In today’s digital society, the use of experiential marketing is a critical element in a robust customer outreach plan. In the world of event management, experiential marketing presents an important tool for elevating attendee engagement and driving home what makes your brand unique, authentic, and the premier resource for customers.
According to Phil Boas of Campaign.com, “The combination of physical and digital presents key opportunities for marketers. Digital is able to extend a physical event…through social, online and mobile communications, while the physical experience moves people to action through a sustained conversation that encourages brand loyalty.” In other words, a healthy combination of digital marketing strategies and in-person techniques are a great idea for your next event.
Interactive marketing should be used before, during, and after a branded event. By encouraging participation from potential attendees before they engage with your brand face-to-face, during the event itself, and then through a series of strategic follow-ups, your brand can maximize the impact of your event. Here are four strategies for implementing this sort of technique surrounding your next event.
Getting attendees excited about your event is great. Strategic digital outreach can help to boost attendance and even gather important market research information that can help you make last-minute planning decisions. Polls on Facebook, email surveys, and other interactive content make attendees feel as if they are part of the event-planning process, further connecting them with your brand.
Prior to your event, be sure to employ a strong social media campaign to engage attendees. This campaign should focus on what’s great about your brand. Through word choice, colors, multimedia selection, and social networks employed, this campaign should represent your brand as a whole and indicate to event goers what they can expect from your company.
The event itself is, of course, the most important aspect of the experiential marketing strategy. Create an event hashtag and post it prominently. Encourage attendees to use it in a variety of ways throughout the event. Contest entries, questions for guest speakers, and games all present opportunities for attendee participation via social media and hashtags. Attendees can share their event photos and insight throughout using these tags, as well.
Be sure to maximize use of branding, as well. Favors, photo booth images, and giveaways should be branded in a purposeful way to remind attendees of the reason behind the gathering. This doesn’t mean handing out pens with your company’s name (pens are great, but…there are a plethora of other options). Your event planner can help you work out a theme that will complement your brand and creatively remind attendees of what you’re all about.
Social media and digital marketing efforts are wonderful, but be sure to keep the human element a part of your event. Brand ambassadors at an event help put a friendly face to a service or product and are available to engage with attendees on a personal level. Be sure ambassadors are well-versed in brand lingo and are knowledgeable on any frequently asked questions (but are able to answer them in a natural way, of course). On-site staff can also help to support the theme of the event—costumes, themed samples or giveaways, and other finishing touches can further help to sell your brand to attendees.
Once you’ve won your event attendees over with a wonderful experience, it’s critical to keep your brand top of mind. According to Forbes.com, repeat customers spend approximately 67% more than new customers. The cost of acquisition can be high, so be sure to capitalize on a great event with an excellent follow-through strategy.
Surveys or thank-you notes are a great way to get feedback and show that you care. If it’s appropriate, tag attendees in photos of the event on social media. Be sure to include photos in upcoming e-blasts and newsletters. If attendees see themselves having a great time in your brand’s marketing material, it can help with conversion.
Experiential marketing is the way of the future. Digital outreach is an important aspect of brand growth, but content streams often become saturated, limiting the impact of your company’s efforts. Talk to your event planner to get the ball rolling on your next interactive event! The right event strategies, coupled with great pre- and post-event digital efforts, can have a tremendous impact on the success of your brand!
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