Brands across the world are slowly coming to terms with the fact that traditional marketing doesn't generate the kind of brand awareness and engagement they need. Today's customers don't buy into billboards and online ads anymore. These things are just too intangible and distant. Consumers want something more engaging.
As such, brands are switching tactics and trying new methods to reach out to their target audience. That's where experiential marketing comes in. While traditional and online marketing connects a brand to its audience in an abstract manner, experiential marketing focuses on building awareness and interaction through real-time experiences. And, this real-time engagement is why it's so effective.
Humans are sentimental creatures, and real-time, personal experiences create an emotional impression on us. Photo Booths have been a way for us to document those cherished emotions for years and have evolved to create an emotional connection between brands and customers to foster marketing efforts. When it comes to business, if a brand can connect with us emotionally, we're more likely to identify with them as customers. If your business isn't generating the engagement and interactions you need after all your marketing efforts, then maybe, it's time to try out experiential marketing.
This article will look at how experiential marketing works and how you can use a digital photo booth campaign to boost brand engagement.
What Is Experiential Marketing?
Otherwise known as engagement marketing, Experiential marketing is an advertising/marketing strategy that seeks to build awareness, engagement, and interaction between a brand and its target audience through real-time events. Usually, these campaigns display the core aspects of the business, like its values and objectives. They're not publicity stunts or programs held to convince consumers to buy from a company. Instead, experiential marketing focuses on creating a positive emotional connection between the brand and the customer through active participation in brand-centric events.
It enables consumers to feel and see a brand, bringing the products, services, and core values of a business to all of their five senses. This hands-on interaction is something even the best digital and traditional marketing strategy cannot achieve.
There are different types of experiential marketing campaigns. Some of the most popular options you've probably heard of from top brands include pop-up events, workshops, product showcases, in-person surveys, auto shows, trade shows, etcetera. These campaigns have two things in common: they're brand-centric and seek to engage the consumer personally. At its core, these characteristics are what experiential marketing is all about.
How Effective Is Experiential Marketing?
Experiential marketing engages customers in a more personal way than any other strategy. And that's why it's reeling in the numbers in terms of engagement and sales. The statistics show that 74% of customers agree that real-time events and experiences with brands influence their decision to buy their products. Also, 91% of consumers say that they generally have more positive views about a business and its services after participating in brand-centric events.
Furthermore, 67% of customers at branded events purchased a product during the experience. Another 70% of consumers become repeat buyers after real-time experiential marketing campaigns. Industry professionals also attest to the impact of experiential marketing. When quizzed on which strategy was more effective, 38% of marketers opted for brand-centric experiences over digital marketing (19%) and traditional advertising (7%).
Research shows that experiential marketing affects digital marketing, as well. For example, 98% of participants at brand-centric events create digital content. Also, every one of these consumers shares the content produced at these experiences. These interactions on social media positively influence brand engagement and sales, with 69% of online customer reviews influencing purchases. Simple things like creating the opportunity for participants to take and share photos taken at the photo booth at your event can have such a significant influence on the success of your marketing efforts.
How Do You Measure Experiential Marketing?
Experiential marketing doesn't come with the specific metrics we have in digital advertising to measure its effectiveness. As such, marketers find it challenging to calculate the return on investment (ROI) of brand-centric events and experiences. However, while it is challenging, it is not impossible.
You can monitor some key performance indicators (KPIs) to know how effective your experiential marketing campaign was. Before measuring your event's success, though, you'll need to know what you aim to achieve with your experiential marketing strategy. When you know your objectives, you can discern whether your campaign met those goals using the key performance indicators (KPIs).
Below are some of the KPIs you can use to measure the effectiveness of your experiential marketing strategy:
Sales are the easiest KPI to measure during and after an experiential marketing campaign, especially if your objective is to boost your brand's product sales. Typically, calculating product sales for a branded experience involves monitoring the number of people who tried purchasing your products during the event, the number of people who bought a product after the event, the number of new customers who got your product, and the number of repeat buyers. You can also keep track of the number of participants that tried a free sample of your product. These metrics should give you an excellent estimation of how successful your campaign was in increasing sales.
