Experiential Marketing: How Events Can Transform Your Marketing

Have you ever ended a story by telling the listener, “You just had to be there.” This is the idea behind experiential marketing—the act of creating an event so compelling that those who attend find it hard to explain, and those who didn’t attend wish they had.

Sometimes you have to do more to generate sales than to simply run ads or send out emails. Sometimes to succeed, you have to create an experience to transform your marketing! If you’re new to experiential marketing, here’s how to get started:

5 Ways Events Can Transform Your Marketing

Think Like an Event Planner

Approach the challenge as if you were planning an event around your business and brand. Consider what you could do to leverage what’s unique about your products.

If you raise grass-fed beef, might you invite prospects to a dinner where local chefs show off their skills using your products? If you specialize in Grand Canyon tourist flights, would you consider a memorable ‘barnstorming’ party to get prospects together in a fun and exciting environment near the beautiful places you’d bring passengers.

It’s up to you to decide what type of event would best tap into the interests and desires of your target market.

Create Buzz Before, During and After

Devote time to developing a strategy that gets—and keeps—people engaged. It’s all about creating anticipation, delivering on a promise, and making sure it’s not forgotten. Email customers and prospects prior to the event to encourage them to attend. Create a contest or giveaway that will bring them in. For ideas, check here.

Once the event is over, follow up with attendees by email and thank them. Consider an offer to emphasize the point and to create more interaction and a possible sale.

Create the Right Atmosphere

Put some effort and budget into creating an atmosphere and make your event an experience for attendees. For inspiration, check out these event booths created by Skyline a leading experiential marketing firm.

The more you put into developing a theme around your event, the more interesting consumers will find it. You want to engage as many senses as you can.

Don’t Forget the Human Touch

Even the sexiest best-planned event can’t succeed unless you staff it with people who are passionate about your product and willing to spread the word. These would be your best, most charismatic employees—those who are energized by the prospect of meeting potential customers and representing your company.

IMPORTANT: Nothing is more detrimental to your company’s image than an event staffed by employees who don’t want to be there. Consider hiring professional staffers, if your people aren’t cut out for this. It’s worth the investment.

Leverage Industry Events

If you don’t want to create an event on your own, consider participating in a trade show or seminar. Whether your business is selling grass-fed beef or flying tourists over the Grand Canyon, there’s a one tailored to your target market.

When your business makes a trade show appearance, it’s staking a claim and announcing to attendees that it’s a player—especially if it makes a memorable impression. And by ‘piggybacking’ on a larger event, you can enjoy greater exposure than you might flying solo. The key to a successful event is to make it uniquely your own, and to create one that’s so memorable, attendees will spread the word.

No matter what type of business you’re in, you can raise your profile—and potential profits—with experiential marketing. Just follow the tips shared here to create ‘you just had to be there’ moments.

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