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Make customers part of the story with experiential marketing!

Make customers part of the story with experiential marketing!

Not so long ago, many brands were able to easily reach their target groups via social media platforms or search engines and always maintain brand awareness at the highest level via these channels. As we move toward a cookie-free Internet today, marketers need to consider alternative paths. Among these alternatives, experiential marketing stands out, transforming consumers into heroes of brand stories. 

The Internet used to be a place where search engine advertising and social media targeting became success stories in the not-too-distant past. Then things changed, new channels emerged and everyone became a content producer. As the number of contents increases and one generation follows the previous one, users' attention spans become shorter and they get less susceptible to advertising. The impact of even the most creative social media campaigns lasts mere hours, or even minutes. On the other hand, many brands have started to allocate their marketing budgets to digital media, as competition on the internet continues to intensify. The data Hopin has compiled on this topic proves that brands that only focus on digital marketing activities are not on the right track.

  • Users do not click on any website in about 65% of Google queries.
  • The average reach of Facebook pages has dropped to 0.08%.
  • The same is true for Instagram, where a post reaches less than 1.6% of the page's followers.
  • 85% of content is shared less than 10 times. 

The increasing media literacy of consumers and potential target groups makes the work of brands more difficult. Marketing teams of companies looking to improve brand perception and increase brand awareness now have their plates full! Because the world of marketing is changing day by day and consumers are looking for customer experiences that make them part of the story, heroize them, and make them part of brand perception. Brands that want more customer interaction need to closely follow emerging trends like experiential marketing and put them at the center of their marketing strategies. 

After a brief introduction to today's marketing, we can begin to dive deeper into Experiential Marketing, which is the main topic of this article. 

What is experiential marketing? 

In short, experiential marketing is a marketing technique that aims to emotionally connect consumers with businesses by offering brand experiences beyond products and services.

According to Salesforce's State of Marketing report, 68% of marketers say their brands face more competition in customer experience. Today's consumers are looking for experiences that excite and inspire them. They want to communicate with brands, offer something to the brand and to learn from the brand. Indeed, the Internet and even popular concepts like Web 3.0 and Metaverse, are doing just that. At this point, customer loyalty is achieved through experiential marketing, i.e. loyalty marketing. 

This concept, also known as engagement marketing, not only leads consumers towards brands' products and services but also allows them to really "experience" the brand. Memorable and unique experiences offered by loyalty marketing, where brands can interact with consumers directly, without intermediaries and without context, create an emotional connection between the brand and the consumer. 

This marketing technique is based on brands interacting with their consumers through live events. Experiential marketing campaigns like festivals, flash mobs, promotional events, award ceremonies, outdoor installations, or executed through digital tools such as augmented reality and metaverse, help to raise longer-lasting brand awareness as they get embedded in consumers' memories. 

If you're ready now, let's take a quick look at why engagement marketing is so important for brands looking to increase customer engagement.

Why is experiential marketing important?

We can give four reasons why this marketing technique is so important at a time when consumers are looking for new and exciting experiences.

1) Personalizes loyalty

According to Salesforce data, 84% of consumers expect brands to treat them as a real person, not just a number. Consumers want to establish a human connection with the brands they love and to be a part of the community that the brand represents. Here, experiential marketing stands out as the best way to involve consumers in a brand-designed experience. Consumers who can connect with the brand, and other people who love the brand in brand-designed experiences, feel as if being part of a community and believe they are valued by the brand. When creative experiences are designed, these campaigns hold a remarkable place in customers' memories and maximize customer loyalty. 

2) Establishes strong correlation between products and emotions

There are important reasons for consumers to choose a brand's product or service over another. The brand may represent a memory, it has a more effective product, or its bond with its consumers is more realistic. Engagement marketing serves to create this third rationale. Seamless and consistent customer experiences created and connected across multiple channels play a role in increasing customer engagement with the brand. Companies that want to ensure brand development must recognize that they need to create positive emotions in their customers in every channel and at every point of their experience, and they need to know that positive emotions make it easier for consumers to connect more with the brand. 

3) Touches consumers' lives 

Years ago, brands were cold, large structures with no physical presence, no communicative aspects. Helped by the new language and tone favored in social media, a humane approach was captured for a time, but its impact did not last long. Consumers felt distant to brands. But today it does not have to be like that. Loyalty marketing campaigns that bring your consumer community face-to-face and compare them to your brand and other community members are considered one of the most advanced and effective ways to create positive touch points with customers. Companies that manage to connect these experiences are 70% more likely to attract customers and achieve success. 

4) Creates moments worth sharing

The vast majority of the Internet consists of content produced by consumers. Considering that today almost everyone is positioned as a brand with their own name on channels like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok willing to share all details about their lives on these channels, the creative experiences created by brands always have the potential to be shared. In an age where influencer marketing has become a profession and people make purchasing decisions based solely on the experiences of the people they follow, a positive experience you create as a brand can allow you to reach more potential customers than you can imagine. 

