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Marketing Campaigns Playbook: How To Develop An Experiential Marketing Strategy That Wins

Experiential Marketing

These days, traditional marketing strategies just don’t cut it. With common advertising techniques yielding suboptimal results, it’s clear younger demographics aren’t as receptive to the strategies of yesteryear. Print, radio, and even television marketing have consistently declined in R.O.I, and social media advertising has grown to the point of oversaturation. 

That’s why you need to adjust the methods you use to reach potential customers. The best way to do this is by developing an experiential marketing strategy. Experiential marketing is a cutting-edge guerilla marketing tactic, designed to engage consumers and form a long-term emotional bond with your brand. 

What is experiential marketing?

Experiential marketing, also known as engagement marketing, is a strategy that utilizes direct contact with a customer as a means to establish a strong connection between that customer and your brand. This contact acts as a way for the consumer to experience how their life could benefit from your product or service, and encourages organic growth of brand-awareness.

The way this growth comes about is by providing an experience so engaging, the customer  wants to share it with other people (either in-person or via social media). In this way, you get far more bang for your buck than with traditional marketing. If you can have someone associate positive feelings with your brand, to the point where they feel compelled to tell others, that effect will multiply and result in further brand activations. 

HOW IS AN EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING STRATEGY EFFECTIVE?

Experiential marketing allows customers to see the human element behind a product or business. This has shown to be quite effective in fostering an emotional connection with a brand, and these tend to outlast the more shallow connections formed through traditional advertising. A smiling face, sincere enthusiasm, and real physical interaction with a product can all make a huge difference in creating long term, loyal patronage. 

The way you go about designing this brand experience depends entirely on what your product or service is, how you want to be seen by the public, and what your activation goals are. While the possibilities are endless, there are a few tried-and-true experiential marketing strategies you can use as the foundation for your campaign. 

Different types of experiential marketing strategies

There is a wide range of different avenues to explore when developing your experiential marketing strategy. Here are several different types of strategies, and how they can function to boost brand activations.

  • Pop-up shop: The most commonly-known form of experiential marketing, a pop-up shop allows you to market your brand while also making a small amount of sales. A purchase can be a powerful way to connect with a consumer, as this allows them to take a piece of your brand home with them. One drawback to this method is that while most consumers are willing to participate in a free event, some may not be interested in spending money right there and then.

 

  • Branded Mobile Tour: A branded mobile tour involves the use of a vehicle, bearing a visual representation of your brand, traveling to areas and allowing potential consumers to engage in a tailor-made brand experience. A secondary benefit of this tactic is the passive advertisement resulting from your branded vehicle. Your brand vehicle should include links to social media or more information about stops in the tour, so you can increase the foot traffic once you stop and set up.

 

  • Brand Booth: Often seen at conventions and fairgrounds, a brand booth should function as a microcosm of your entire brand image. Think of this as a more focused version of your mobile tour; since you will only be setting up in one location, you can really go all out on the brand experience. The best brand ambassadors, the cleanest product demo, and a slick social media tie-in are all the building blocks for a successful brand booth.

How do I develop a winning experiential marketing strategy?

The way you develop your experiential marketing strategy relies heavily on the image of your brand. You need to fully understand who your customer base is, and what they want. Designing an experience that plays to these desires can help foster the emotional connection you are shooting for. You want a potential consumer to experience how their life could benefit from a relationship with your brand. 

Let’s take one of the above methods, and apply it to a fictional coffee brand to see how it would function. 

STRATEGY EXAMPLE: COFFEE BRAND

If your coffee brand is looking to create an experiential marketing strategy, a good choice would be to create a pop-up shop.

As a lower-cost item, coffee is an easier sell than a piece of technology or clothing. While a high-end fashion company may benefit from a brand booth, most customers are willing to shell out a few dollars to try a new brand of coffee. Allowing a customer to smell and taste the product in a coffee shop type setting will create that positive experience you are aiming for.

