Published June 16th, 2020 by Editorial Team

What Is Experiential Marketing and How Can B2B Companies Leverage It?

Times are changing, advancement in technology and access to the internet has exposed today’s customers to different buying behavior. So, they have control over what, when, why, and how they interact with brands. 

Gone are those days when people buy on impulse. Nowadays, customers are more sensitive and cynical about product offers and uninteresting advertising messages.  

Even organizations that upped their sales game in the past via traditional marketing channels are now struggling to stay afloat. 

What does this imply? It’s simple; the marketing strategies used in the past are ineffective in today’s business world. If your marketing campaign isn’t emotionally appealing to your customers, it can’t make any difference in sales. 

Generally, Millennials tend to ignore online advertising because of the proliferation of campaigns they see on the internet daily. 

So, except your ad is entertaining and engaging, the digital generation may ignore it. That’s why experiential marketing has become the paradigm shift in marketing campaigns. 

Experiential marketing ( also known as engagement marketing) is a marketing strategy directed towards engaging brands’ customers and encourages them to experience the brand. 

The strategy enables brands to connect with their customers, build relationships with them and reduces customer acquisition costs minimally. No wonder, B2B companies are turning towards experiential marketing as a more effective approach to engage with customers. 

Experiential marketing is a marketing campaign that creates experience between companies and customers. Since the technique uses real-world experience to market products and services, B2B companies are adopting it to connect with their customers and potential buyers. 

What differentiates Experiential Marketing from Traditional Marketing?

Experiential and traditional marketing are two different marketing techniques. They are both different in the market approach and position a brand in the minds of customers. 

Here are some major differences between experiential and traditional marketing; 

Campaign Approach

Experiential and traditional marketing approach campaigns differently. While traditional marketing focuses on marketing functional features and core benefits of products, Experiential marketing is more concerned about creating a stimulating brand experience for customers. 

Brands that use traditional marketing campaigns focus all their message around products’ raw features and their benefits. However, experiential marketing technique is tailored towards capturing and sustaining customers’ interest. The strategy creates an exciting and emotionally meaningful live brand experience. 

Competition 

Traditional and experiential marketing view competition differently. Traditional marketing strategies focus on adding new features to existing products to outsmart competitors. 

Experiential marketing, on the other hand, strives to differentiate a brand's products from the competition. Experiential marketers always ask questions - how does our advertising message affect our customers’ daily life? How do the product impact customers’ social relations and a sense of belonging? 

Experiential marketing often asked the questions mentioned above because they don’t see products as a set of features and benefits. Instead, they see products as broader life experiences. 

Customers 

Traditional marketers see customers as strictly rational; that’s why they focus more on selling product features and core benefits. But experiential marketers see customers as both rational and emotional. 

The experiential marketing strategy adds a large emotional dimension to customers’ behavior. This approach believes that every customer buying behavior is influenced by fantasies, fun, deep feelings, and imagination. 

Channel Experience 

Unlike traditional marketing, experiential marketing has a more diverse experience channel. It’s a blend of real-life, physical experiences, and virtual experience. 

Execution

Even though experiential marketing is affordable, it’s a bit harder to execute. Before executing your experiential marketing campaign, you must have a detailed plan of action, logistics, and different research techniques to help you understand your customers. 

What Makes Experiential Marketing Campaign Effective?

Experiential marketing can bolster a lasting connection between customers and brands. It enables you to collect important data about participating customers, which can be used to improve your brand’s strategy. 

Brand strategy is very important from the get-go. If you need help with this sort of setup and things to consider, here are are list of digital marketing agencies (with rankings) that could help you achieve a good brand setup. 

Here are 5 principles that make experiential marketing campaign effective; 

#1. Emphasize the Story, Not the Brand

In experiential marketing, you don’t overtly sell your brand. Instead, it focuses on telling a story that your customers can relate to. Again, the story you are telling should be relevant to your target customers. Otherwise, it won’t yield the expected result. 

So, your experiential marketing to create experiences that come close to your audience’s heat and evoke emotions. With this approach, your experiential marketing campaign will always be unforgettable for your customers. 

