These days newlyweds are trading in wedding bands for extreme honeymoons. Refrigerators are left for empty while eating out is an everyday occurrence. Bikes and scooters are the go-to forms of transportation while cars stay cozy in their parking spots. What do all of these examples have in common? That material things just aren’t measuring up to experiences these days.
Experiential Marketing (EM) has been around for a while (think car shows and festivals), but has evolved as technology progressed. Social media, for instance, offered the ability to not only reach participants of the events but their network as well. EM has increased in recent years and surveys conducted by Experiential Marketing News say that people prefer it over other types of marketing. Even when we think about learning; we all learn in different ways but there’s nothing like hands-on learning. Apply this same concept to marketing and you have experiential marketing, or engagement marketing. Experiential Marketing is a way for brands to immerse customers in the product and help them form emotional connections that will foster a customer’s lifetime value. Essentially, it goes beyond offering something nice to look at or a great discount, and offers an opportunity to experience the brand on a personal level.
The Lean Cuisine #WeighThis campaign was a great example of how a brand created an interactive experience around their new messaging. Lean Cuisine’s messaging used to focus on weight-loss. Eventually, the brand strayed away from this diet-centric messaging and moved onto encouraging a healthy lifestyle and focusing on the idea that your accomplishments in life matter more than the number on the scale.
Lean Cuisine took this campaign to the streets, well, Grand Central Station, that is. The brand curated a gallery of boards that resembled scales where women could write how they really wanted to be weighed. No weight numbers allowed, participants wrote about things like going back to college at the age of 55 and being a single mom. Though no one was there to ask participants to try a sample, the experience was branded to make sure people associated it with Lean Cuisine. The company’s Twitter handle and branded hashtag were very clear and lead to the event’s 204 million impressions.
Our local favorite, Femology, is a business lounge and co-working space for modern women to work, network, and thrive in a collaborative environment. They host a plethora of events with the female entrepreneur in mind. When thinking of experiential marketing Femology was the first to come to mind.
Every event they host is curated with the idea of giving the attendees the best experience possible while ensuring each participant walks away inspired by the brand. Events like “Future Millionaire”, which was all about securing the bag, and “Blogger Bash”, an event geared toward building a community, networking, and harnessing your craft, are a few examples of the creativity and thoughtfulness that goes into each experience. What makes Femology’s approach so special is that their themes are carried throughout each aspect of the event. From the “dress code” (participants go shopping just for these events), to the Instagram ready decor, snacks, perfectly curated goodie bags, and thoughtfully selected speakers; Femology exemplifies experiential marketing to a T.
They generate buzz for the upcoming events by posting on their feed and story a month in advance. They get the audience involved and excited by posting who registered for each event in real time. This promotes their mission of building a community and entices followers to engage with their brand. Their IG stories offer interactive posts like polls and questions, which gives their audience a chance to build a personal
connection with the brand. They kill it with user-generated content and repost participants who used the branded hashtag well after the event. It’s no surprise Femology has garnered a loyal and growing following online and in real life.
Integrating real-life experiences could be the key to setting your brand apart and creating a memorable impact on a consumer. Even though we are a digital marketing agency we strive to connect with our audience, community, and clients face-to-face. One of the biggest ways we incorporate EM into our own strategy is speaking engagements. Speaking opportunities, like the Startup Boost at Bamboo Detroit & Detroit Startup Week, allow us to meet new people and show them exactly what we do and why it’s important. On the digital side, we integrate interactive content such as questionnaire IG stories, polls, questions, etc. to our social strategy. The best part about interactive content is that we learn from our audience. What kinds of things they relate to, what kinds of things do they want to learn more about? At the end of the day, we want to be more accessible to our audience.
Experiential Marketing is going beyond the status quo. How do we, as marketers, help the customer experience, connect, and invest in the brand in an emotional way as well as financial. There’s something to be said for interacting with a brand in a way that is more personal.