Having a temporary storefront, with eye-catching visual branding drawing people in, is a great way to get your product into the hands of potential long-term customers. Then, when the pop-up shop is gone, this customer will naturally look for your brand in stores to recreate those feelings of positivity. 

This is just one of a nearly infinite number of possibilities for combining your unique brand with a complimentary experiential marketing method. The ability to tailor the brand experience you provide to consumers is the largest benefit of developing an experiential marketing strategy. That, and many other reasons, are why it should be a primary technique in your marketing campaign playbook. 

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Static Vs Mobile Pop-Up Shop Rentals: What You Need To Know

Experiential Marketing

When renting a pop-up shop space, it’s important to understand what your options are. Choosing between a static and mobile pop-up shop rental means gathering a comprehensive knowledge of both, and knowing the advantages and disadvantages of each. 

While a pop-up shop can be the cornerstone of a solid experiential marketing campaign, choosing the correct format can make or break how effective your particular campaign will be. 

What is a static pop-up shop rental?

A static pop-up shop rental is a stationary and temporary storefront that your brand can utilize for a set period of time. These are the more traditional version of pop-ups, and are usually part of an existing building or structure. These can also take the form of a branded pop-up tent, usually set up in high-traffic areas.

While a static pop-up shop can be helpful in building brand awareness and increasing sales, it only does so in one small area. This lack of mobility can lower the quantity of brand activations your pop-up shop achieves, and be a drain on valuable marketing resources. 

What is a mobile pop-up shop rental? 

A mobile pop-up shop rental simply takes the concept of a static pop-up shop, and puts it on wheels. These can take a variety of forms, depending on the brand they represent, and the product or service that brand offers. Food trucks are an excellent mobile pop-up for food and beverage brands, while clothing companies may offer a walk-in vehicle where consumers can try-on and purchase different garments. 

No matter what form of mobile pop-up shop rental you choose, you’ll likely have a better experience and higher R.O.I compared to their stationary counterpart. There are countless benefits to choosing a mobile pop-up shop rental, and each can be a massive boost to brand activations and recognition.

What are the benefits of a mobile pop-up shop rental?

A mobile pop-up shop rental has several distinct advantages over more traditional advertising techniques. This cutting-edge form of experiential marketing is a great way to allow a customer hands-on experience with a product or service, and an experience that will get them to talk about your brand to their friends. This creates organic brand awareness, and can help spread your name far beyond the scope of a print or television advertisement. 

Ability to target high conversion areas

The ability to identify highly-populated areas containing your brand’s key demographic, and target those areas with a mobile brand experience, can be an invaluable boost to consumer engagement. 

Once you know where the highest percentage of your potential customer base resides, you can make sure your mobile pop-up shop rental is directed to these areas. This decreases the chance of wasting valuable time with consumers who aren’t interested in the product, and increases the volume of positive brand activations and sales. 

Physical interaction 

 In an increasingly digital world, physical engagement can make the difference in forming long-term emotional connections with potential customers. Having brand ambassadors there to guide a consumer through the brand experience, answer any questions, and help them to actually use the product or service, is invaluable. 

Younger demographics are also more likely to form a connection to a brand if they can physically interact with their product or service. Getting to test out what our brand offers directly lets them more clearly understand what the benefits of that product or service are.

Mobile passive advertising

A mobile pop-up shop rental will be distinctly marked and painted to represent your brand. These eye-popping visuals are designed to ensure you draw the attention of not only those passing by the pop-up when it’s parked, but while it’s moving through a populated area. 

Because you are in or near a place populated by your key demographic, everyone who sees this vehicle pass by will have their curiosity piqued. This can lead to more foot traffic once the pop-up is stationary, and more connections made to the brand itself.

Pop-up shop vendor checklist: What you need for your mobile pop-up shop rental to be successful

There are several steps to take to ensure that your mobile pop-up shop rental is successful. From choosing how it looks outside, the experience contained inside, and where it’s headed, each step is vital to securing the brand activations necessary to increasing awareness.

