experiential marketing

Experiential Marketing Defined - and Examples to Inspire You

Learn how to market your event with experiential marketing! Build your brand loyalty, brand awareness and generate leads while both marketing and hosting your event.
July 31, 2018

There are so many brands out in the world now, and there are several ways to market those brands. In order to gain your consumers attention and maintain it, try out a new marketing strategy. Experiential marketing can help to attract an audience and have them return to your company as regular customers!

What Is Experiential Marketing?

Experiential marketing is defined as a marketing strategy that engages consumers directly and invites them to use branded experiences. These branded experiences are designed to create a memorable experience for consumers and encourage them to return to the company. Experiential marketing events can be done on a small or large scale, depending on the audience you’re trying to capture. A main goal of your company when participating in experiential marketing should be to hold an event in person, while maintaining a conversation about the company online.

what is experiential marketing

Other Definitions of Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing may sometimes be referred to as “live marketing” or “event marketing experiences.” These events may include pop ups, VR headsets or samplings of new products; depending on what your company is, there may be one experiential marketing event that works better than others!

Why Is Experiential Marketing Important?

In order to give your consumers a branded experience they will never forget, try to think outside of the box! Not only will your consumers have a great time at your event, your company, along with your brand, will stick with them and they will be more inclined to return. Some benefits of experiential marketing may include: 

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Brand Awareness</span>

By actively getting your name out there, you will attract an audience, based on how you market your company. Your company’s brand includes things like taglines, colors, tone and logo. Once consumers recognize your brand and everything that comes along with it, they will remember the experience you gave them.

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Brand Loyalty</span>

When consumers find companies they enjoy, they are loyal to that company, and want to see what company succeeds. By creating brand loyalty, you have the opportunity to create positive experiences for your customers and get to know them on a more personal level. People are more likely to make a purchase based on emotions, and if your company can evoke those emotions, you can not only make a sale, but create a loyalty with customers that will last a lifetime.

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Lead Generation</span>

Once you have customers, you will likely also have their personal information. By obtaining this information, you are then able to market any future events to your customers. Once your event is marketed to the correct people, on social media for example, they will be able to share the event page, reaching an even larger audience. Your guests become their own marketers as they spread the word about upcoming events. 

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Try New Products</span>

When it comes to new products, customers want to touch, smell, or even taste it for themselves. By having an event in which customers can interact with your new product, they will be more likely to buy said product. Giving customers the opportunity to give your product a test run will help them make the decision to buy your product. 

Why Experiential Marketing Matters Today

In today's world, the best way to capture the attention of consumers is by giving them a way to physically interact with your company. These types of events help to create a buzz around the event, which in turn, brings in more customers. As stated above, the goal of your experiential marketing event is to have an in person event, but still create an online conversation about your event. Creating that consumer experience helps companies become closer to their customers. 

10 Best Experiential Marketing Examples

Companies have done a great job creating consumer experiences through experiential marketing. These events can be done in person or virtually, as long as they evoke that human emotion. These 10 examples are successful ways that companies have marketed themselves to their customers.

<span class="mid-size-title">1. Refinery29: 29 Rooms</span>

Refinery29 is a digital media and entertainment company that focuses on young women. In order to market their company to a new audience, they created a pop up event called 29 Rooms. 29 rooms were created, along with a theme, and were interactive for the guests. Each room has been branded from a different company, such as Dunkin Donuts or Cadillac, and guests experienced something different in each room. This year's theme was art related, encouraging guests to use their surroundings and creativity to create art within each room!

<span class="mid-size-title">2. Red Bull: Stratos</span>

Back in 2012, before live streaming became a way of life like it is today, Red Bull truly put their name on the map. They beat the world record for the highest skydive, and it was live streamed on the internet. By creating suspense within the marketing, Red Bull was able to rake in millions of viewers, globally. Social media has changed drastically in the past 10 years, and having an event like this makes it extremely easy for guests to watch this once in a lifetime moment. 

<span class="mid-size-title">3. Misereor: Charity Donation Billboard</span>

Posters are typically a piece of paper, hung up by a thumb tack. People may see it, people may not. However, Misereor took posters to the next level by creating a poster that takes credit card donations! First used in international airports, Misereor encouraged people to swipe their credit card to help feed third world countries and provide them with food and clean water. Once a guest receives their credit card statement the next month, they have the opportunity to turn their one time donation into a monthly donation. Consumers can feel good that their money is going to a good cause, and the digital poster is one of a kind!

<span class="mid-size-title">4. Lululemon: Proud and Present</span>

To celebrate Pride Month, Lululemon asked their own employees and ambassadors to share and reflect on any topics regarding the LGBTQ+ community. Their responses were shared on Lululemon’s social media accounts, and were even made into art installations. The art installations were placed in a park, and viewers were encouraged to read the testimonials and reflect on the stories. Lululemon even hosted a yoga session in the same park, which raised money for The Trevor Project. 

