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What Are the Best Tips for Experiential Marketing?

Jim B.
Jim B.

Experiential marketing is the process of marketers seeking word-of-mouth advertising by creating a situation that allows consumers to actually get hands-on experience with certain products. This allows consumers to do much of the advertising work through social media and blogs promoting products that they like. Marketers practicing experiential marketing should make sure to properly promote the event that allows consumers to test the products so that others can see the positive reactions of consumers. They should also be ready to act on any feedback and make sure consumers' concerns and questions are answered.

It is somewhat simple to create a splash in the marketing world with an expensive advertising campaign or a noteworthy promotion or event. These techniques may be lacking at times though when it comes to creating an association in the minds of consumers between a particular brand and the products that those brands are promoting. As a result, there can be some disconnect that reflects negatively on companies. Experiential marketing is a way to remedy this by creating a direct connection between consumers and products.

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The most common way that experiential marketing is perpetrated is through some sort of product testing. For example, a company that sells surfboards might do a promotion inviting some of the area's best surfers to try out their boards in a special, highly-publicized event. If events such as this aren't properly executed, though, the resulting effect will fall flat. Marketers must ensure that the testing of products becomes a touchstone for positive feedback about the company in question.

This can be done by focusing experiential marketing on the right target audience. Cultivating an audience that likely would have no interest in using a specific product will do no good. By contrast, having people who are in the target market for a product and are likely to pass information about the product to others, most likely through personal blogs and social media, is the right approach. The marketers should make sure to streamline the process by which product-testers can give positive reviews to others.

There may be occasions when experiential marketing creates some initial negative feedback about certain products. This can actually be turned into a positive if the company can then alter the products to alleviate the concerns of the consumers. Such a response would create positive goodwill among the audience targeted by the company. All of this information about the company will ideally be passed on to others, thus creating much-desired brand identification in the minds of consumers.

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Discussion Comments


We had a local company do this very successfully recently. They were a new brewery and they held a competition where they selected 1000 local households (who signed up and were legally allowed to participate) and sent them samples of beer to try.

The people then voted on the samples online to decide which was the most popular kind of beer.

All of the beer samples they sent were going to be launched, so they were getting people to try all of their new product. And people felt like they had a hand in creating a new product as well.

Plus it was pretty good beer, so people were talking about it. I know I convinced someone to try it, in part because of their marketing gimmick.


@browncoat - That sounds like a really win win kind of experiential marketing. When I read the article, it made me think more about those people that set up in the middle of malls with their products and invite people to try them.

Sometimes it's pretty good. I've seen people advertising new game consoles for example, and I wouldn't mind being drawn into having a go on a new console.

But sometimes it can be very annoying. After all, I am there to shop, not necessarily to play whatever game it is they want me to try and they can create quite a big disruption in the middle of the mall.

Maybe I'm just being too grumpy, but unless they are very respectful it makes me want to buy the product less, and I'll tell all my friends about it too.


My favorite example of experiential marketing is what my local movie theater does every now and then for people who belong to their card carrying club.

They'll send us out an email inviting us to see a movie for either a very cheap price, or for free. The movie is considered a secret though, until we get into the theater and it starts, so you have to take the risk that it won't be one you'll enjoy.

I've seen a couple of movies that way that I might otherwise not have seen, and if I enjoyed them, I did tell everyone to go and see them.

I think movies are one of those products that does particularly well with experiential event marketing, because people like to talk about movies and will almost always take their friend's advice on which ones to go and see.

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