Choose the look of your mobile pop-up

The first thing potential customers will see is how the outside of your mobile pop-up shop rental looks. It only takes seven seconds for a person to form an impression when they meet someone for the first time; imagine how quickly they will judge your brand.

There are many different styles you can go with when choosing a mobile pop-up shop rental. Your mobile pop-up shop aesthetic should align with the demographic your brand targets. If you are trying to tap into nostalgia, you can go for a “old-timey” feel to your vehicle. If you are trying to show off the cutting-edge of technology, you’ll want something sleek and futuristic. 

Remember, first impressions are everything, and if a potential consumer doesn’t like how your pop-up looks on the outside, they are unlikely to care what is on the inside. 

Craft a consumer experience that represents your brand

Designing how the customer will interact with your product or service is arguably the most important decision of your campaign. What mobile pop-up shop ideas you use depend on what experience best represents your brand. Here is an example of a brand specific experience you could use for your mobile pop-up shop rental. 

If you are an outdoors or camping brand, you’ll want to have demonstrations of how your product would work in a wilderness setting. A camping trailer, equipped with astroturf and the scent of cedar, can make a potential consumer feel as though they are already in the forest, utilizing your product.

 You want the consumer to feel as if the purchase is already made, by allowing them to envision the life they could have if they choose your brand. Try to understand the smell, touch, taste, and feel of what your brand embodies, and pour that sensory data into the experience your pop-up shop facilitates.

Finding the best pop-up shop space

You’ll need to know how to find a pop-up shop space that includes as many members of your key demographic as possible. Each stop you make with your mobile pop-up shop rental should be filled with people likely to not only understand your product, but directly benefit from a connection with your brand. 

Events with high foot traffic such as conventions, fairs, and other well-populated events are great choices for a stop in your mobile pop-up shop tour. If you choose spots in large cities, try to get as close to downtown or near business centers as you can. The more people who pass, the more chances you have to make those brand activations and sales.

Using this information, it should be easy to design how exactly you will use your mobile pop-up shop rental. Using this experiential marketing strategy, you are certain to drastically improve brand awareness, and give potential consumers an exciting experience in the process. 

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How to Find the Best Brand Ambassador for Your Mobile Tour

Experiential Marketing

When it comes to crafting an experiential marketing strategy, mobile tours are a high-efficacy tool guaranteed to help expand the reach of your brand. One of the most important steps to take when planning an experiential marketing mobile tour is making sure you choose the correct mobile tour brand ambassador. But what exactly is mobile tour marketing, and how can it work for you?

What is mobile tour marketing?

Mobile tours are an experiential marketing tool that lets you advertise your brand to thousands of people in a key demographic area, while also allowing potential consumers to experience the benefits of your product or service first-hand. With many advertising strategies, the customer can only imagine what their life could be like if they went with a certain brand. With a mobile tour, they don’t have to imagine, they can live it. 

There are countless advantages to employing this strategy, especially when you utilize the expertise of mobile marketing tour companies. When a mobile tour vehicle is driven through a city,  separate impressions and connections are made with each person it passes. These mobile brand activations are valuable, but only a small part of what mobile tours have to offer.

Once the tour reaches one of it’s intended stops, this is where the real engagement begins. Mobile marketing tour companies carefully choose spots containing members of your key demographic. This means that you have a higher rate of conversion with mobile tour activations. A mobile tour vehicle unfolds into a multi-tiered piece of experiential marketing, allowing potential consumers to be enveloped in a fully interactive brand experience. 

But all of this hinges on a very important factor: choosing the best mobile tour brand ambassador.

What is a mobile brand tour ambassador?

A good mobile tour brand ambassador is the foundation for all high-quality experiential marketing mobile tours. If you want the highest return on investment for your marketing dollar, you need to make sure you employ the absolute best ambassador you can find. To do this, you need to know exactly what an ambassador does.

