Every business, blog, and website online is constantly striving to stand out from the crowd. Regardless of their individual services or products, they all have a brand that represents everything they stand for. It is this brand that fuels a connection between them and anyone who comes into contact with it. Of course…

Building a brand is easier said than done.

Many will utilize digital marketing tactics like social media campaigns and targeted advertising to build brand awareness, but what if there was something even more powerful? It’s called experiential marketing, and it’s going to change how you approach your entire branding strategy.

An Overview of Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing, also referred to as experience marketing, is an approach that seeks to create a campaign that directly engages consumers through as many of the five senses as possible. Ultimately, the goal of any experiential campaign is to forge an emotional bond between the consumer and the brand.

There’s no single way to create this type of experience, but there are plenty of things that contribute to a successful campaign. A great way to familiarize yourself with this type of marketing, is to look at some of the best examples from today’s biggest companies.

My personal favorite was the marketing for The Simpsons Movie in 2007. As part of an experiential approach, 20th Century Fox transformed twelve 7-Eleven locations into Kwik-E Marts from the television show.

Not only was the exterior of the store repainted, but the interior features various character standees and products on sale from the show like Buzz Cola, the iconic sprinkled donuts, and Krusty-O’s cereal. I personally have an unopened Buzz Cola on my shelf to this day.

Experimental Marketing

Obviously, this kind of example requires a huge brand and a huge budget, but this kind of experience isn’t exclusive to only the largest of brands. You can create something just as memorable as a small business or a blogger. Big or small, as long as you create a memorable experience and forge that emotional bond with your customer, then you’ve done your job.

As bloggers or small business owners, we have plenty of tools at our disposal to engage our readers like webinars, storytelling, interactive content, social media campaigns, and more. Here are some great examples of those tools. Let’s take a look at some tips that will help you utilize the tools at your disposal to create the ultimate experiential marketing campaign.

8 Tips for Creating a Memorable and Engaging Marketing Campaign

1. Establish Your Authority and Credibility

Prior to starting your experiential marketing campaign, you should first strive to establish yourself as the authority in your niche. People need to view you and your brand as the top authority in your niche. When they need something such as information or advice on that topic, they come to you. How do you make this happen?

The answer lies in creating high quality content that incorporates a few key characteristics:

  • Contains depth and detail
  • Links to all sources to build credibility
  • Gives the reader value in the form of information or actionable advice

Developing content like this from the beginning ensures that when your marketing goes live, your reputation will precede you.

2. Understand Your Audience through Buyer Personas

The foundation of any good marketing campaign lies in understanding your audience. If you want to connect with them, then you need to know them first. Utilize buyer personas to create an in-depth profile of your audience.

Buyer personas

These broad examinations help you ask and ultimately answer the big questions:

  • What are their needs, interests, and concerns?
  • How do they consume content (social media, blogs, mobile devices, etc)?
  • Who are they? What lives do they lead?

All of these questions can be answered by looking into your niche and seeing how they interact with your competitors online and on social media. Sometimes, simply asking these questions is enough to garner valuable information as well through surveys that offer incentives.

3. Create an Emotional Bond through Storytelling

The reason why experiential marketing is so successful is because it leaves the customer with a story to tell. Storytelling is a powerful tool for marketing that can be used in your marketing to instantly forge an emotional bond with your readers. This is a two-way street as well because both you and your customers should be encouraged to tell a story.

Now that you’ve created buyer personas and you understand your audience further, the next step is to examine your product or service and ask yourself these questions:

  • How does this positively affect my customer’s daily lives?
  • What situations would they require this in?
  • Why is the product/service so integral to them? Why do they need it?

Take your answers to these questions and put them into a story that shows your readers how their concerns or problems are solved by your product/service. Even better, encourage customers to tell their own stories and share them with your audience.

4. Engage the Five Senses

Many experiential marketing examples tend to be massive events where people can interact with a brand in the real world. You may be thinking how could I possibly engage five senses through the internet? Well, you may not be able to stimulate all five senses directly, but that doesn’t mean you can’t engage customers the same way these major events do.

Engaging all five senses at once would be an overload, so instead focus on the ones that you can actively pursue. In the aforementioned point about storytelling, we are engaging all five senses through the imagination. Consider these other tools:

  • Webinars – Engages the readers through sights and sound
  • Podcasts – Use your voice to engage the readers through sound
  • Free samples or demonstrations – engage the “touch” by encouraging your readers to interact directly with your brand

5. Use Brand Ambassadors

Many real world experiential marketing campaigns will take place in a public place or a convention. In order to drive people to the event or booth, brand ambassadors are used to spread the word in a unique or creative way. One example is the “Moolamen” in red suits that were promoting the app known as “Moolagram.”

These brand ambassadors dressed in red body suits and walked around with QR codes strapped to their chests. People could scan the code with their smartphones and learn how to register.

While you could set up shop at a convention, you can start creating brand ambassadors today and have them spread your brand through the digital space:

  • Partner with other sites or services that compliment your product and cross-promote
  • Ask satisfied customers to spread the word on their social media profiles
  • Offer free samples in exchange for an online post or impression from the recipient

6. Stay Consistent

Everything you do represents your brand and its image. Your values and ideals should be present in all of your marketing efforts. Any crack or change in your brand’s tone or approach can undermine everything you’ve worked for.

Brand image is a huge portion of what makes a business successful. Once you find your voice and your tone, never waver from that. Keep these things in mind:

  • Your word usage and tone should be the same across all forms of content
  • Establish your brand’s ideals and goals, then represent them in everything you do
  • Maintain these things when engaging with customers in casual conversation in the comments or on social media.

7. Make Sure Your Website is Ready

All of these efforts are going to drive people back to your website or blog. They will have an experience in mind that they associate with your brand and a positive image of what to expect. If they reach your website or your landing page and it’s not up to par, you will shatter their experience and lose everything you built.

Make sure that your website’s optimization, organization, and user experience are firing on all cylinders before you bring people to it. A tool like Woorank can be immensely helpful in this regard. A detailed review of your site can help you target all the proper elements.

WooRank review of example.com

Consider these elements:

  • SEO (contributes to your ranking and visibility online)
  • User Experience (directly affects your visitor’s satisfaction and happiness)
  • Social Media (how easy it is to engage with your brand)

8. Plan for the Long Term

Many people will refer to experiential marketing as an “event,” but it’s so much more than that. This is an ongoing effort that should never cease. Creating one memorable experience isn’t enough, you need to have plans in place and strategies to continue forging these bonds long into the future.

This means that your marketing plan should have the following considerations:

  • A consistent and ongoing plan
  • Manageable tactics in place
  • As many self-sufficient elements as possible

Final Thoughts

While today’s biggest brands are creating massive events and marketing stunts, anyone can join in and create memorable and engaging marketing through the use of these experiential marketing tips. How do you engage your readers and keep them coming back? What experiences do you provide?

Share your thoughts and your suggestions in the comments below!