Social Media Interactions
If your overall objective during your event is boosting awareness, then social media conversations is a great KPI to monitor to see if your campaign was successful. You can keep track of the number of times people used your brand name or event hashtag before, after, and during the event and who created and shared content, including influencers and press. You can also monitor the number of new followers on your social media handles, the number of website visits and clicks, and the number of sales from social media interactions.
You can monitor conversion rates if the goal of your campaign is to generate leads. Some of the vital conversation KPIs you can track are the number of email sign-ups and direct engagements and inquiries with brand representatives.
What Is an Example of Experiential Activation?
One of the most popular displays of experiential marketing is Volkswagen's Piano Staircase. In 2009, the automobile manufacturer transformed a subway staircase in Stockholm, Sweden, into piano keys. And, as people walked the stairs, each step produced musical sounds.
Volkswagen pulled off this move to prove The Fun Theory. According to the company, the best and easiest way to change people's behavior is through fun. The campaign was hugely successful, as 66% more people chose to take the subway's piano staircase over the escalator, clear proof that fun influences people's attitude.
What Is Experiential Marketing Strategy?
To get the best out of experiential marketing, you need a clearly-defined and effective strategy throughout the event. Here are a few tips on getting the best out of your branded experience:
Maximize Social Media
Social media is a terrific tool to engage your audience and advertise your event. Creating great content before your experiential activation is an excellent pre-promotion strategy. You can also use it to fantastic effect during the occasion through live streams. Social media platforms like Facebook are fantastic options to hold live product demos, behind-the-scenes sessions, and Q&As.
Engage Your Audience With Your Brand Ambassadors
During the event, brand ambassadors and representatives are a crucial part of the attractions. Your audience wants to interact with the brand to find out all they can learn about its products and services. Having brand ambassadors and representatives on-ground enables them to have these conversations.
Have a Post-Event Strategy
Your experiential marketing campaign should go beyond the event. After the occasion, effective follow-up of attendees is crucial to maintaining your consumer base. Investing in exciting and creative content across all social media platforms and offering discounts and incentives such as giveaways are some of the post-event strategies you can utilize.
Branded Experiences for Consumers and Brands
Customer experience is crucial to the growth and success of your brand. How your consumers perceive your business determines whether they'll continue buying from you or not. It also helps generate word-of-mouth referrals to gain new customers and promote the overall image of your brand.
Since customer experience is a product of how your business interacts with your audience, it's vital to invest in all aspects of your engagement with your audience to ensure they leave with the most positive impression possible. Branded experiences and events are one of the ways to improve customer experience. They allow consumers to interact with your business first-hand. Briefly, we'll look at how to improve your experience marketing and, in turn, customer experience.
How to Improve Your Experience Marketing
Improving the overall experience customers have with your brand is vital to ensure customer loyalty and continuous engagement. Here are some ways to improve your experience marketing:
Know Your Customers
This point is probably the most critical factor in creating great experiences for your audience. When you don't know your customers, you cannot tell what their needs are and how best to serve them. Therefore, you must connect with your customers personally and emotionally to know what they need and how best to meet those needs.
Invest In Customer Feedback
Brands need to get consumers' opinions on their products and services. This move will give them a hint on what to improve and what to cut back on. As a business, conduct regular surveys through email, live-chat, or Q&A sessions on social media to get customers' perspectives on the brand.
Reward Loyal Customers
Rewarding loyal customers is a sure-fire way to improve the perspective of consumers about your brand. Regular incentives like discounts and giveaways are some of the best ways to reward consumers who have shown consistency in trusting your business.
Leverage Customer Experience Management
Customer experience management generally involves analyzing customer interactions across your brand to determine how you can meet their needs more efficiently. Investing in customer experience management can help your brand improve in all areas of its services and bring more value to your audience.
