Picture this: you say the right things, you behave the right way... but they're still just not that into you. Gone are the days when a pretty face and a catchy pick-up line is enough to "slide into their DMs". Now, it pays to be different.
Obviously, we’re not talking about dating (but call us with tips please). We’re talkin’ marketing, of course. When it comes to the marketing world, there’s a new hotshot in town that’s turnin’ heads: experiential marketing. You may be asking, “experien...what?!” Don’t worry, we’ve done the research and found the hottest trends of the year - so you get to stick to the fun stuff.
Also known as engagement marketing, experiential marketing invites audiences to interact with a business in real-time. To put it simply, experiential marketing is brand storytelling and story living.
When on a date, who wants to be talked at? The same goes for marketing. Rather than outdated, one-way marketing strategies, experiential marketing gives consumers the opportunity to experience a brand in a fun and memorable way. Interact, if you will. The result? A deeper connection between consumer and brand. Cha-ching!
As brands move away from traditional marketing, the experiences that audiences are walking away with are more critical than ever before. Let’s take a look at this year’s trends in experiential marketing:
1. Branding Without a Name
If a company was to strip away their name would consumers be able to identify their brand? When carried out correctly, experiential marketing has the ability to transform brands into multisensory experiences. These fully immersive experiences incorporate all five senses to create a positive and memorable experience (unless you have a 6th sense…. and then they use all six). This, in turn, leads to a more authentic interaction and a greater brand retention. From syntax down to colors and textures, brands are amplifying their customer relationships through experiential marketing.
2. Make It Personal
Research has shown that humans have an attention span of less than eight seconds - shorter than that of a goldfish. While the internet has opened up a world of opportunity for business owners and entrepreneurs, it has also led to an age of disconnection and information intake overload. In a time of impersonal marketing, businesses must work to humanize their brand in a way that connects with consumers on a personal level. Otherwise... you might as well just buy a goldfish (really, you can buy one) to talk to.
By tailoring an experience to a personal level, brand experiences can become more impactful and more memorable. It’s crucial to learn about your audience, their likes and their dislikes, which you can then use to deliver a tailored experience that resonates personally.
3. Deliver the Unexpected
Agency AE found that “60% of industry professionals said surprise and delight is the #1 trend for delivering impact and 55% are already planning to use it in the next 18 months.” So, what’s your plan? When customers are presented with surprise and delight activations, they tend to be more open and receptive to the experience. So pull out that thinking cap and don’t be afraid of stepping out of the box...your customers (and brand loyalty) will thank you!
4. Non-Traditional Venues
Traditional venues, such as storefronts, landmarks or festivals, have proven to provide consistent traffic and accessibility. However, in today’s saturated market it pays to be different (cough, cough point #3). Rather than selecting the path most traveled, shake things up and choose a venue that will create an unforgettable experience from the moment customers enter. Non-traditional venues give your customers something to create a buzz about, something to share with their friends on and off social media. Think of it this way: the goal is to surprise and delight unexpecting consumers.
In 2015 Bhakti Chai, Boulder’s award-winning micro-brewed chai tea, decided to step outside the box with a cross-country pilgrimage. The kicker? Bhakti said goodbye to a traditional promotional tour and hello to the first ever US Tuk Tuk Tour, starring Ginger, the chai tea eTuk.
Ginger and her driver, Mark, visited more than 20 cities across the US to visit fans and customers (you should definitely click that link) who sought a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Serving up sustainably conscious brews with a socially conscious vehicle, the pair partnered with other companies across the country whose missions aligned with Bhakti’s. They visited CorePower Yoga studios, marathons, food festivals, Whole Foods, and nonprofits, as well as partnering with GoPro to film the adventure.
The result? Hype, brand awareness and a stronger connection between Bhakti, Ginger and their fans. Can we get a tuk yeah?!
Experience The Unexpected
Combine these trends and what do you get?! Not a hot date...but what they will get is: strengthened customer loyalty, increased brand awareness and lasting impressions with customers. Experiential marketing has the ability to elevate and transform the relationship between brand and consumer.
$$$$! (Sorry folks, money still can’t buy love).
Check out eTuk USA on Instagram for the latest in experiential marketing!