Experiential marketing has hit its stride. What was once viewed as experimental or even risky in terms of ROI—has officially proven its legitimacy with brands like Google, Lavazza Coffee, Geico, and Red Bull investing heavily in the space—and achieving massive returns.

The premise of experiential marketing itself is giving marketers a chance to become truly creative in their approach and engage their audiences like never before. But there is a right (and wrong) way to connect with your target demographic. Consider the recent Fyre Festival catastrophe: Though an extreme case, it's the perfect example of experiential marketing gone wrong and the detrimental impact on the people and brands involved.

So, whether you're organizing an immersive pop-up, on-site virtual reality installation, or a full theatrical performance or live event, here are a few things that should be kept top of mind to make it mean more, and ultimately deliver out the numbers you're looking for.

Experiences make people happy. This should seem like a no brainer: People love to be entertained. And more than that, 65% of consumers say that they are far more influenced by positive and memorable experiences than traditional advertising and marketing gimmicks.

For the Millennial generation, specifically—72% of whom would prefer to spend their money on experiences over things, and Instagram content is king—a well targeted, enticing experiential campaign that the younger generation will associate with your brand for years to come has proven to be invaluable.

Focus on people and relationships. One of the huge benefits that's often associated with experiential marketing is the sense of brand loyalty it creates among its target audiences. Consider Disney: The brand's immersive and often theatrical marketing initiatives have people feeling loyal to the company from cradle to grave, spanning multiple generations with their appeal.

When customers experience something truly memorable and personalized, they begin to develop a much deeper relationship with brands. Organizations that lead with a focus on relationship-building are able to foster this kind of dedicated audience, members of which truly embrace brands for their shared values. Companies that become more experience-focused are the ones succeeding in this new landscape.

Don't try to save time, invest in it. Marketing is no longer about saving time to deliver great customer service; it's all about time well spent. Gone are the days of trying to feed customers bite-sized nuggets of information in a 30-second time slot; consumers are willing to dedicate time to experiences that brands are offering, especially when those experiences are designed around their needs and interests.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of John Millward

John Millward is chief innovation officer of RedPeg an independent brand engagement agency. Having led brand activations for Fortune 500 companies with CMI, Live Nation, and Jack Morton, then co-founding and leading Blue Flame as its chief creative officer, he brings 25 years of experience to the table.

LinkedIn: John Millward