Experiential marketing has changed how companies interact with their customers. Instead of just directly selling, companies are instead directly interacting with their customers, creating memorable immersive experiences their audiences will love. This inclusion makes it more likely that customers will view the company in a more positive light than if their relationship with the company had simply been transactional in nature.
Even so, it’s necessary for experiential marketing to evolve. For marketers that are interested in future-proofing their strategies, they need to take into account the impact of current events. With the latest crisis changing consumer habits and behaviors, experiential marketing will require a bit of an adjustment to succeed now and in the future.
These professionals from Ad Age Collective are skilled in the development of innovative experiential marketing tactics. Here, they weigh in on how modern businesses can adapt their experiential marketing campaigns to cope with a post-crisis world.
1. Blend the digital and physical worlds.
Marketing to large physical crowds or encouraging them to gather is on pause. Use digital strategies to create crowd-based energy asynchronously and/or with geographic diversity. Insert your brand into watch parties, esports, food/supply delivery, online education, etc. Connect to new heroes — frontline workers and first responders. Address new issues and behaviors like loneliness and family walks. – Dan Beltramo, Onclusive (formerly AirPR)
2. Consider safety as part of your experience.
Safety has always been important to customers, but safety now has a new public health dimension beyond physical security measures implemented before. As you craft new in-person experiences, you will have to support and illustrate — before and during events — how you satisfy attendee safety while making the experience both frictionless and fun. – Reid Carr, Red Door Interactive
3. Get inspired and extend the reach of your content.
Get inspired! The beauty of translating the best of physical experiences into digital ones is that it can extend the reach of potent content. Obama’s favorite DJ, DJ Mel (and his dog), is now spinning records for thousands from his house via Facebook Live. And, not-for-profit USAFacts is connecting Americans with hard-to-get virus-spread data, facts and maps across connected screens. – Lana McGilvray, Purpose Worldwide
4. Identify what will define your experience.
Experience will always separate utility brands from brands we connect with. But this extended staying at home may impact the relative importance of experiential attributes. People may be more OK to wait a little longer, but will always need to be assured of environmental safety. Identifying what attributes will define your experience will be key to experiential marketing. – Arjun Sen, ZenMango
5. Look to augmented and virtual reality.
Experiential marketing may mean less in-person or large group events, but emerging technologies on the augmented reality and virtual reality side may see a rise as people are looking inward and at new ways of engaging with personalized content. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising
6. Diversify across digital and nondigital channels.
If this crisis proves one thing, it’s that industries that rely on one or two methods to market themselves are at great risk from changes in the world. Diversification is key across digital and nondigital marketing channels in order to protect their organizations from suffering. The litmus test is simple — look at your channels and evaluate if your business could survive if one disappeared. – Patrick Ward, Rootstrap
7. Determine what is situationally appropriate.
Marketing leaders need to understand quickly what is situationally appropriate for the moment and not be tone-deaf. You need to be anchored with an authentic voice and a mission to drive purpose, otherwise your efforts can come across as shallow. At the same time, you have to quickly get a sense of how the situation could evolve, so that you can navigate through the crisis in the appropriate manner. – Rich Honiball, Navy Exchange Service Command
8. Make sure every brand experience has a virtual version.
Companies need to make sure every brand experience they create can be translatable to a remote or virtual version (if not being formerly virtual). However, not just marketing leaders should pay attention to that transformation. Those who have kids at home right now are witnessing how schools, banks, clinics and a myriad of public services are having to learn and transform while in flight. – Marcello Magalhaes, Speakeasy – Knowledge Brokers
Originally published at Adage on May 15, 2020.