Should we invest in digital or in-person marketing events? The brands we work with are constantly asking themselves this question. They often come to us when they’ve decided to go all in with in-person events. But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Digital and experiential marketing can play nicely together. One can enhance the effectiveness of the other!
If you’re interested in this integrated approach, here are a few ways digital marketing can be incorporated into your experiential marketing events.
1. A Giveaway
Have a giveaway that’s exclusive for in-person events. To enter the giveaway, the consumer needs to sign up for your email list or follow you on TikTok. We found the most successful way to get consumers to engage with a giveaway is to offer a guaranteed benefit – like emailing a discount code and the potential to win a higher-cost item. That way, they know they’re getting a benefit either way!
2. Photo Ops
How many of you have participated in a photo op at a big event? Whether it’s a green screen, a bunch of fun props, or even just branded backdrop, photo ops provide a great opportunity for engagement. Pro tip – professional lighting is a great way to draw attention to your photo op! Once you take a great photo, ask for their email to send them a digital copy.
Remember those mail-in rebate programs? You’d purchase a product, then send in the barcode and a receipt, and they’d mail you back a reimbursement for part, or all, of the cost of a product. Some companies are trying a modern-day version of this program for reimbursements. For example, if you purchase a product and upload a receipt, they can reimburse you through apps like Venmo. So far, these programs are seeing relatively low engagement, but it’s an easy add-on to an already existing experiential marketing program.
4. Custom Hashtags
Create a fun hashtag specific to your activation! All of our digital marketers can attest that having a clever hashtag is a great way to engage with your target audience. To stand out, try adding a video screen to highlight posts coming in with your hashtag, as this brings the activation full circle. You’re at the event, use the hashtag on social media, then see it on a screen at the event.
People love giving their opinion (especially if they know you are listening), so try to ask questions they wouldn’t expect! For example, tell them about a sustainability initiative you have implemented and give them this prompt: “Our goal is to leave this earth better than we found it. Which of these sustainability projects should we tackle next?” You can give them a list and an option to write in their own answers.
In our experience, most brands agree that experiential marketing and digital marketing aren’t enemies. They can be symbiotic. When done well, digital elements can enhance your in-person events and provide an avenue to stay connected with consumers after the event is over. The key is to think about the experience the digital addition creates. Is it more of a hassle than fun? Does it enhance or diminish the personal engagement? Would you participate in the online element if you didn’t work with the brand? These are the important questions to ask yourself before adding any of the elements we listed above.
Have you seen digital elements enhance an in-person event? If so, tell us about it in the comments!