combine, which tested customers’ overall athletic abilities. The event consisted of several stations assessing various skills and resulting in data participants could incorporate into their everyday lives. So, in addition to entertainment value, the marketing experience was even more impactful by offering something of extra actual value: motivating the customer and employees present, as well as the viewers online, to reach for new personal goals, with real knowledge about their health.

This also leads to another wonderful advantage of experiential marketing: the customer is in charge. If you create the right experience in a good place with a smart idea, all you need is the consumer to take over the reins. Then they’ll lead themselves into your brand message. It’s really not hard to get people to want to take part—look at any museum or theme park diversion. But it truly is all about the significance to the person. And once the customer picks up on the fun, or inspiration, or the entertainment, they’ll come along.

It should just feel authentic to them.

Refinery29 is a global media company focused on empowering young women. So, each year at New York Fashion Week, they have pop-up exhibits with 29 rooms of fun and engagement. They conspire with brand partners to design and create singular events in each room that let attendees go nuts but keep completely on brand. So, everyone finds their own adventure, in their favorite room, with their chosen interactions.

And as said above, being authentic may be the most important factor.

Experiential marketing allows people to get inside the brand and touch it, so there better be something in its values, its makeup, its actions and performance that lets everyone connect. Which (once again, everybody say it) builds brand loyalty. All it really requires is the right idea for you.

Experience is the mother and father of wisdom. Experience is the best teacher. You just need to find the right partner.

Bruce Wilson

Author Bruce Wilson

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