Five reasons why you should focus on experiential marketing in 2020

Five reasons why you should focus on experiential marketing in 2020

Experiential marketing, also called engagement marketing, is a strategy for directly engaging consumers in a brand experience. It allows the consumer to be part of a campaign and form a relationship with the business.

It’s well documented that consumers who have an opportunity to try before they buy are more likely to purchase a product the same day. According to the Harvard Business Review publication, Welcome to the Experience Economy, an ‘experience’ occurs when a company intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event. And there are both short-term and long-term benefits to experiential marketing. 

Here, we’ll explore five reasons why experiential marketing is so effective, and why it deserves pride of place in your 2020 marketing mix.

1. Authenticity

 You may not be able to compete with the budget of global brands, but by tapping into the power of experiential marketing, you can build brand awareness and persuade consumers to choose your products based on merit.

British cider, gin and liqueur brand Cranes Drinks are the perfect case study. Founded in 2012, Cranes Drinks products are now available in Asda, Morrisons and Co-op. But this is not to suggest that it’s easy to compete against big brands with hefty marketing budgets.

So how did Cranes Drinks make the leap into the mainstream? 

Experiential marketing formed a key part of the journey. Earlier this year, we helped the company run a series of product demonstrations in Costco stores. By allowing prospective customers to try their products, without any financial commitment, Cranes Drinks saw an immediate increase in sales.

2. Emotional engagement

The second reason you might want to consider investing in experiential marketing in 2020 is that one-on-one interaction with customers, done well, breeds brand loyalty.

In The fine art of conversational selling, we explained how we teach Fizz brand ambassadors to adopt conversational selling techniques. Rather than being pushy and going for the hard sell, they learn to engage in a two-way conversation with customers.

Engaging in respectful conversations and making an emotional connection with customers, rather than going for the hard sell, has two benefits:

  1. An immediate impact on sales. A 2017 study found that sales reps who made their pitches conversational generated significantly more sales.
  2. An increase in brand loyalty. A customer who buys a product after making a connection with a brand ambassador at a product demo is more likely to choose your brand time and time again.

3. Shareability

Recent research conducted by Google and Ogilvy found that consumers are more influenced by word of mouth when making purchasing decisions than they are by print media, TV, and other forms of advertising.

Although brands need to connect with their audience online, we think there’s still something impactful about face-to-face interaction. Plus, in-person events often find their way back online, anyway!

If consumers have a great experience, the event can be great material for social media, blogs, and forums. For instance, last year, fashion retailer ASOS launched a campaign to reward their advocates with freebies and discounts. In return, ASOS found that the advocates began sharing pictures of their outfits on social media and writing about them on their blogs.

4. Consumer-driven

Did you know that:

  • 65% of consumers will purchase a product promoted at an event 1… 
  • 35% of customers who try a sample will buy the product on their shopping trip 2, and…
  • 24% of people will replace items on their shopping list with a product they sampled 2?

Sources: (1) Event & Experiential Marketing Industry Forecast & Best Practices Study, (2) Mobile Outdoor Media Tools are Perfect for Product Sampling

One of the reasons experiential marketing is so effective is that it is focused on the interests of consumers.

They can ask questions. They can choose which products they want to sample. They can try without any financial risk. And they can decide for themselves whether they like the product before they buy.

And if they have a good experience, they are far more likely to decide to buy from your brand—on their own, without being pressured by a salesperson.

5. Direct feedback from consumers

The fifth and final reason why you might wish to consider investing in experiential marketing in 2020 is that it’s a golden opportunity to collect feedback from customers.

How often do you get to stand face-to-face with your prospects and customers, and get their direct and immediate feedback on your products and brand?

At a product demo in the run-up to Christmas last year, consumers kept asking Lindt brand ambassadors why their mint flavour chocolates weren’t available to try. Great feedback!

This told Lindt that their customers were particularly interested in their mint chocolates. They were able to use this information to include the product in future demos and/or make changes to their other marketing initiatives.

2020 is just around the corner. Have we persuaded you to consider including experiential marketing in your plans for the new year? If so, see what WDS can do to help.