Experiential Events: What are They and How Can They Benefit You?

Jul 7, 2021

When you hear the words ‘experiential events’, do you roll your eyes and think they sound like yet another marketing buzzword?

They’re not just a passing trend. In fact, these unique and exciting events are growing in popularity and could be just what your brand needs to turn strangers into raving fans.

What are experiential events?

Nothing gets hearts pumping and people talking more than trying out a fun and unique experience first-hand!

That’s experiential marketing. Instead of your brand putting out all the usual kinds of marketing which simply tells your audience about all the features and benefits you’re offering, creating an experiential event gets your target audience involved in trying out your products or services themselves, in a way that’s exciting and interactive.

Whether the event is a one-off stunt designed to ramp up hype or it’s an ongoing feature, experiential marketing looks different for every brand.

What kinds of experiential events have worked in the past?

JetBlue’s big block of ice

Everyone loves free stuff, right?

The folks over at JetBlue took advantage of this when they launched their campaign to promote their direct flights from New York to Palm Springs. The aim? To entice more tourists to this California destination. How did they do it? With a giant block of ice filled with goodies!

Passersby could have at any of the freebies frozen within the giant ice cube, as long as they could chip them out with whatever they had on hand. And of course, alongside the laptops and golf clubs, there were plane tickets up for grabs, too.

Vodafone’s slide

We can’t think of any single person – adult or kid – that doesn’t experience pure joy when sliding down a big ‘ol slide. Vodafone injected exhilaration in the journeys of people traveling in the Madrid metro station with their promotion on faster internet. You guessed it – they installed a slide right next to the escalators, for those who wanted a faster experience. We know which we would prefer!

IKEA’s big sleepover

Hot cocoa, big fluffy blankets, and bedtime stories? Sounds like bliss. IKEA invited 100 guests into their Essex store in England to come and have an epic slumber party where they got to choose their preferred bed linen and chat with mattress experts about selecting the perfect bed. You know, before they drifted off to sleep.

Although these examples are quite different from each other, they’re all creative ways that brands got into the minds and hearts of their audience. And we’re sure those people that joined in will remember their experiences for a long time.

How can your brand benefit from hosting an event?

Every brand owner knows that boring marketing doesn’t really get you anywhere. Consumers have come to expect more from their favorite brands than being told what they want to hear – and instead want to make an authentic, emotional connection.

Although at first glance experiential marketing may seem more costly, there are measurable benefits to it – including boosting brand awareness and loyalty.

A massive 95% of people surveyed in the EventTrack 2015 report said they’d buy products from a brand that hosted an event they participated in. That’s nearly everybody they asked!

Fun, showstopper events get people talking. People love to tell others about a positive experience they had (the same goes for negative ones, too) and thanks to social media, the news spreads very quickly. Hosting these kinds of events is your chance to truly stand out from your competitors by doing something different! In turn, more people learn about your brand.

Finally, think about what a fantastic opportunity for gaining feedback from customers an event can be. You’re putting your products into the hands of the people you want to buy them, who can tell you there and then what they love and what you can do better. It’s a more effective way of getting potential customers to decide whether they want what you’re offering too, as they’ll already know what it feels like to use it. Win-win!

How do you host an event for your brand?

With countless options for brands to show off their creativity, how do you know where to begin to create a campaign that actually works?

There are a few factors you need to consider to start with. Aside from the basics like ‘who your target audience is’, think about what they value – what emotions do you want to tap into with your campaign and why? What goals do you want to achieve with this campaign, and what’s your budget? Also, choosing the right place and the right time is crucial.

Luckily for you, there are agencies that have a knack for creating effective events, so you’re not left floundering. Here at MACLYN, helping brands figure out their marketing and event planning is what we’re all about. Our approach isn’t one-size-fits-all because we know every brand is unique. We’ve got hands-on experience working with businesses of all shapes and sizes – like when we helped elevate Dunkin’s marketing with our custom strategy, including several experiential and influencer events.

As a respected and innovative full-service marketing agency in Naperville and Des Moines, we’re on hand to help you get started with planning your event. Contact us today to get the ball rolling on your first experiential event!

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