In the past, when senior marketers heard the words “experiential marketing,” one of the first associations was likely around stunts — or maybe even a connection to guerrilla marketing. It was something either done in a mall or on a crowded shopping street that had very little to do with AI, AR or IoT. Nowadays, progressive brands are integrating these technologies to offer complex, multifaceted experiences at scale.
Experiential is no longer a tactic added to the end of a long list of campaign activity. Today, it might even be the most important component of any promotion because it offers a scalable solution that drives sales, builds loyalty, provides consumer research and adds significant business value. Not only do the variety of experiential manifestations (pop-ups, turn-ups, takeovers, you name it) create rich, interactive, brand building engagements, but the experiences can spread exponentially through social and their success can be tracked in precise detail.
Bearing in mind all of the tools now available in the modern marketer’s tool box, the question on every CMO’s mind is: “Which strategy should I pursue and which technologies should I invest in?” Making the right decisions early in the planning process helps transform in-person engagements from immeasurable one-off PR stunts into data-valuable marketing with quantified ROIs.
Based on our deep study of experiential marketing, here are the most important strategies any brand can employ:
Presenting the Brand in the Right Mindset
Technology has the emotional and contextual awareness to provide marketers with malleable experience opportunities that feed off a visitor’s or audience’s energy, preventing an activation from feeling too overwhelming or, conversely, dull. Explicit (social sentiment, facial expressions) and subtle (biometric feedback, contextual awareness) cues can guide in-the- moment engagement. To make this work well, invest in elements like contextual and emotional awareness systems, facial recognition, biometric sensors and social syncing services.
Engaging the Consumer at The Right Moment
If you can get consumers to give you permission to understand their location, context and surroundings, you can target them at exactly the right space or moment to engage with an activation or enter an experience. On-site, contextual awareness can cue powerful moments, while, on a broader scale, this data can help an organization determine which locations and audiences to prioritize. This type of activity needs an investment in predictive analytics, geolocation services, NFC & RFID tech and voice or chat systems.
Scaling 1:1 to 1:Many
Brands can deliver one-to-one engagements to a wide approach based on their previous brand history, in-the-moment mindset, or expressed behaviors and needs. By making every interaction feel bespoke, brands can deliver deep experiences on a wide scale. You’ll need to invest in personalization systems, AI, facial recognition and social media profiling services.
Heightening the Brand Experience
You heighten the level of your consumers’s involvement by fully immersing them in a physical experience that engages all of their senses, and then extending the experience to their mobile devices. You can help your brand truly resonate with technologies such as virtual reality, augmented and mixed reality, and immersive video.
As audiences interact with a brand during an experience, background assistants can collect micro and macro data, analyze it and provide near-and long-term recommendations to improve corporate strategy. Smart marketers should look at employing voice and chat services, social syncing services, contextual and emotional awareness systems, biometric sensors, and big data analysis.
As entertainment media continues to fragment, and algorithms defuse the intentions to manipulate social media activity, digitally infused experiential marketing provides unique rich brand opportunities. Brands must consider how technologies play across all aspects of a campaign to enhance engagement and streamline activation and data collection.