THE RISE OF
EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING 2019 EDITION
Producing Experiences That Matter
How loyalty is driven by the experience and not the product
“Consumers have made it clear that, for the most part, commercials just don’t do it for them anymore. They can fast-forward through TV spots with their DVR, avoid commercials altogether with Netflix and Amazon Video, and use ad blockers to keep ads from popping up on their laptops and mobile screens. So, what’s a marketing exec gotta do to connect with these elusive quarries? It turns out the best way to reach consumers in an emotional and engaging way is to create experiences that they actually want to be a part of”.
Steve Olenski | CMO Network | August 15, 2018 “3 Reasons Why CMOs Should Embrace Experiential Marketing” | Forbes
“Today, people buy experiences, not products. Products [aren’t the main] differentiator anymore.”
Shantanu Narayen, Chief Executive Officer | Adobe Systems Adobe Summit 2018
We’ve crossed over from merely connecting on an intellectual and transactional level to creating sustainable relationships that are built on trust, authenticity, and personal experiences. Experiential marketing taps into the Human Element – presenting brands as people – and turning the consumer-brand relationship into a deeper consumer-person relationship. It’s an instinctive connection that goes well past product samples or live events. While experiential marketing campaigns do tend to revolve around events, the focus here is really on the interactions between the brand and the consumer. And brands, like people, listen, adapt and become present in consumers’ daily lives.
Brands do this by:
Sticking around through thick and thin
Investing time and resources
Having consistent, personal encounters
Creating genuine interest on both sides
We’ve identified 4 dimensions of an effective Experiential Marketing program.
1st dimension: Hyperlocal Immersion
The Human Element: People relate intimately to
A true Experiential program is mindful of context and uses it
to its advantage.
Customize the brand experience to embody local traditions, tastes, and social norms.
Elevate the physical space, allowing consumers to experience familiar locations in new, meaningful ways.
Enhance targeting by using localized business
People, places, and history for better accuracy
2nd dimension: Constancy
The Human Element: Human relationships are
defined by the depth and breadth of their interactions. Similarly, Experiential programs affirm
the brand as a dependable, ever-present entity
in consumers’ lives.
Always deliver on consumer expectations, especially when circumstances or situations change – that’s when it will matter the most.
Develop the brand over time through consistent behavior, changing from an unknown player into a trusted, familiar face. One way to build trust is by introducing a credible brand ambassador that truly embodies what you and your brand stand for.
Infuse the brand with an unshakable sense of reliability by practicing transparency and consistency in these three areas: message, design, and delivery (here’s where an event marketing agency can help with strategy and execution).
Over time, consistency can be mastered – in the meantime, don’t be afraid to reach out to those who know a thing or two more than you do, such as experts in event planning, event staffing, demo management, and experiential marketing tours.
The Human Element: The brand, just like your consumer, is a member of the community.
This means being flexible enough to adapt when the market calls for it without compromising integrity or reputation.
3rd dimension: People
The Human Element: Using the right people to execute an Experiential program strengthens the deep, emotional bonds consumers can make with the brand.
You can start by investing in a true brand ambassador – having already formed a genuine and powerful connection to your brand, the partnership will come across to your consumers as being organic, believable, and credible. Also, provide in-depth training that instills the brand message without stifling enthusiasm and passion.
Focus on enabling meaningful and memorable one-on-one encounters (tip: start looking into these three areas: experiential marketing tours, event planning,
and event staffing).
4th dimension: Adaptability
The Human Element: The brand, just like your
consumer, is a member of the community. This means being flexible enough to adapt when the market calls for it without compromising integrity or reputation.
Use times of uncertainty as opportunities to prove the brand agile and resourceful.
Be flexible in strategy and operations, welcoming quick adjustments to meet local trends and market forces.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and reach out to those in branding, event planning, demo management, or any
other field you might need for a pool of expertise to
draw on and learn from.
Partner with local experts who can help quickly pivot
and seamlessly execute any changes in planning
(hint: find an event marketing agency you can rely
on and start from there).
“...experiential marketing lends itself to storytelling extremely well. We experience well-told stories rather than simply listening to them, and we are more apt to repeat a brand’s story when we identify strongly with it, particularly on a deep emotional level. The best stories are truthful, are infused with personalities, involve characters the audience feels compelled to root for…”
Molly Galetto | June 27, 2017
“What is Experiential Marketing? Best Practices,
Examples, and More” | NGDATA
Gatorade Combine: SXSW 2017
Experience the future of athlete evaluation and
At SXSW 2017, Gatorade Combine allowed attendees to experience the future of athlete evaluation and athletic innovation to life in Combine format, as imagined by Gatorade and Sports Illustrated during SXSports in Austin, Texas. Attendees experienced three forms of testing from athletic evaluation innovators Kitman Labs, STRIVR, and Sparta Science, providing an opportunity to find out how they stack up against the pros in areas such as decision-making, accuracy and speed, movement function, and
Dimension #1 Hyperlocal Immersion
Continuing from 2016’s SXSW conference and their activation on athlete customization and personalization, Gatorade, to pursue their focus on innovation as well as align with last year’s conference theme on sports and technological advances, delivered a high-tech immersive sports experience on athletic evaluation. While the experience was carried out in 6 football format stations, the tests conducted were broad enough to include people/athletes who didn’t play the sport.