<span class="mid-size-title">5. Coca-Cola: FIFA World Cup VR Experience</span>

Everyone knows how popular the World Cup is all over the world, and Coca-Cola decided to capitalize on that! Coca-Cola used technology like virtual reality to have guests “play” soccer with their favorite soccer star. People stood in front of the screen, and they were automatically immersed in the game of soccer, having a pass with their favorite player or scoring the winning goal. This type of event is fun for all ages and made you feel like you were really in the game!

<span class="mid-size-title">6. Zappos: Google Cupcake Ambush</span>

Back in 2015, Google decided to launch their new picture app, and promised participants a sweet treat when they used said app. Guests had to prove they used the new picture app, and upon doing so, they were given a cupcake! At the same time Google was promoting their picture app, Zappos set up a booth directly next to theirs with the payment of one cupcake! Guests were skeptical at first, but once they placed their cupcake into the booth, they were given swag from Zappos: T-shirts, backpacks and shoes! This marketing tactic is a great way to co-brand with another brand that closely aligns with yours.

<span class="mid-size-title">7. Fast Food Celebrity Meals</span>

What a better way to get people to come to your establishment than by getting big time celebrities to endorse their favorite meal! McDonald’s used Korean Pop boy band BTS to sell a meal designed by BTS that drew in millions. Rapper Jack Harlow had his favorite meal created at Kentucky Fried Chicken, with his face on the cup and bag. These collaborations are a great marketing opportunity for both the fast food restaurant and the musical artist themselves!

<span class="mid-size-title">8. FRIENDS Pop Up</span>

There's no denying that FRIENDS is one of the most popular tv shows ever created. In 2020, a FRIENDS pop up was designed, allowing fans of the show to enter one of the most recognizable apartments in television history. There were actual props from the show, interactive games and photo opportunities. The pop up went from city to city, letting guests live out their New York City experience!

<span class="mid-size-title">9. Fresh Prince OF Bel Air AirBNB</span>

Another popular 90’s television show was The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air! AirBNB re-created a home that looked just like the iconic mansion from the show; graffiti art on the walls, family portraits and even a basketball court let guests live out their Fresh Prince fantasy! The opportunity to take pictures and post them on social media got the word out about this experience, reaching an even larger audience.

<span class="mid-size-title">10. JetBlue IceBreaker</span>

New Yorkers know just how cold it can become in the winter, and JetBlue used that to their advantage! To promote their new nonstop flights to Palm Springs in 2016, Jetblue created a game for New Yorkers to play as they passed by. A giant block of ice had items frozen into it, and people could take turns breaking the ice, in hopes of getting the items out. The items included sweatshirts, backpacks and even tickets to Palm Springs! This giant block of ice grabbed the attention of people from all over, plus people got to keep the swag they won. 

How To Plan An Experiential Marketing Campaign

Creating a perfect experiential marketing campaign is the difference between a successful event and a not so successful one. By following these steps, your event will be marketed to the right audience and you will receive many returning customers. 

<span class="mid-size-title">1. Understanding Your Customer Base</span>

When creating your event, you should have an understanding of who you want to invite. Based on past events, your company should already have customer data. If those people are in your target market, be sure to invite them to your event! If you are looking for a new audience, put your marketing in places that your target audience is going to look, like social media or certain websites. By doing this, you can be sure that your target audience will see the marketing for your event.

<span class="mid-size-title">2. Solidify Your Goals</span>

No matter what your event is, there should be goals set in place. Your goals should be achievable for your event, and can be the deciding factor to see if your event was a success or not. Once you have your audience set, you can then determine your goals and plan the rest of your event around those goals! Once your goals are determined, stick to them as best as you can. You can then use those goals at the end of the event and evaluate how the event went.

<span class="mid-size-title">3. Identify KPIs</span>

In order to best gauge how successful your event was, based on the goals you set, you need to identify your KPIs. When hosting an event, customer satisfaction should be high on the list for KPIs. If your customers are happy with your event, they are more likely to return to future events. You can also determine how much revenue was generated from your event and even client retention rate. Your KPIs help you at the end of your event to see the breakdown in terms of metrics.

<span class="mid-size-title">4. Create A Budget</span>

Like any other event, you need to create a budget! Event organizers can set aside money for certain aspects of the event where that money only goes towards that. Your budget can also help you understand where your money is going, and you can also measure your ROI.

<span class="mid-size-title">5. Create and Communicate A Clear Message</span>

In terms of creating your experiential event, think of what you are trying to say to your audience. Once you have determined what you wish to say, be very clear when communicating that message. This message can be spread throughout your company website, social media and any websites you may market on. By being as clear and precise as you can, there should be minimal confusion for your audience.

