5 Quick and Easy Experiential Marketing Tips for Startups
As a startup entrepreneur, you want to ensure you’re getting the most out of your marketing campaigns. It is crucial that these campaigns are effective and allow you to build brand recognition and increase awareness. Experiential marketing has become an important part of this process. It gives potential customers and investors a chance to get up close and personal with your brand.
What is experiential marketing?
Experiential marketing is defined as a type of strategy that engages an audience with a real-life invitation to engage with — or experience — a brand and what it makes or represents. It’s participatory, hands-on, and tangible.
It is somewhat synonymous with guerilla marketing. It is low-cost and uses unconventional techniques to make a mark in the target audience’s mind and get a significant return on investment. Which is why it should be a must in a startups marketing toolbox.
How and why does experiential marketing work?
Experiential (also referred to as event) marketing gives brands an opportunity to directly interact with its consumers and educate them about the startups offering. This type of marketing provides an excellent platform to build a positive impression of the brand in the consumer’s mind.
At experiential marketing events, consumers get to experience the startups’ products/services with all their senses. It helps build a strong association with the product. For instance, it’s one thing to know and see a pair of sneakers, but to try them and see how they feel is a wholly unique experience. Same goes for a spirit, or a new flavor of Greek yogurt, or the graphics of a new video game. Getting a first-hand experience with the product etches its existence in the consumer’s mind.
The ability to experience something with their senses—rather than just seeing them in print or digital form—makes them much more likely to buy the product. This is especially relevant to startups. Unlike big giants like Coca-Cola or Pepsi, consumers aren’t well-versed with your product and don’t understand what value you bring them. The best experiential events evoke an emotion that makes consumers feel more connected to your startup.
A startup that makes internet security systems is trying hard to market its product. Alas for them, nobody seems to be interested. They are not sure how to create a buzz or who to reach out to. Struggling with a limited marketing budget, they invest in online advertising to acquire new customers.
Creative Tips to Organize the Best Experiential Marketing Campaign
1. Give a fair thought to your location
When and where your event happens has an enormous impact on its success. Before you get to the planning phase, do a thorough market research and ensure that your product/service is marketable to the audience that’s going to be attending the event. For instance, hosting an event to exhibit your urban fashion at a countryside village fair wouldn’t be too beneficial. Knowing your target audience and where they are most available will help you plan your event better. Doing this research well in advance will help your business reap rewards and in turn, give your audience a chance to get to know you.
2. Cater to all five senses
One of the best ways to make the most out of experiential marketing is to engage all the five senses of your audience and set the tone of your brand from the beginning. Depending on your product, you’ll obviously know the most obvious senses. For example, if you’re a new bakery then taste is going to be the primary sense. An apparel brand will need to have a positive visual appeal of their product.
However, when you’re only engaging with the obvious senses, it gets difficult to stand out. One of the ways to beat this is to have another non-competitive brand partner with you that helps supplement your brand. Whether it’s a new perfume or great music playing or free cupcakes with every unit you sell. Think creatively when it comes to giving your audience a brilliant experience.
3. Enhance the ROI by using social media
Experiential marketing is a terrific way to build long-term relationships with your client base. Not only do you want them to engage with you during the event, but also after the event has finished. One of the highly effective methods to establish and nurture these relationships is to connect with your target market on social media. Create a unique hashtag and promote it on your social platforms before the event to tell people why they shouldn’t miss your event. Advertise deals and activities that they can take advantage of by being present at the event.
Use Facebook and Instagram’s live feature to stream the highlights of the event and share the best bits later for the non-attendees. Post-event keep your followers up-to-date with what you’re doing and what you’re planning next.
Figure out who your online target audience is Every business is different. The online strategy for a handmade soap store is not going to look the same as the online strategy for a motorcycle retailer. First, you need to figure out who your target market is and how best to reach them.
4. Engage the attendees in fun competitions
One of the best ways to get people interested in your experiential marketing campaign is by hosting fun competitions. Start by building a social media following and promote a product giveaway or a premium prize across your social platforms. Then use the event day to announce the winner, which will enhance engagement and will help in increasing footfall on the day of the event.
Competitions offer a chance for your brand to give something back. Not only does this help forge relationships with potential customers, but also gives a chance to reflect the values of your brand. And by encouraging participants to share, retweet as a part of the entry process, you’re likely to spread your reach far beyond your follower list.
5. Explore your creative side
One of the most essential elements of experiential marketing is ingenuity, which is difficult to teach. Get your team in a room and brainstorm ideas with those who know the brand, understand what it stands for and have a clear objective of the campaign. Explore and investigate all ideas that are shared, as the most memorable promotions are regularly derived from simple ideas. These ideas spur raw emotions among your customers, etching your existence in their minds.
While the value of digital marketing cannot be ignored, startups should consider a more gripping approach. If done right, experiential marketing can have a profound impact on your consumers—one that can surpass any creative digital campaign. Given that traditional consumers have evolved into more experiential customers, it’s only fair for startups to modify their strategies, as the relationships and opportunities between startups and experiential marketing are tremendous.