When marketing becomes an experience, great things happen. Experiential marketing creates a sense of community among fans, who share a common interest and excitement during events.
From concerts to pop-up coffee shops, art galleries and game worlds come to life, brands are using interactive events to create emotional connections with consumers. Seventy-seven percent of marketers use experiential marketing as a vital part of a brand’s advertising strategies, according to a 2016 study by EventTrack. Engaged consumers spend more, and 65 percent of brands also say that their event and experiential programs are directly related to sales.
Experiential marketing was out in force during SXSW, showcasing a variety of ways in which the ad method can be employed. TV network Bravo sent out a horde of people dressed in nude fabric to promote its upcoming show Stripped, while Hulu promoted A Handmaid’s Tale by strolling women solemnly around the event.
Los Pollos Hermanos, the restaurant from AMC’s Breaking Bad series, got its own pop-up location during SXSW and in other subsequent cities worldwide on its tour to promote the third season of Better Call Saul (the prequel to Breaking Bad). Stars from the show have made appearances for autographs, and those patient enough to wait in line are rewarded with free curly fries and branded cups.
Sixty-nine percent of millennials believe attending events makes them feel more connected to other people, according to a study by EventBrite. That feeling isn’t limited to millennials, however. For the Los Pollos Hermanos activation, as with the Gilmore Girls Luke’s Diner coffee shop this past October, fans waiting in line shared stories and many appeared in costume.
According to EventTrack, 98 percent of consumers capture content during live events and 100 percent of them share this content on social media. Excited to share the fun with others, those documenting their experiences share them up to 15 times.
“There is always value in traditional above the line media and also digital and social media, but there is no replacing the value of experience,” Lee Applbaum, chief marketing officer of Patrón Spirits, told Event.
After attending a brand activation, 98 percent of consumers feel more inclined to purchase, 74 percent have a better opinion about a brand and 70 percent become regular customers.