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By September 24, 2013April 3rd, 2014Event Marketing, Experiential Marketing

How to keep them talking long after your event is over

What comes to mind when you think of the term “experiential marketing”? It sounds like a simple question, but the answer is far more complicated than you might think. Back in the day (sorry, we just had to use “back in the day” to kick start things), experiential marketing was synonymous with guerrilla marketing – an event or occasion where brand ambassadors decked out in branded t-shirts and baseball caps would pass out product samples or  call to action pieces in order to spread the word and promote their brand.

But that was then, and this is now.

The rise of social, local, and mobile marketing has changed the very foundations of experiential marketing. Now, more than ever, brands need to engage with their followers. Here at Midfield Interactive we have a saying that goes a little like this:

“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”

This is experiential marketing at its very core. In order to make an impact and truly connect with your target audience, you can’t just sell them a product or provide them with a free gift. You need to impact their life and shift their understanding. To do this, brands need to combine the power of digital technology with the personal impact of human interaction. In short, they need to build an experience that lasts long after your event or promotional party is over.

Connect on a Deeper Level

Experiential marketing in the SoLoMo (social, local, mobile) age is all about physical and emotional experiences. Brand swag is great, but it’s not going to help you attract evangelists to your cause. The experience of a moment, when activated successfully, helps link the online world with the offline world in order to build consumer confidence, trust, and loyalty.

The result, it turns customers into believers.

This can happen in a variety of different ways. The easiest? By giving the consumer control before, during, and after the experience.

This might sound a bit scarey, but think about it. Social, local, and mobile marketing tools and applications give consumers the ability to take control of their brand interactions and experiences. Whether it’s sharing a photo on Instagram or posting an update to Twitter, check-ins and hashtags give consumers the power to pick the brands they want to promote and represent.

Digital marketing tools also enable more fulfilling interactions. Instead of just giving a promotional item to an attendee, brands can now encourage those customers to engage with the item and share their experience with their network. The happier that person is with their experience, the more likely they’ll be to share and encourage their friends and acquaintances to check it out as well.

Thanks to SoLoMo, word of mouth marketing is now the most powerful form of communication and post event marketing.

Build Trust

When it comes to creating a sustainable, long-term relationship with event attendees you need to start with a foundation of trust. Once this trust has been established, your followers will be much more likely to open up and engage with your product via digital marketing methods. Back in the day (promise we won’t use this again), experiential marketing events used to struggle when it came to nurturing leads following an event because they were going about it all wrong, bombarding customers with impersonal interactions.

Sending spammy emails simply isn’t going to cut it in today’s engaged marketplace.

In order to keep the lines of communication open, brands need to be smarter in how they reach out to their target customers. This involves a long-term engagement strategy that begins long before your event starts. Campaigns  which focus on user-generated content and consumer participation before, during, and after an activation produces far greater returns than events which depend entirely on day-of interactions. Anytime you can build a community around your brand, product, or vision, and give your target audience the opportunity to share, engage, and collaborate with friends, everyone wins. At this point, you’re no longer selling. Now you’re building a holistic experience.

When it comes to building an experiential marketing program, your first step should always be to stand in the shoes of your target consumer. How do these people interact with your brand on a daily basis? How do they share their opinions and criticisms with their friends? What kind of emotions are brought forth when a consumer comes in contact with your brand or product? How can you intensify that emotion or capitalize off of it in order to encourage organic distribution of your brand message?

Technology can’t answer those questions on its own. This is why experiential event marketing still requires a human touch. Without the element of personal interaction, whether it’s between consumers or between a brand ambassador and a consumer, the key is creating an emotional connection with your brand.

At Midfield Interactive, we focus on crafting event marketing plans that are mindful of not just digital, local, and mobile aspects, but also of natural social interactions. This enables us to create conversations with consumers that might otherwise never happen.

So give us a shout if you’re interested in learning more about our unique approach to guerrilla marketing and interactive marketing programs. Our ability to combine creative ideas and emotional context into one encompassing brand experience is a truly powerful marketing tool.

Paul Allison

About Paul Allison

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