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Event vs. Experiential - Marketing at its finest

For years, people have been using the terms “experiential” and “event” in the field of marketing interchangeably. In some aspects, experiential marketing and event marketing are synonymous. For example – you visit a tattoo carnival. You explore the different kiosks, check out the various artists and maybe get a small tattoo as well. The experience for each visitor is going to be different since they have the option of merely watching an artist at work, clicking photos with successful installations or they can become the canvas for someone. In this case, they are visiting an event, where the experience is different for each visitor.

There are certain instances where experiential marketing and event marketing are exclusive of each other. Most of the event marketing strategies include one-way communication. For example –a pop-up concert, where the audience gathers and watches a performance. They are the part of a brand-sponsored event for one evening, but there is no way the audience can communicate with the brand itself. The company remains an intangible entity as it does during a social media marketing campaign or a traditional advertising campaign. In short, the communication is not an active one, and the audience is a passive component of the strategy.


Target an event that offers extraordinary experiences

When an event utilises a two-way communication channel, it can uplift itself to the level of an experiential campaign. It is imperative for any brand to open at least one two-way communication channel for speaking with the audience as well as listening to them. It can be a little tricky for the first-timers. You can find more at the event marketing agency, Roots3 Productions. One of the most remarkable experiential campaigns was Delta's "Stillness in Motion." It invited people to come into their spa-like arrangement and find comfort.

The objective of this campaign was to tell the target customers that Delta promotes the personalised comfort of each flier. They set up the room with various sensors that detected the person's heartbeat as they settled into their comfortable positions. The colours around the room changed, and the music faded or rose accordingly. Although all visitors walked into the same place, the experience they had was unique. Delta managed to leverage state of the art technology to offer an exclusive experience to each potential flier at the same location. That is the beauty of experiential marketing.


It is not about selling products

Experiential marketing is one of the most innovative methods for introducing new products. New brands looking for a broader market can use a blend of event marketing and experiential marketing for selling merchandise. However, the biggest gain from these unique events is the customer interaction and the data. For any new and small company, customer data is the bloodline of the business. Real-time information of the existing clients and potential buyers can change the returns of the quarter for the better. The impact of a marketing event like the one above can be instant or it may take some time to show. The timeline will depend on the type of product and the kind of interaction you have had with your target audience.


Go to your audience

Any brand interested in hosting an experiential campaign should think about the location and time. For example – if you want to promote an all organic and natural energy boosting drink, you might want to try the places health conscious people frequent. It can be in front of a gym, or a college campus. Placing a pop-up store in front of a playschool or kindergarten may not be the best idea, although you might rope in a few health enthusiast mothers and a few sleep-deprived teachers. The primary objective of any event marketing campaign is to get the maximum response possible from the target audience. So, the brand has to take the product to the audience.


Give your audience time to prepare

For doing that you need to find the enthusiastic customers. How do you expect to see your real audience if you have no idea how to look for them? You can always check your social media pages for clues. Where do the majority of your customers and target populace frequent? Do they spend more time at the mall? Do they love art museums? Are you more likely to find them in the busy streets lining hundreds of offices? Or, do they like the parks on sunny afternoons? Locating your audience is one of the critical parts of any experiential campaign. Getting it right will be a vital factor to have a successful campaign for your brand.

Never leave the event to chance

Next, you need to communicate the time. Once you find out where you can reach them, you need to tell them when. You must mention time for the event so your target audience can be present. We all love the magic of surprises, but all the magic will vanish once you have a thin crowd. To maximise the impact, you need an impressive turnout. You can choose to inform the press if you like, or you can take charge of your brand promotions. Encourage your participants to share their experience online. The foolproof way to do this is to incentivise the process. Offer them gifts and discounts for your exclusive products once they share their in-event images on Instagram and Facebook with the branded hashtags.

How to immortalise the event?

While launching an experiential marketing campaign, always remember that you are not providing the participants with merchandise and samples only. That is what companies have done since the genesis of business. You are offering them a slice of exclusivity that comes with just your brand. You are giving them the experience of a lifetime that they should speak about on social media. Give them enough positive reinforcement to continue the social media trend for at least two weeks after the event ends. You might need an event manager cum social media manager for that, but hiring one would be a long-term investment.

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