Commentary

Why Experiential Marketing Is A Must This Holiday Season

Headlines will tell you the holiday season has been taken over by digital. This Cyber Monday marked Amazon’s biggest shopping day in the company’s history, and according to Shopify ecommerce is up, mobile shopping is growing and even email marketing is making a resurgence.

Still and always, holiday is a time when people crave togetherness and IRL experiences that are worthy of their time (and social feeds). Marketers can capitalize on this desire and view it as an opportunity to address challenges that aren’t easily solved by other marketing mediums, ensuring everything ladders up together for one cohesive and compelling message.

To successfully engage your customers via the experiential mode during the holidays, leverage these best practices:

Fish where the fish are. Every major city has a handful of hubs where everyone goes to experience holiday magic — think Rockefeller Center or Bryant Park in New York City. Rather than try to pull people out of their natural traffic patterns, take advantage of the crowds and desire for dwell time by popping up with a relevant experience that adds to their fun.

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Surprise & delight. In high-traffic areas, standing out is critical. From the design of the space to thoughtful touches, your brand experience should be elevated and differentiated from how you typically show up.

Replicating a retail space and simply moving it to a different location does little to engage people with your brand and/or advance your message or story.  When Uber was trying to build brand awareness, it famously delivered puppies, ice cream — and, during the holidays, 12 days of live music performances, which all underscored its on-demand benefit.

Marketing as a service. What needs do consumers have in the hectic holiday environment that your brand is positioned to solve? Storing packages? Phone charging? Simple activities for the kids? A curated gifting experience that checks things off their to-do list?

Offer something of value that underscores your product benefits and earns your spot on their holiday list.

Connect through meaning. People might remember the brand, product or service you showed them, but they’ll be more likely to remember the way you made them feel, especially during the holiday season.

Create an experience or element that’s value-driven and engages people around an emotion, a gesture or an uplifting message, and you’re one step closer to a consumer relationship that lasts.

Lastly, leverage your other marketing channels to promote and support the experience, ensuring the impact reaches far beyond those you touch directly, and that all your marketing efforts are working together to achieve your overall goal.

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