The role of a mobile tour brand ambassador is to put a face to your brand, and help guide a potential customer through the brand experience packaged in your mobile tour. These are the staff you have working the booth, interacting with customers, demonstrating what your brand has to offer. These individuals are there to make sure your key demographic establishes an emotional connection, increasing the chances they will become loyal customers. 

Mobile brand tour ambassadors can be regular staff members, or social media influencers in your industry. Whichever type of ambassador you go with, it’s important they have a distinct set of qualities. 

How to find the right mobile brand tour ambassador

Now that you know what a mobile tour ambassador does, you need to know how to find the right fit for your unique brand. These will be the people wearing your logo and displaying your products or services: in essence, they will be representing you. You need to make sure that the connection potential consumers make is a positive one, and encourage these consumers to further spread your brand name through social media and word-of-mouth.

Let’s go over the qualities that any mobile tour ambassador must have, regardless of brand. You need to make sure that your ambassador is:

  • Engaged: They need to be excited about your brand, and establish a connection with the product or service. The advantage of experiential marketing mobile tours is that in person engagement: if your ambassador is genuinely excited, the customer will be too.
  • Friendly: A smile is an experiential marketer’s most powerful tool to bring in potential consumers. Studies have shown that not only are smiles contagious, but that the mere act of smiling can put you in a more positive mood. If the consumer associates your brand with a positive mood, you’ve laid the foundation for future brand loyalty. 
  • Knowledgeable: a mobile brand tour ambassador needs to know your products or services inside and out. If someone has a question, they should be able to answer not only quickly, but accurately. Consumers are far more likely to trust an expert, and through that have more trust in your brand. 

Tailor Your Ambassador to Your Unique Brand

Now depending on what your brand specifically offers, you will want to tailor your mobile tour brand ambassador to the experience you want consumers to have. If you can, try to find well-known members of your industry that can help represent the goals of your marketing strategy, and the ideals of your brand.

Social media influencers are usually open to sponsorship, and can be a vital asset in expanding the reach of your campaign. When you choose these individuals, or any ambassadors working directly with the mobile tour, you need to choose people who are perfectly tailored to your brand’s message.

If you are a health food brand, you will want to make sure the ambassadors you choose are healthy and fit. If you are a brand that deals with men’s products, you will want someone who fits the stereotypical archetype of a “man’s man”. You want your ambassador to be the embodiment of the benefits of your product or service: make the potential consumer look at that person, and say “I want to be them.” 

If you follow these steps, you will be sure to choose the correct mobile tour brand ambassador for your brand. Once that important piece is in place, you can ensure the success of your mobile marketing campaign, and get the name of your brand out to countless potential consumers. 

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How to Integrate Experiential Marketing in Your Omnichannel Strategy

Experiential Marketing

In today’s fast-moving world, you need a multi-dimensional marketing strategy that can engage the tastes of modern consumers. While traditional media marketing still has its functions, it pays to stay on the cutting edge when developing a new campaign. Taking the time to invest in a proper experiential marketing strategy can yield an excellent return on investment, and help boost your brand’s name recognition and organic growth.

What is Experiential Marketing?

Experiential marketing is a marketing strategy method that involves direct communication and interaction with potential consumers, allowing them to engage with your brand’s product or service first-hand. This creates the opportunity for potential customers to form a personal connection with your brand, and foster a positive association through the experience you have designed. Having an experiential marketing strategy is vital to engage younger demographics, where consumers are far more likely to ignore traditional advertising methods. 

But there isn’t just one style of campaign when it comes to experiential marketing. The composition of your particular experiential marketing strategy will help differentiate your brand from your competitors. Make sure to carefully choose what type you move forward with, and which style will work best for your unique brand. 

How do you use Experiential Marketing in a campaign?

Developing your experiential marketing strategy starts with selecting what sort of experience you want to give consumers. The goal is to create a 3-dimensional engagement that allows potential customers to actively participate, as opposed to the 2-D interaction involved in a traditional piece of media marketing.