<span class="mid-size-title">6. Develop A Campaign That Provides Value</span>

Your marketing campaign, as well as your event, should bring value to your customers. Bringing something beneficial to your customers will ensure that they will have a great time at your event and they will return to any future events. Marketing campaigns can be unique and out of the box, which will pique the interest of people who may be outside of your target audience! 

<span class="mid-size-title">7. Leverage Augmented Reality</span>

Augmented reality has changed the way people now shop. Consumers are able to “try on” clothes or see the way furniture looks in their home, even before buying! Augmented reality allows consumers to “try before they buy” and make a decision based on what they see in this digital world.

<span class="mid-size-title">8. Implement A Cross-Channel Marketing Plan</span>

In order to market to as many people as possible, try using a cross-channel marketing plan. If your event is in person, be sure to live stream the event across all of your social media channels so viewers can watch the live stream on any platform and be immersed in all of the action! Be sure to tag the location of your event as well, especially if your event is being held at a third party venue.

<span class="mid-size-title">9. Encourage Customers To Disseminate Information</span>

During your event, be sure to express to the guests to take as many pictures and videos as they want. Once the event is over, they can share those pictures and videos on their personal social media accounts. Tagging the location and the company is an important part of the marketing, as guests now become the event promoters; guest’s social media friends will be able to see the event from a different perspective and spread the word about it.

Ideas For Experiential Marketing Events

As discussed earlier, experiential marketing events can be different, depending on what works best for your company. Your company may have a new product that needs to be showcased, so hosting a product launch is the best way to go. Whatever event you choose, you will acquire the target audience you need and it will be sure to be successful!

<span class="mid-size-title">1. Product Launch</span>

Companies are always coming out with new products that need to be shown to the world. Take a look at Apple; everytime a new phone or iPad comes out, they hold a product launch. These launches get the new information out to not only the people attending the product launch, but also everyone watching the live stream at home to gain this new information. 

<span class="mid-size-title">2. Pop Up Events</span>

Pop up events may be marketed towards a certain audience, depending on what the pop up is. Pop ups can be as simple as a small stand in a busy area, or it can be an entire room or several rooms, like the FRIENDS pop up. Guests can interact with the pop up event, gain knowledge, or even some swag! Marketing for these events can be done through email, social media or the company website.

<span class="mid-size-title">3. Virtual and Hybrid Events</span>

The rise in virtual and hybrid events has gained popularity recently, and some people may even prefer them over in person events. When creating your event, first determine what kind of event you want to host. There may be some events that work better on a virtual or hybrid platform. Virtual events have a greater reach to a larger audience, as people can join from anywhere in the world. When hosting your virtual or hybrid event, be sure to still create that emotional connection from your guests to your event. That is what will keep your guests coming back for more. 

<span class="mid-size-title">4. Internal Events</span>

Events don’t just have to be for audiences outside of your company; you should be celebrating internally with your employees! Your employees work hard to market your events, and they should be able to have their own celebration! Creating memorable experiences for your employees will help keep their morale up and their work will reflect that.

<span class="mid-size-title">5. Contests</span>

Contests are a great way to market your event, while also gaining information about your guests. If you choose to give away prizes, you can market it in a way that guests can enter their information for a chance to win! Once the winners are chosen, then you have more content to share; companies can share their winners on social media, and promote any upcoming contests and share the ways to win.

<span class="mid-size-title">6. Classes and Workshops</span>

Classes and workshops are the best ways to teach your guests about whatever topic is at hand. These classes and workshops can be done either in person or online. Online classes have the ability to reach a larger audience, as people from all over the world can join and begin learning. Audiences can connect right to the teacher or leader of the workshop and be able to ask any questions they may have.

How To Choose The Right Experiential Marketing Event Platform

Whether your event is in person, virtual or hybrid, choosing the right hosting platform can make all the difference! Virtual hosting platforms can take all the guesswork out of planning. If you’re not sure what type of event to have for your experiential marketing campaign, contact a company like Hubilo for all of your hosting needs!

There are so many ways to host events with experiential marketing that can be tailored to any company and its needs. Interactive events get guests to use their hands while also learning about the company. Some events may have swag that guests can obtain after the event, which will create excitement and an online buzz regarding your event. Whatever type of event you choose, your experiential marketing will help reach the largest audience possible! 

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Hubilo is the webinar platform built for marketers that helps you 2X your pipeline. Founded in 2015, Hubilo's powerful engagement features, dedicated client experience team, and custom branding tools have helped create over 12K virtual events & webinars, creating hundreds of millions of minutes of high-engagement experiences and counting. Headquartered in Bengaluru and San Francisco, Hubilo's 200+ employees are dedicated to enabling webinars & virtual events that convert.

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