How Experiential Marketing differs
Successful integration and amplification of an Experiential marketing campaign relies on the differentiation between experiential marketing and traditional media channels.
We see three key differences between the ‘experiential channel’ and the ‘traditional channels’ (TV, Radio, Press) in the marketing communications mix:
- The first one is a shift from a mass marketing approach when using traditional formats to a targeted approach during an experiential campaign.
- The second is concerned with the story-telling during the campaign: Whilst traditional channels usually engage with no more than two senses (sight and sound), experiential channels allow the brand to engage using all of the consumer’s senses
- And lastly experiential creates a personal first-hand experience for the consumer.
Importantly, no communication channel is “better” than the other per se. What channel is most suitable depends on a range of factors, including who the target audience is and what the communication objectives are. The art is to use the various channels in support of each other during a campaign.
A consumer’s journey to purchase can be guided by an experiential campaign that is amplified through mass marketing channels, which in combination with each other continuously nudge the consumer to purchase:
A person that has initially engaged with a brand through an experiential campaign, have a core brand engagement that advertising and marketing can build on. If this person subsequently sees a TV or print advert, they then re-connect with and re-live this brand engagement. The advert thus acts as a powerful brand reminder.
It is a bit trickier when experiential campaigns are used as an “after-thought” or an “add on” to an integrated advertising campaign: having first seen a mass-market ad, consumers are likely to have formed their initial opinions about the brand already. As such there is a chance that the consumer’s perception may already be that the brand or product is not suitable for them.
Changing this consumer’s mind set is a much harder task to achieve through experiential marketing than introducing an un-biased consumer to a new product.
Amplification through Social Media Platforms
For any brand the internet and its opportunities can be both a blessing and a curse: Offering instant two-way-communication with consumers, the internet not only allows brands to provide information to their customers, but also to receive instant consumer feedback and ultimately to build a relationship with their audience. But the two-way-flow of communication is hard to monitor and even harder to control because consumers are free to share their experiences and opinions: positive and negative.
In the case of experiential marketing, however, the opportunities the Internet provides are one of the ultimate reasons why this form of marketing has become so successful. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in particular have significantly contributed to this success by allowing consumers to share event experiences. This of course lends the event credibility through personal recommendation amongst friends, amplifies WoM and allows people to participate in events remotely.
Most importantly though social media platforms provide an opportunity for an experiential marketing event to “live on”. Traditionally, an event ended at the end of the day, week or exhibition. Now consumers will share a YouTube video about the activity, tweet it or comment on someone’s blog about the event – the possibilities are endless and so is the life span of the experiential campaign in today’s social media day and age.
For a perfect example think about the T-Mobile flashmob in Liverpool Street Station in 2009. Very few people will have actually seen it in person, but three years, over 35,500,000 YouTube views and more than 75,000 likes on, you will be hard pressed to find a person that doesn’t know about the stunt. (Just in case you’ve lived on a remote island without television or Internet connection for the last three years, here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ3d3KigPQM.)
But just as the integration of the experiential activity into the overall marketing plan can help your campaign go (a lot) further, the opposite also holds true: An experiential campaign that isn’t integrated into the overall marketing plan will, at best, miss out on opportunities to thrive on existing awareness or at worst lose the effectiveness and RoI it could have easily had. There is no point providing the most impressive interaction experience for your brand if it reaches only one man and his dog.
That’s why your experiential marketing campaign is only as good as its amplification.
Written by Miriam Kuhn, Marketing Coordinator