Dimension #2 Constancy and Consistency
A powerful brand linked with athletes, the chosen event and partnerships were perfect for the brand. And through the help of a landing page, surveys before and after the experience, an RFID bracelet, and personalized, data-rich results emailed to attendees, consumers had something to look forward to and remember the brand by long after their 30-minute sessions were over.
Dimension #3 People
Partnering with sports tech leaders who had the expertise and tools for a customized athletic experience, Gatorade’s activation included measuring posture with cameras, strength and balance with a special plate, and athletic decision-making with a VR experience, and the endeavor was topped off with a 360-degree camera and a goodie bag.
“...experiential marketing lends itself to storytelling
extremely well. We experience well-told
stories rather than simply listening to them,
and we are more apt to repeat a brand’s story
when we identify strongly with it...”
Dimension #4 Adaptability
While Gatorade may not cross over into becoming a ‘full-on sports tech company’ and is still in the beverage industry, that did not stop the brand from participating and focusing on tech innovation in the sports industry. Overall, the brand wants to emphasize to its consumers that it is an innovative company and that there is always something new to learn from
“Experiential marketing is two-way communication between a brand and its audience, which is what successful marketing in the 21st century requires: a dialogue, instead of a screaming match between rival brands”.
Emily Lyons | March 21, 2017 | HuffPost
“It’s all about stories. Not just those little circular Instagram stories at the top of your mobile screen: actual human stories lived and experienced within the branded event. It’s one thing
Events and experiences are a key part of integrated marketing campaigns at 84% of brands.
to tell a great story, but it’s another thing to allow consumers to create their own story within the branded environment”.
“The Age Of The Ephemeral: Why Experiential
Marketing Is Compulsory This Year”
B & T Magazine | April 20, 2018
Human experience raises engagement across the board; Experiential Marketing amplifies that experience even more.
Key Insight 1: Events and experiences work very
powerfully to drive sales – and significantly improve how consumers feel about and perceive brands.
Key Insight 2: Event and experiential marketing continues to break away from other advertising and marketing channels in terms of effectiveness and value to customers.
Key Insight 3: Events and experiences are a key part of integrated marketing campaigns at 84% of brands.
Key Insight 4: Event and experiential marketing continues to shift from a focus on raising brand awareness to sales and measurement. As other marketing channels and media are being disrupted by technology and rapid shifts in consumer buying and media consumption habits, events and experiential marketing has become more important to corporate marketing teams and more highly valued by consumers.
EMI EventTrack Study 2018.
Human experience raises engagement across
the board; Experiential Marketing amplifies
that experience even more.
When done right, Experiential
Enriching experiences, strong emotional consumer bonds – these are only just
The consumer-person engendered by Experiential Marketing takes brands a lot
further, a lot faster in the hearts and minds
of their audience.
Consumers identifying with and projecting their own qualities and values onto the brand, making it personal and customized to
Lasting loyalty that is based on an emotional bond rather than a utilitarian need.
A strong feeling of familiarity that encourages the acceptance of new products (this is where your brand ambassador or event marketing agency can help bridge the gap).
Greater latitude with customers in
times of crisis.
Samsung Event Activation
Event activation | Product Sampling |
Consumer Electronics & Technology
NFC-focused giveaways to drive first time use
(music downloads, VIP venue access, etc.).
Managed logistics and staffing for all events.
Developed custom reporting system tying all venues
together into a single reporting portal.
Drove brand awareness around Samsung NFC technology through brand ambassadors and corporate event planning.
Helped owners try NFC at least once to overcome the learning curve barrier.
Solutions and Highlights
Organized over 2,500 corporate events in 6 months across 42 different venues (sports, music, etc.).
Product demos and direct engagement introduced consumers to their device’s NFC capabilities.
The consumer-person engendered by
Experiential Marketing takes brands a lot
further, a lot faster in the hearts
and minds of their audience.
Attack! Merrell Mobile Tours
Mobile Marketing Tours | Experiential | Event Activation | Product Engagement
4,000 engagements were made.
6 major markets visited.
Success Successfully coordinated travel and packing
of Merrell products and booth across the nation.
Garner interest & trials of Merrell’s new All-Out
Execute nationwide tour and drive on-site sales.
Having customers experience and try on different types of Merrell Footwear away from a retail location.
Solutions and Highlights
Organized Merrell’s presence at Down & Dirty Obstacle Race Tour.
Managed footprint logistics, vehicle leasing, and insurance coverage.
Engaged with attendees and assisted on-site sales.
Coordinated photo shoots in front of branded backdrop.
In a nutshell, here’s where Experiential Marketing
“Experiential marketing provides an answer for a day in age in which brands are questioning how they can effectively and authentically reach consumers in the face of information and technological overload”.
Sarah Ginsburg, March 20, 2018
“Experiential Marketing: The Most Powerful Brand Building Tool in Your Arsenal” AW360
As consumers and as people, we make countless touchpoints every day, but it’s those that remain present in our lives – those we’ve carefully chosen and curated – that become part of our inner circle of trusted entities.
Experiential marketing: It’s personal,
it’s engaging, it’s powerful, and it can
do wonders for your brand and the
connection your consumers have with it.
1) Gatorade Pressbox.(2017, March 13). Gatorade Combine. Retrieved from:
2) Dumais, Francis. (2017, March 15). Gatorade – Experience the combine of the future. Retrieved from: https://en.elevent.co/blogs/sponsorship/sponsorship-marketing-at-sxsw