How is experiential marketing done? 

It actually has commonalities with other marketing campaigns.

  • Inspiration: Companies looking to strengthen their brand awareness in the eyes of consumers should firstly have a look at the national and global campaigns, of which we have compiled some examples at the end of this article, before designing an engagement campaign.
  • Target audience: Details such as what customers and potential audiences like, what is important to them, what they do in their free time and where they spend their time are must-knows when executing a campaign. 
  • Objective: Of course, every campaign needs to have a core purpose. When you can lay out in quantifiable terms what it is that you seek to achieve, this will give you more oversight in determining whether your marketing spend is target-oriented and serves its purpose. 
  • Sensations: Sensory marketing, a close ally of experiential marketing, aims to appeal to sensory organs other than sight and hearing in order to build an emotional connection with the consumer. Because a fragrance or room design appeals to senses such as smell and touch, it can have quite a powerful effect on the consumer.
  • Design and implementation: After the target audience is identified, the purpose is determined and the creative idea is formulated, the design and implementation stage can begin. Here, it is important to consider environmental and social sensitivities to prevent the campaign from turning into a crisis for the brand.

Finally, using online PR services such as B2Press and sharing the details of the campaign with the media through newsworthy press releases play an important role in helping the campaign reach out to more people.

Experiential marketing in 2022

2022, following 2020, which we can call a year of shock, and 2021, which was spent in search of a new normal, promises many opportunities for brands in terms of innovative marketing activities.

Hybrid events are still going strong: All activities that moved to the online environment with the pandemic still maintain their online presence with hybrid models. This is because online activities remove geographical boundaries through the use of technologies such as augmented reality. According to a survey by agency EA, 3 out of 5 B2C marketing professionals are considering using digital components such as live voting and on-demand content in their events focused on experiential marketing. 

Our article "How to hold an online press conference in 4 steps" could be an inspiration for your next campaign. 

Sustainability, transparency and brand values are at the top of the list: With the inclusion of Generation Z, which is more sensitive to social and global issues, in consumer segments, brands need to demonstrate in their campaigns the importance they attach to concepts and values such as sustainability, transparency, and gender equality. Of Generation Z consumers who participated in a survey conducted by NRF, 60% expect brands to value their opinions. On the other hand, it is well known that Generation Z expects social activism from brands. According to a Forrester survey, one in two Gen Z consumers prefers brands that align with their core values. At this point, brands need to review all their processes from production to delivery in light of these principles and design experiential campaigns appealing to consumers that hold these values dear. 

If concepts such as brand presence and brand value are of interest to you, we recommend you take a look at our article on the concept of digital PR.

Metaverse fever: With the rise of wearable technologies, virtual reality, and metaverse platforms creating their own economies, many brands are now investing in metaverse on multiple platforms. As companies open their first stores or offices on platforms like Decentraland, experiences designed in virtual universes are also exciting. It is anticipated that 2022 will see campaigns where brands create their own virtual marketplaces and consumers experience these places using wearable technologies and with their unique digital avatars. 

NFT and Community Awareness: NFTs, redefining ownership and digitalizing the art industry, open the doors to a new world when considered in the context of metaverse. On the one hand, there are new companies that only produce sneakers for the metaverse while on the other, leading brands such as Nike and Adidas are launching collections in collaboration with digital artists. These collections not only open up a new revenue channel for brands, but also offer consumers the opportunity to belong to a digital community. At this point, NFTs are regarded as experiential campaigns with community-oriented projects that give consumers various privileges. 

Examples of experiential marketing from global brands 

In recent years, the world of marketing has witnessed many campaigns where global brands design creative experiences and recognize the impact of loyalty marketing on customer engagement. 

Oreo —Global Oreo Vault: In 2008, a Svalbard Global Seed Vault was established in Norway where 1 million seeds were stored that could be used if something bad happened to the world. Inspired by this campaign, the cookie brand Oreo built in Norway a vault to store its cookies and recipes that can withstand an asteroid impact. 

IKEA —Fifty fifty: Global furniture brand IKEA's campaign featuring Swedish-born singer Zara Larsson for March 8, International Working Women's Day in 2021, broadcast a card game called Fifty Fifty on Instagram stories to draw attention to the fact that women do three times more housework at home than men. 

Yumoş — Yumoş Teddy Bears: Yumoş's outdoor installation in İstanbul Nişantaşı for the launch of its new detergent product created a fun image for Istanbul residents worth sharing on social media. The brand, which decorated the exterior of the Tinçel apartment block on Rumeli Street with 89 teddy bears, conveyed the message "Yumoş detergent is very good". 

If you need more information on how to boost your online reputation with a press release, this article may interest you. 

In this article, we tried to touch upon various aspects of experiential marketing. If you want to develop a more effective marketing strategy for your brand, you can visit the B2Press library and contact Online PR service B2Press.

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