The Power of Experiential Advertising


The Power of Experiential Advertising

It’s no secret that every product or service advertised has a better chance of creating consumer loyalty by intimately interacting with a target audience. Since the dawn of the snake oil salesman, marketers have searched for cost effective means of demonstrating their gadgets or putting product in consumer’s hands to build that relationship. The challenge has always been how to do it in mass and cost efficiently and how to track accurate results.

Shipping samples by mail doesn’t work for every product or any service, and Mary Kay style multi-level marketing just doesn’t seem to generate sales at the speed that big marketers need. So marketers have been stuck with traditional media with the occasional promotion to climb the ladder to critical mass.

Enter “Experiential Advertising” – the new term for an old strategy to suit today’s modern marketers. Conceptually, it’s the same strategy the snake oil salesman had: get people to touch, feel & taste the product, tell them the many ways it will change their lives for better and “poof” we got another tick on the meter. The difference in today’s experiential marketing is the addition of Social Media & Technology. Surprise!!!

Before the Social Media era, experiential campaigns had very short lives and even shorter reach, only impacting the consumers they were able to engage during the event often counted with fingers on hands. The hope was they would tell two friends and, and that those two would tell two more, and so on – viral marketing, the old fashioned way. Of course, smart companies supported these efforts with traditional media (and as much PR as they could muster) but the event itself typically had little impact beyond the initial buzz.

Now, when complemented with the reach and easy share-ability of social media, a great experiential campaign can reach into the millions and live on for an eternity (at least by marketing standards). And because much of the Social Media chatter is trackable, marketers now finally have that elusive measuring stick to see if what they did worked beyond the finger count.

As a result, many of the big boys have begun to throw their weight behind experiential advertising. Most big agencies now have in-house experiential departments that work alongside the media & connections planning teams. A new breed of experiential specialty agencies has even emerged with claims that they have the next best idea.

The truth is, those of us in the OOH landscape have been playing in the experiential marketing ideation game forever. We’ve been looking at media messaging from a contextual standpoint for decades, so making that leap to the experiential side is a short hop.

We’ve been lucky enough to work on award winning experiential campaigns that transcend the standard street team handing out products to the crowd.

But we are not alone. There have been countless examples of powerful experiential campaigns that continue to be chatted, tweeted and passed around Facebook. And some are truly innovative and include massive investments, star power and smart Social Media initiatives. Others are just simple smart and effective.

So whether you’re considering a team of brand ambassadors working the crowds in Times Square from a coffee truck full of product or turning a LA city block into recreation of a movie scene with all the cinematic magic that goes with tinsel town, done right experiential advertising can engage consumers directly with your brand and generate massive social media awareness creating a ground swell of positive chatter about your product.

Experiential advertising is a powerful an effective tool that should be considered for all media.