How experiential events can create more meaningful relationships with consumers

By Ben Cook-Northrop | 01 Oct 2017

According to AdWeek, marketers are now "shifting dollars into experiential marketing" to create direct connections and more meaningful relationships with customers, with one in three CMOs now expected to allocate 21-50% of their budget to brand experience. What's great about experiential events is that they offer the opportunity to have physical interaction with the brand or product, while also encouraging social media shares. There's also the potential for them to drive links from relevant publications, which can help to increase brand awareness and visibility. What's more, the nature of the interactions means that people may want to share their contact information, which can prolong brand interactions and deepen conversations, further strengthening the brand relationship.

Here's why companies such as M&Ms and Google are turning to experiential events to drive awareness and engagement:

Multichannel approach

Experiential events are a great way to create a multichannel campaign, as they offer the opportunity to join forces across teams and agencies to really drive a message to your target audience. That connection can be achieved through:

  • Social: Used to promote engagement and reach throughout the campaign period, increasing brand awareness through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (it's also worth considering creating geo-targeted filters for the event day
  • Content: Develop a survey for people on the day, collect data, create a video the experience, etc. so you have unique, relevant content which can be hosted on a campaign landing page and then outreached by your Digital PR team
  • PR: Push content and data points based on the event day to relevant publications to increase brand awareness and links through to the campaign page
  • Blogger engagement: Invite relevant bloggers to your event to increase reach and engagement while also promoting your brand to your desired audience

It doesn't have to cost the world

Experiential events don't necessarily need to have an enormous budget behind them to be a success, it all comes down to what your campaign KPIs are. We ran the 'No Sock Left Behind' campaign for Currys PC World last year to highlight the launch of the new Samsung Addwash; what made the washing machine unique was that it had an additional door that you could throw in your forgotten items mid-wash.

The event was held in King's Cross station, and included:

  • A giant 10-foot high washing machine to draw attention and create buzz and provide a photo opportunity
  • A competition where the public returned 'missing socks' to an AddWash machine to be in with a chance of winning £1,500
  • A social competition where we asked the public to Tweet a picture of their socks for a chance to win up to £250 of Currys PC World gift cards.

The day didn't come without its issues though - there was an alert in the station, meaning footfall wasn't as high as expected! However, for an experiential, inexpensive event, we achieved the success we wanted. Results included:

  • The King's Cross competition achieved 1,057 entries
  • There were 1,238 Twitter posts made about the event and the competition, which  generated over 2.8million Twitter impressions
  • The creation of a landing page, which helped garner further links from the likes of Event Magazine and Retail Week

The event helped to increase visibility, traffic and revenue, and also promoted Currys PC World's brand and cement its image as a fun and engaging company.

Final thoughts

Brands and marketers are seeing the real value in experiential events, while traditional marketing methods are struggling more and more to gain traction. These events also allow for a multichannel approach, making sure you're hitting as many customer touchpoints as possible. Finally, they're a great way to showcase your brand as being approachable and fun, without always requiring excessive budgets; as long as you have clear KPIs and deliverables, you're on the right track to delivering your next standout experiential event!

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