Experiential Marketing: The Secret to Building Brand Loyalty

In today’s buyer-empowered marketplace, it is becoming increasingly difficult for companies to establish brand loyalty and effectively reach their target demographics. Audiences have become deafened to companies’ self-promotion, and standard marketing practices are falling short. In recent years, integrated marketing strategies have replaced more singular efforts. However, campaigns are oftentimes still missing a valuable component that is proven to broaden campaign reach and build brand loyalty: Experiential marketing.

Experiential marketing, also referred to as event marketing, is a method focused on directly engaging audiences and encouraging consumers to experience a brand. Whether you’re hosting a webinar, exhibiting at a tradeshow or using a street team to spread awareness, experiential marketing has the ability to transcend traditional marketing tactics and illuminate your brand.

When implementing experiential marketing tactics, there are a few guiding principles to keep in mind:

Know your audience.

Audiences have become desensitized to brands shouting at them to pay attention and instead crave a more organic approach to marketing. People like to feel as though they’ve discovered the brand themselves, which, in turn, can result in stronger consumer advocacy and brand loyalty. Events are the perfect way to provide potential customers with a memorable experience that can lead to long-term commitment and increased ROI.

There are countless ways to engage your audience through experiential marketing, but it’s important to keep in mind that not every form of engagement will reach your particular customer. Know your target demographic and choose an activation that appeals to them. Resist the urge to jump on the latest trends and curate an experience that’s true to both your brand and your audience. If you understand your audience and position your brand activation accordingly, people will be more likely to pay attention. 

Tell a story.

Storytelling is key to experiential marketing. Find the ethos in your brand mission and leverage that message to connect with your target demographic. From conception, your brand should tell a story that demonstrates the value customers receive when engaging with your product or services. This story should be integrated into every aspect of your brand strategy from logo and website to consumer education and beyond.

Experiential marketing offers the opportunity to strengthen your brand’s narrative and provide consumers with a tangible understanding of your product or service, while also clarifying the customer’s role within the brand.

Use technology to communicate your message.

One way to ensure consumer engagement is by applying a technological overlay to your real-world activation. Events offer face-to-face interaction with potential customers that can be significantly heightened with the use of technology. Whether you’re demonstrating the use of your product through VR headsets or projecting an interactive survey in your tradeshow booth, there are endless opportunities to engage your customer in a creative and tech-savvy way.

Engage community partners.

When possible, be sure to align yourself with complementary brands and like-minded businesses. Companies often fear that partnerships during event activation will dilute their own brand’s message. However, the right partner can provide tremendous value to your brand through cross-promotion opportunities, increased customer reach and sharing of additional resources. Don’t be afraid to spark strategic partnerships with brands that make sense. 

Make it memorable.

The saturated marketplace makes it essential to establish an engaging relationship with your audience. No matter how you choose to activate your brand, be sure to continue the momentum. Make the experience sharable through social media by clearly displaying handles and tags to ensure the interaction is captured and shared on social media platforms.

By collecting leads during the activation, you also have a perfect platform for follow-up communication with an audience that you know is listening. Use the opportunity to highlight what’s next or circulate a survey that will yield valuable insights.

According to Jack Morton’s New Reality 2012 findings, three out of four consumers strongly agree with this statement: “I only advocate for brands when I have had personal experiences with them.”

Whether you’re starting small or jumping into the biggest expo of the year, experiential marketing is a valuable method to enhance your current marketing strategy and take your brand to the next level in customer engagement.

By: Deirdre Purdy