Getting Started with Experiential Marketing

Does your brand want to create an experiential marketing event? Do you know where to begin? If the answer is no, don’t worry! The process can seem daunting, but in reality, if you follow these eight simple steps, you can create an unforgettable experience for your brand! We’ll even provide some inspiration to get you started.

Observe and gather information

The first thing you’ll want to do is find inspiration. The best way to tackle this is research… and then more research. Deep dive into different brand activations.

Ask yourself questions:

  • What made these events successful (or failures)?
  • What stands out?
  • How can we create something unique?

Identify brands that blew you away with their activations. For the NBC Sports Group, they took advantage of the delayed Summer 2020 Olympics. With so much excitement surrounding the competition, they had to find a creative way to be different.

Get to know your consumers

Once you’ve gathered inspo, you need to get into the mind of your target audience. The event attendees are the people who’ll determine your event’s fate. You want to make sure that whatever your activation is, it captures the attention of your consumers. Understand what people love about your brand and identify what matters to your consumers. This can be done through social media platforms, surveys, and general feedback.

NBC capitalized on people’s desire to post on social media and showcase their “insta-worthy” content. They increased the effect by entering those who posted into a drawing for a chance to win a prize.

Know your goal

Without concrete goals set for your brand, the event won’t be a success. Determining your goal is the most essential part of planning any activation. It’s how you measure whether or not you get a return on investment.

You can measure return on investment, or ROI, through key performance indicators such as the number of consumers retained, increased web traffic, call to action rate, etc.

This is when you ask yourself WHY. Why are you creating the event? What motivations do you have for your brand? You’ll also use this time to determine a call to action after the event. What immediate action do you desire for your brand? For NBC, the goal was to raise awareness and promote their channel nationwide, and that’s just what they did!

Determine the value you’ll provide

What are attendees going to get from coming to your event? Audiences want to be reassured that their time is not wasted. The worst thing you can do for your brand is leave attendees wishing they didn’t participate in your activation. This will decrease brand loyalty and leave negative impressions on your audience. NBC added value to their activation by allowing participators to win a significant prize for posting their photos on social media.

Engage as many senses as possible

The best experiential marketing is done by appealing to all five senses. Don’t worry! It’s easier than you think! Be intentional with your color choices. Pick colors that capture attention. Have music that matches your brand playing in the background. Provide hands-on experiences for the attendees and have sample food or drink. NBC created life-size Olympic rings that were accurate in color, giving them an easy identifier. They also allowed people to come and climb on the rings for pictures, which were appealing to touch.

Go to your audience

You want to make your event simple and easily accessible for your audience. In other words, bring the activation to them! When considering the demographics for your target market, include the type of space that would be most receptive. Location is everything! You want to take the time to research different options and make the right decision. NBC traveled 8,000 miles via highway by the end of their activation, visiting 25 states and setting up activations in prominent cities along the way!

Create a unique experience that matches your brand

You’re finally ready to execute your experiential marketing event! Take note of how the audience is engaging with the event. Observe the elements that bring attendees excitement and things that didn’t work as you hoped they would. Listen to the attendees for feedback. You’ll be able to tell what you’ve done that sets your brand apart from other experiential marketing activations they’ve been to. People should leave with smiles on their faces and positive connections with your brand! NBC used the 13-foot rings to bring Olympic fans together. Just like they do with their broadcasting station, they put on an event that reached the nation!

Measure, analyze, and improve

Once you’ve concluded your event, it’s time to reflect. Did you achieve your goal? Ideally, the answer is yes. In that case, your event was a success, and you’re an experiential marketing superstar! You can look at your key performance indicators, which measure how effective your marketing strategies are, to see what aspects your brand can improve on and what worked well. There is ALWAYS room for improvement! NBC measured its success by how many posts were created with the hashtag rings across America and how many people were present at each activation site.

You can do it! Getting started with experiential marketing is easier than it may seem. At the end of the day, if you can provide authentic experiences that engage your consumers and immerse them in your brand, you’ll be successful! For more inspiration, check out our case studies. The opportunities are limitless!