Why Consumers Love Branded Experiences
Today's crop of consumers are more emotional in choosing their favorite brands. They pick the brands they identify with based on sentimental reasons, such as how a business treats them over what products or services it has on offer. That's why branded experiences are a crucial marketing strategy in today's world; because these experiences create the emotional connection that consumers need.
Branded experiences allow customers to interact with a brand face-to-face. They create opportunities for personal conversations with the core aspects of a business. These kinds of interactions cannot happen through digital or traditional marketing efforts. Both strategies only help consumers forge artificial relationships with brands, usually from behind a smartphone screen or billboard.
On the other hand, branded experiences are more hands-on and tangible. Customers get to feel and see the brand in real-time, with all five senses involved in the engagement process. The customers would also appreciate the opportunity to document the emotional connection made during such interactions. Businesses today can benefit a lot from investing in immersive and personal brand-centric experiences.
Strategies to Promote Your Event
In today's digital age, thriving as a business requires you to be innovative, especially when it comes to marketing. If you want to generate the awareness and engagement your brand needs, you have to stay in-tune with the trending strategies in advertising. That's how you'll make the most of your event marketing campaigns. The business world isn't slowing down, so why should you?
Event Marketing Is Transforming
The fact is, event marketing is continuously transforming, and the tactics of organizing a brand-centric event yesterday won't necessarily work today. That's why you need to keep up with how the top brands are reeling in those engagement and conversion numbers. Briefly, we'll look at one of the most popular strategies for a successful experiential marketing campaign.
The Digital Photo Booth
Digital photo booths are one of the best ways to engage your audience during your event. People love pictures, especially today's younger generation. Digital photo booths give them what they love in a more exciting way.
Professional lighting and Snapchat-style lenses/filters are just some of the terrific features that make photo booths a hit at company events. These photo booths are also brand-centric. They come custom-designed with the brand logo, name, brand style, and event hashtags. A technology giant had a superhero-themed photo booth at their holiday party. The backdrop featured the brand name and logo emphasized boldly along with superhero figures. If they want to, participants can add their phone number and email for instant sharing, as well, or clients can have full data capture surveys to gather important information from the guests.
The photo booths can provide more than photos, guests might get 360 Video, Slow Motion Video, Multi-Camera Array, Boomerang Booths, and Custom created Photo & Video experiences. When they share these photos and videos on social media after the event, your brand name and logo ends up all over the internet. It's quite possibly the best experiential marketing strategy around today.
Benefits of Digital Photo Booths at Branded Experiences
There are several marketing reasons why you should incorporate a digital photo booth into your experiential marketing campaign. We'll briefly discuss two of them:
● Putting Your Brand First
Digital photo booths at company events come fully customized to the brand or client's specifications. For instance, a promotional event for a live streaming cooking app featured a photo booth with guests inside the app’s tv kitchen set inside an iPad. The guests became the stars of the show. This custom design ensures that when guests share their photos on the internet, your brand gets all the awareness you want. It's also a sure-fire way to improve your brand image. Utilizing unique photo and video activations, like a 360 video booth, adds an extra pop of creativity and excitement.
● A Fun Activity For All
Who doesn't like taking pictures? Photographs are fun and exciting, especially when we take them at cool events. Incorporating a photo booth into your branded experience adds thrill to the whole show. It would be great to include the theme of the event in the photo booth design. The premiere of the latest James Bond film featured custom spy ID cards that were customized so guests could include spy ranks and secret agent names. An immersive green screen provides a unique opportunity for guests to express their creativity by having creative backgrounds featuring superheroes, spies, or other brand-focused themes. It gives your audience that immersive experience they're seeking to form an emotional connection with your brand. You can't go wrong with a digital photo booth as part of your experiential marketing strategy.
Looking for a unique activation for your next event?
At Studio Z, we know a thing or two about photo and video activations. We have a wide array of options to suit your next event, brand activation, conference, expo, etc. If we don't currently offer it, we can create it. Photographers and event marketers at heart, we are ready for the challenge. Reach out and start the conversation.