Engagement’s the word when it comes to events. It’s not enough these days to just throw a fun, passive event. You have to get people up, out of their chairs and actually involved. It’s even coined a new term in the business world – “experiential marketing.” Here’s our guide to taking your event to the next level with experiences.
What Is Experiential Marketing?
Experiential marketing, as the name suggests, is a strategy in which an audience is engaged via a real-life invitation to experience a brand and what it makes or represents. It’s something that’s hands-on, participatory, and tangible. This type of marketing is particularly effective and applicable for corporate events, conferences, and trade shows which have grown stale with passive visual marketing.
From South by Southwest to tradeshows and TED talks, events will always have a special place in effective brand marketing. But today’s big events are a long way from those of past decades, which stuck to outdated best practices and a ton of paper advertising. Things have changed, and so should your marketing tactics.
Today’s experiential marketing campaigns capitalize on the consumer’s interest in social media, effective online engagement, and digital events. As a rule, experiential marketing campaigns should take an integrated approach, meaning you should try and tie your brand, as well as products and social aspects of your business into the overall experience or event in an organic way. The idea is to make your brand tangible and to encourage people to interact with it and talk about it. Events today aren’t just about the number of people who show up. They’re about engagement!
Okay, so how do you do experiential marketing?
Update Your Pre-Event Marketing
You can’t rely solely on email. So many people have spam filters and other email traps these days that it’s less and less likely they’ll end up seeing you evite. Email, however, is not useless. Far from it, you just shouldn’t rely on it alone.
The key to standing out in the crowd is one-to-one messaging. It’s very important to encourage people (especially attendees) to talk about your event. If you’re able to connect with your audience prior to the event, say by getting them to RSVP for the event on Facebook, you’ll be able to break the ice and have much deeper engagement when people arrive in-person.
Try A Photobooth
It should come as no surprise that at LA Photo Party we believe that photo booths are a great form of experiential marketing that you can incorporate into your next event. Photo booths have come a long way over the past few decades. Today photo booths boast immersive technological experiences like virtual reality which are sure to keep your guests talking. In terms of marketing tactics, photo booths sit at the intersection of casual and professional, making them perfect for a variety of parties and events. You can also brand your photo booth and add social-sharing software so people at your events can take pictures of themselves engaging with your brand and immediately share them on social media. The picture will be branded with your company logo, and then with a few clicks, they can share the photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This is a potentially strong source of viral marketing for your event.
Do Away With the Paper Trail
The good ole’ days of business cards and brochures are gone. It’s time to embrace LinkedIn connections and online agendas. It’s a good idea to have printed materials on hand, just in case, but you shouldn’t make it a focal point of your marketing efforts. People should be able to access information on and about your event from their phone or tablet via an app to ensure they can easily engage with you during the event, as well as pre- and post-event. You can also send attendees printer-friendly materials and information so, if they want to, they can print it out prior to the event. This is a good cost-saving technique.
One of the best ways to record an event and gain a larger audience is through live tweeting. You can come up with your own hashtag for your event and include it with all your marketing materials, which can help create buzz. You can delight and surprise attendees of your next event via hashtag printing which allows them to instantly print and keep their Instagram and Twitter photos as branded keepsakes. This will help transform your event’s social media hashtag into a rewarding live experience. Another cool thing is that hashtag printing works with not only pictures that people take in photo booths, but also with ones they take and post themselves to a public social media profile via your event’s hashtag.
Pre-Event Social Networking
In the days of old, people used to attend events in hopes of meeting a potentially valuable contact. Today, most of the networking happens between people online, and before the event ever takes place. That is why you need to encourage pre-event conversations on social media and, at the actual event itself, focus on experiential marketing by getting people to interact with one another and your brand in a fun and memorable way. Live events are a crucial part of the marketing mix, and they’re much more attractive once they get a digital facelift. Experiential marketing is all about creating something fun and engaging for audiences to enjoy while it’s going on and remember afterward.
If you’re interested in a photo booth for your next event, or if you need help planning your next party check out LA Photo Party today!