Humans are emotional beings, we tend to act on the emotions generated by our surroundings. This has become a central theory in modern marketing practices but is still not fully realized by many companies who continue their marketing with outdated methods that miss out on the opportunity to influence their audience emotionally. Marketers have discussed this idea for decades now. Authors, Joseph Pine and James Gilmore said it best in their 1999 book, The Experience Economy, “As services and goods are commoditized, experience will emerge as the next step in progression of economic value, from now onwards, leading edge companies will find that their battlefield lies in staging experience.”   

In today’s hyper-competitive marketplace where differentiation is necessary to achieve, consumers are moving away from advertising, and the market is changing at the speed of light, experiential marketing has become a versatile and effective part of successful marketing strategies.

To define it, experiential marketing is a style of marketing that is often centered on a specific activation or series of activations to promote an event or product. Its goal is to use experiences to generate positive emotional responses to marketing messages. While traditional marketing alternatives tend to throw their message at consumers, experiential marketing invites them into that message as an active participant. In an age dominated by the social elements of digital media, consumers do not want to connect with a faceless corporation. Experiential marketing gives brands a tangible and authentic personality that consumers can have a genuine connection with.

At this point, you may be wondering, “How does experiential marketing affect consumer behavior in the long-term?” Fortunately, a 2018 consumer and brand survey by Eventmarketer found several promising stats they may just help experiential marketing win you over:   

“Events and experiences work very powerfully to drive sales – and significantly improve how consumers feel about and perceive brands.”

  • 85% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a company after participating in events and experiences.

  • 91% of consumers experience more positive feelings about brands after attending events and experiences.

“Event and experiential marketing continue to break away from other advertising and marketing channels in terms of effectiveness and value to consumers.”

  • Consumers rate events and experiences as 15% more effective at understanding product benefits than either social media advertising or online advertising.

Now, to be clear about this: I'm not saying that experiential marketing will completely replace your other marketing methods and strategies. What I am saying, is that it absolutely should be an important part of your overall marketing mix. Events and experiences make up a key part of integrated marketing strategies for 84% of the brands surveyed by Eventmarketer. They know that creating an emotional connection through experiences can turn strangers into consumers and consumers into brand advocates.

Finally, while experiential marketing can be a very powerful marketing tool, it does take advanced, out-of-the-box thinking to create the right type of experiential marketing campaign to connect on an emotional level with your ideal audience. With misguided targeting or uninspired creative, you’re more likely to end up disturbing, rather than exciting, your audience. That’s where we come in.

Culture Vulture has over 17 years of creating memorable experiences. We’ve worked with for all types of companies and venues, from indie app launches and small jazz concerts to Cirque du Soleil and Guns N’ Roses stadium shows. If you’re interested in experiential marketing but not sure where to start or have an idea but need help executing it, we are here to help!