Why would you pay hundreds of dollars for a front-row seat at a show, or concert, when you could see the same show from the comfort of your own home whenever and however you liked? From a practical perspective, it wouldn’t make any sense, yet concerts are sold out in minutes, and people will pay a fortune for a front-row seat at a sporting event.

The reason is that we all crave one very important thing: experience. The experience that you get at home when you’re curled up on the couch watching Netflix may be nice enough, but it’s nothing that you’re going to write home about.

This is why experiential marketing works. For startups that are just starting to earn their own reputation, experiential marketing could be the perfect way to make an impact on your target audience.

And today, you’ll learn how to think about your marketing as an experience so you too can reap the benefits of this type of marketing.

Experiential Marketing Theory

The experiential learning theory tells us that people can grow from experiences either by being exposed to it or being a part of it. This means that every time a brand creates an experience for their audience, they’re giving them the choice to either engage in that experience or at least have some impression of it. After all, it’s hard to see something like the Felix Baumgartner drop and not have a reaction.

The emotions and opinions that you invoke with your experience will create a deeply ingrained opinion about what your brand is, and what it can do. Thanks to social media, the spread of that branding potential are now wider than ever before. Around 49% of branded event attendees share videos of their experience.

Unlike typical marketing efforts, experiential goes far beyond the process of sending messages to an audience. Instead, it creates a live opportunity that allows your startup to interact with the people who matter most to them.

However, what’s not simple, is figuring out how to make it work for you.

Choose Your Digital Marketing Channels Carefully

Unlike typical marketing efforts, experiential goes far beyond the process of sending messages to an audience.

Give Them a Taste of Experiential Marketing

The easiest way to get involved with experiential marketing? Offer people a free sample. That is, give people a chance to try your product before they have to buy it is an ideal way to promote engagement and interact with the various senses of your customers on a deeper level. You’re not just using a product video to tell someone how delicious your new drink is – you’re giving them the chance to taste it for themselves.

According to results from Marketing Week, around 48% of people would prefer to try a new product before they buy it, and giving people free samples also helps to create a psychological phenomenon called the “rule of reciprocation.” In other words, if you give someone something for free, they feel like they owe you.

That’s why the Carlsberg poster in the UK which allowed people to pour their own pints was such a huge success. It gave people a chance to interact with the brand, and get something free out of it too. Plus, being able to pull your own pint in the middle of the street isn’t exactly an everyday experience, which makes it memorable too!

Give Them a Lesson

Sometimes, people aren’t ignoring your startup because your product or service isn’t any good, or because you don’t know how to play the social media game. There’s always a chance that people simply don’t understand you.

On top of that, if your marketing or advertising messaging isn’t clear enough of the benefits of your product are, customers could be left feeling baffled or completely uninterested. In fact, 58% of customer experience experts think that simplifying products should be a priority for businesses today.

While you can always post blogs, articles, and videos that help your customers to understand your product better, there’s always something a little more special about giving them an experience that lets them jump straight into your product and brand.

For instance, at Facebook IQ Live, the brand created real experiences based on data to bring the numbers to life and help people understand what they were trying to accomplish. It was a huge success too—with around 93% of all attendees leaving with what they believed to be valuable insights.

Give Them Something Completely Different

For the past few years, we started to see things like Augmented reality and VR headsets taking the front seat when it came to customer experience. This new technology gave customers the chance to interact with and explore brands from angles that they never had access to before. Today, more than half of all consumers say that they’d be more likely to purchase something from a brand with a VR experience.

As we move deeper in 2019, there will likely be a continued focus on new technology and virtual experiences from startups that allow users to become immersed in something entirely new. The only thing that the average marketing expert has to remember when getting involved with this kind of advertising, is that they can’t just do the same thing that everyone else is doing.

The reason why VR, AR, and other digital experiences are so popular right now, is that they’re novel. The problem with novelty is that it quickly wears off, and if you’re not offering a new and exciting experience, then you’re really not going to have much of an impact. Instead of investing a couple of dollars extra into a 360-degree video, ask yourself what you can do to introduce your customer to your brand from a new angle.

Helping Customers Experience Your Brand

Experience is undoubtedly an important part of modern marketing. As customers search for new ways to engage and empathize with their favourite brands, experiences can give your company a more immersive element that engages with consumers on a range of sensory levels.

Just make sure that you take the time to give your customers an experience that’s powerful, informative, convenient, valuable, and unique if you want to have great results.

About the Author

Ivan Kreimer is a content marketer at Foundr, a media company that helps entrepreneurs launch their online businesses. His advice has been featured in Entrepreneur and other sites. https://foundr.com/