Experiential Marketing Is the Future of Retail
Updated: Apr 8
Jia Werts, CEO at Studio 15, recently published on forbes.com the following article which outlines the role of experiential marketing in retail and offers excellent insights into the integration of the various pillars.
Traditional marketing simply doesn’t cut it anymore. While many companies continue to spend on TV ads, billboards, flyers or even podcast ads, there is no doubt that experiential marketing is the way to go. Not only because that’s what today’s consumers are responding to, but also because the impact lasts longer and has a greater influence on future purchases.
Experiential marketing directly engages customers, inviting them to experience brands in-person rather than putting them in the role of an observer and hoping that traditional marketing efforts will resonate with them or be memorable. 93% of consumers claim that live events have a larger influence on them than TV ads.
Personal interactions go a long way in gaining consumer’s buy-in and allows them to get to know the brand, what is stands for, and the people behind it.
Marketers Realize The Importance Of Experiential Marketing
According to the Freeman Global Brand Experience study, more than a third of CMOs said they plan to spend 21% to 50% of their budgets on brand experiences over the next several years.
80% of marketers believe live events are critical to their company’s success, and 77% use experiential marketing as a vital part of a brand’s advertising strategy. Which is apparent in today’s retail landscape – with pop-up shops literally popping up all over. From a Rosé Mansion in New York City that allows wine aficionados to sip on rosé wines from all over the world and even enjoy a wine-themed playground, to Pantone’s pop-up cafe in Monaco that proves companies can take creative risks that will resonate with their audience, even if the idea doesn’t relate directly to the company’s business model. Pantone, a color standardization system for various industries such as graphic design, fashion design, printing, among others, has nothing to do with the food industry, yet their pop-up cafe which offers a small menu of items in Pantone’s signature colors, just works.
Consumers Want Memories, Not Just Products
Thanks in part to social media, consumer’s prioritize creating memories, preferably ones that will get them bragging rights online. While they may or may not purchase products in the moment, these positive and memorable experiences influence consumers to make purchases more than traditional marketing. In fact, 74% of event attendees say they have a more positive opinion about the company, brand, or product being promoted after an event.
98% of users feel more inclined to purchase after attending an activation. The human touch and immersive experience go a long way for brands, and pays off in the long run.
Millennials Prefer To Spend Money On Experiences
A study from Harris Group found that 72% of millennials prefer to spend money on experiences rather than material things.
The real benefit here, from a business perspective, is that consumers are willing to spend money on experiences, an in turn are more likely to purchase products the company sells.
Take Orvis, an outdoor apparel and gear company, as an example. They sell adventure trips and outdoor activity classes such as fly-fishing. And they credit these experiential events for increased customer loyalty and retention.
Another outdoor company that has made a business of their experiential events is L.L. Bean, a company specializing in clothing and outdoor recreation equipment. They offer some educational classes for free and sell experiences that range from $275 for overnight camping trips to nearly $4,000 for a week-long trip. The company found that customers who participated in one of their paid outdoor experiences spent an average of 30% more with the company in the following year. And about 25% of participants became repeat customers.
Events may even be a better strategy than influencer marketing because it brings customers and influencers to the brand and all in one place, rather than the brand having to manage influencer outreach and giveaways. Not to mention, having to examine the analytics of an influencer’s reach afterwards to determine if the partnership was successful.
Companies that are looking to create social media buzz, connect with customers, and build their brand can really benefit from investing in some well-planned experiential events to bring their brand to life.