The Key to a Successful Experiential Marketing Event

Diving into experiential marketing can be scary. Often, the price tags are large and at big events, you don’t have time for a learning curve – you’ve got one shot to nail it. So, how can you ensure your activation will be successful? It really all comes down to one question, “What’s in it for them?”

It sounds so simple, right? But so many field marketing managers focus so heavily on what they hope to get out of an event: sales, emails, impressions, etc., that they forget that it’s really all about what they are giving.

If your experiential marketing activation is centered around a small giveaway or a chance to win, that may be a great way to snag some emails, but that’s not the recipe for creating a deep connection with your consumer. Successful experiential marketing campaigns are all about creating a memorable experience. Let me give you a few examples.

The Key to a Successful Experiential Marketing Event Every year I’ve attended, American Express has an activation at the ACL Music Festival. Cardholders can go upstairs where they have an elevated position and a clear line of sight to one of the main stages. Every year, my Amex-holding friend invites me to this area. If I didn’t have her, I’d seriously consider opening my own account. I mean – that view is everything. Opening a new credit card is a huge buy in, but the experience this brand has created is so unique and fun that it may be worth it…depending on who’s in the lineup that year.

The Key to a Successful Experiential Marketing Event H-E-B, our local grocery store chain here in Central Texas is the title sponsor of the Trail of Lights. This is an iconic Austin holiday experience. It’s a long winding display of light tunnels, holiday displays of all kinds and, of course, hot cocoa. It could be another run of the mill light display, but it’s not. The Trail of Lights sets up special times for families, students, and runners, creating a unique experience for each group. I have attended early morning runs on the Trail as well as evening walks with my kids. It’s been a memorable, engaging experience each time. On my most recent run down the Trail, H-E-B provided free post-run breakfast for the runners. What a way to connect with these hungry fitness enthusiasts!

The Key to a Successful Experiential Marketing Event Recently, we organized a sponsored beach clean-up for our client, Killer Creamery. Our goal was to keep hundreds of pounds of plastic out of the Southern California ocean. We had a branded set up as well as ice cream and music. We found it was a way to connect with mission-oriented consumers who connect with Killer Creamery’s commitment to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Group. We found consumers were highly engaged in person and online with this experiential marketing activation.

As you plan your next events, begin by asking yourself these questions. What’s in it for the consumer? Would you genuinely want to participate in the experience? Will it be memorable enough for the consumer to remember your brand after the engagement is over? If you don’t have great answers to these questions, brainstorm with your team until you do! The time invested in creating a unique brand experience is worth it.

Are you a brand with an experiential marketing idea? We’d love to help you bring it to life!


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