Experiential marketing creates emotional ties between brands and customers. Discover how to leverage this strategy to generate new business growth.

The main goal of experiential marketing is to establish strong emotional bonds between businesses and consumers. Human emotions are a fundamental force behind our consumer patterns. This marketing technique helps create an emotional resonance between a brand and its customers, ultimately encouraging more customers to carry out desired behaviors.

In 2023, we anticipate this model growing even more as companies increasingly prioritize consumer involvement.

When done right, brands can transform shoppers into customers in retail settings. Your in-store experience matters, from more practical check-out alternatives via a mobile point of sale (POS), to shop-til-you-drop style giveaways. When every single customer enters a store, there is a significant opportunity to forge new connections or deepen existing ones. Retail businesses may use experiential marketing campaigns to emotionally engage with customers, communicate their brand messages, and ultimately win their business.

These experiences must be true to your brand while still touching the correct emotional chords with your audience if you want them to have an impact. Here are three experiential marketing ideas for retail firms to consider:

Promoting a new product: Consider experiential product testing. Or even seek input on a working prototype before spending money to bring it to market. Why not solicit honest user feedback from your clients while also developing a spectacular in-store environment that enables clients to “test drive” the product.  

Augmented reality: Imagine entering a store and using augmented reality to see a washer-dryer used in person rather than picturing how it would look in your home. This type of experience would likely inspire customers to tell others about it. 

Scavenger hunts: To encourage customer engagement, tie in incentives and other rewards. And make sure to take advantage of every opportunity to educate or advertise to customers at each stop along the quest. Every interaction strengthens the bond between that customer and your brand.

Trade booth experiences

One can argue that brands’ desires to interact with consumers during trade fairs and events gave rise to experiential marketing. It can be challenging to draw attendees’ attention at trade exhibitions, but those that succeed encourage a flurry of activity at their booths, creating enjoyable experiences.  

Events can be a wonderful way to test out new experiential marketing concepts that might later be successful in your physical stores. Here are strategies to try during events and trade shows:

Fundraising: Does your company support a good cause? Brands can develop original experiences centered around their goods and services while incorporating a call to action encouraging spectators to donate. Perhaps for every donation, staff can take a digital photo that the donor can share on social media. You can install donation trackers throughout the booth. People will become aware of your brand, connect with it on an emotional level, and donate to your company’s chosen charity. People who gave early in the event may return multiple times to check the donation tracker, creating more touchpoint opportunities. They’ll undoubtedly tell others to stop by your booth as well.

Virtual reality: Brands can bring outside experiences into the event space through virtual reality. Technology is quickly developing and prices are decreasing. No need for transportation and logistics when using virtual reality in your booth space. Combine creative thinking with technology for an immersive experience.

Demonstrations: Engage your potential customers with a product demonstration as a fun in-booth experience.

Sales rep-customer interactions

Brands can use experiential marketing tactics to better engage customers throughout rep-customer encounters while also collecting crucial consumer data. You want clients to remember their experience, relationship-building with the rep, and your brand. If your use of technology can help communicate your company’s narrative, all the better. It will help customers remember your brand over time, attracting more customers who are emotionally invested in it. These types of customers stay with brands for life.

Here are experiential marketing concepts brands can implement during the sales rep/client encounters:

Expected experiences: Do your salespeople consistently contact the same clients? If yes, develop a customer experience that builds on previous ones. Each meeting requires a standalone mini-experience that adds immediate value. It also leaves customers with a sense of curiosity and anticipation for the next one. It is challenging for salespeople to meet with customers, and this solution addresses it.

Anywhere e-commerce: What if everything your company sells is available for immediate purchase? This can be done in person with an iPad. You can more easily share products even when you’re not meeting in person by sending a text or email. You can hyperlink to a specific product on your e-commerce business page in a text message, allowing customers to purchase immediately.

This article was written by Joel Goldstein from Inc. and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

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