Here are three different types of Experiential Marketing strategies:

  • Brand Booth: setting up a brand booth is a great way to show potential consumers who your brand is, and the benefits you offer. Choosing a high-traffic event like a convention, fair, or any other populated gathering, allows you to get a higher level of experiential activations. Once you have your location selected, make sure to design an experience that lets people see the unique benefits associated with choosing your brand over others in your industry. It’s also vital to select proper brand ambassadors to run your brand booth. Brand ambassadors are the staff members you have chosen to show your product or service. They will be wearing your logo, talking about your products, and in essence, representing your brand. Make sure they are friendly, knowledgeable, and aesthetically in-line with how you wish to present your brand to potential consumers. 
  • Mobile Tours: Mobile tours combine the advantages of a brand booth with the addition of serving as essentially a moving billboard. A mobile tour involves having a branded vehicle travel through areas populated by your key demographic, making stops in hand-picked areas to engage with consumers.

    An essential component of this experiential market strategy is to make sure you do significant research into where your key demographic resides. You want your brand vehicle to be moving through population zones where you have the highest chance of being seen by potential consumers. The same goes for each stop in the tour; though not as focused as when using a brand booth, each stop should be somewhere guaranteed to produce valuable activations and connections. 

  • Virtual Showcase: if you design it properly, a virtual showcase can achieve the same level of customer engagement as an in-person event. If your product or service exists in the digital space, this is all the easier. Allowing a consumer to utilize a free version of the product, with possible guidance by an experienced ambassador, can achieve similar emotional connections to a brand booth or mobile tour. While this isn’t as efficient as a physical event, many of the same principles that work with any other experiential marketing strategy still apply.

Can I integrate my digital marketing strategies into these methods?

Digital and experiential marketing strategies can be successfully integrated to boost the effectiveness of any of these methods. Any type of experiential marketing strategy can benefit in the visibility added when you involve influencers relevant to your industry. For example: If you are an exercise related brand, find a fitness influencer on instagram to become involved in promoting your virtual showcase or mobile tour, or even participate directly in your brand booth. 

You also want to make sure to digitally telegraph the location of your brand booth, any stops in your tour, or the release date of a virtual showcase, depending on which method you choose. Creating searchable events on social media increases the odds that those who show up will be directly interested in your service or product, and reduce the amount of time wasted on participants who are less likely to connect with your brand.

Who does Experiential Marketing work best for?

Experiential marketing works best for brand’s whose product or service benefits from hands-on use, and the guidance of a brand ambassador. So, for example, if you have a physical product like a food or beverage, your brand would benefit greatly from utilizing an experiential marketing method. Brand ambassadors could pass out small samples, and give those trying your product a colorful presentation about what ingredients your brand uses, and where they’re sourced.

Experiential marketing strategies are also advantageous for those who want to make lasting activations. Experiential marketing activations can form longer lasting emotional bonds between the consumer and your brand. But what exactly are these activations?

Experiential Marketing Activations Definition:

Experiential marketing activations are defined by the level of brand recognition you receive from your experiential marketing strategy. So for every person that interacts with the brand experience you have designed, an activation would represent someone who connected personally with that experience. The more of these activations, the higher chance of conversion, and the greater increase in long term brand awareness and adoption.

Why experiential marketing works

The efficacy of traditional marketing has declined with younger generations for some time now. Millennials and Gen Z are willing to pay extra money just to avoid watching advertisements, and streaming companies have built revenue streams entirely on the elimination of traditional ads. That’s the reason many marketing companies are beginning to research how direct interaction connects with these demographics, and they’re seeing a much higher rate of success.

When a consumer gets to interact with a brand and product directly, a more genuine connection can be formed. Traditional marketing can be a little bloodless: the modern customer is aware that an ad is there simply to get you to buy. When someone interacts with a real person who is offering not only a free experience, but is available to answer any questions they may have, it humanizes your brand. Because at the end of the day, brands are made up of real people; experiential marketing makes it easier for the consumer to understand that, and connect with those people on a genuine level. 

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