#2. Attractive Booth Fabrication

Remember, the essence of experiential marketing campaigns is to connect more people with your brand. But this can’t happen if you are unable to grab your customers’ attention. But if your brand has an attractive booth, it will be easier to grab people’s attention. 

#3. Encourage Social Media Impression

Social media marketing plays an important role in the success of experiential marketing campaigns. It helps to reach more audiences beyond the physical scope of the campaign. Again, hashtags will be helpful for the success of the campaign. 

Furthermore, you can make your campaign trending online by encouraging participants to share their experience and photos online. 

#4. Build Loyalty

Experiential marketing is a holistic marketing campaign. It doesn’t only lure the audience to participate and interact with a brand, but also turn them into loyal customers. 

At the end of every experiential marketing campaign, your customers should be inspired to trust your brand and drive your products. Remember, this is as a result of offering satisfactory products and interactive activities. 

How Can B2B Companies Leverage Experiential Marketing?

Contrary to what most people think, B2B brands can leverage experiential marketing to achieve great results. With the right strategy in place, you can use experiential marketing to drive results for your B2B brands. 

Here are 5 ways to employ experiential marketing for B2B Brands; 

Trade Show

B2B brands can employ experiential marketing in the form of trade shows. Trade shows enable B2B companies to engage with the right industry’s audience without spending much. 

A well-organized trade show will enable your company to engage decision-makers and have an interactive experience with them. Interestingly, emerging technologies like VA, AR, or Mixed realities enable B2B marketers to demonstrate products in a trade show without stress. 

As a rule, never show off your products without giving decision-makers and influencers experience. Ensure you creatively give them hands-on engagement. 

Conferences

Just like trade shows, conferences are a strategic way to connect with the right industry audience in one location.

The advantage of conferences is that they provide B2B brands the opportunity with the audience they attract. The audience could be educators, influencers, industry leaders, etc.

Depending on their budget, B2B brands may decide to carry out experiential marketing campaigns in an existing conference or decide to launch a new conference. 

But one thing is certain - when you align your B2B brand among thought leaders in an educational session, you will position yourself as an industry leader. 

Here are some of the experiential marketing opportunities conferences offer B2B brands; 

  • Speaking engagement: B2B experiential marketers don’t just sit and listen in conferences; they try to engage the right industry audience with their products/services experience. 
  • Sponsorship: there are sponsorship opportunities in most conferences. It enables marketers to engage attendees personally. 
  • Pop-up Marketing: Pop-up marketing in conferences allows B2B brands to blend their brands into the event. 
  • Guerrilla Marketing: Guerrilla marketing is another experiential marketing opportunity conferences offer. It allows you to activate outside the event while engaging attendees. 

Company Tours

Company tour is another strategic way B2B brands can employ experiential marketing. It involves taking prospective and potential clients round your company environment. 

Depending on the size of your company’s facility, you can take them on a multi-stop tour, identify building expansion, show them your unique differentiators, etc. They will highly appreciate it. And when they leave with a perfect understanding of the value, your B2B company can offer. 

Again, ensure that you turn your showroom, office space, or manufacturing floor to museums so that prospects and clients will have direct experience with what you do and who you are. 

Adventure and Retreats

Adventure and retreats are a great experiential marketing strategy B2B companies are leveraging. It involves hand-picking some of your clients and giving them a once-in-a-lifetime adventurous experience. 

There are several fun activities you can do to keep your clients entertained. Once on an adventurous trip. You can take them kayaking, skydiving, sailing, etc. You can also rent a beach apartment on a tropical island and give them spa, sun, and sips. 

The advantage of this strategy is that it creates bonding moments that could lead to real friendship. And if you give your audience adventure, your brand will be better positioned in his mind. 

Offer Exclusive VIP Perks

If your B2B brand often organizes events or conferences, you should consider exclusive VIP perks to your special customers. It could be accessed at the VIP lounge in the next event or conferences. 

In summary, times are changing; it takes experiential marketing to get Millennial attention. Believe me, when I say this, nobody cares or clicks traditional adverts these days. 

 
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