Experiential Marketing for MillenialsIf you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’re a small business owner or an entrepreneur with a product that you’re ready to push. But just for a moment, I want you to step into your consumer shoes—how do they feel?

They—like you—probably hate squirming through commercials after a cliffhanger scene in their favorite TV show. I bet neither you nor they can remember an ad from the Sunday paper. And I doubt your consumers—or you—like the 30-second advertisements that stand between them and the YouTube video they’re trying to show a friend.

The bottom line is, traditional advertising methods are losing their grasp on modern consumers. Those methods have grown stale in the world of interactive technology and rapid communication, and what’s worse is that they tend to bore people rather than motivate them to jump off the couch and purchase a product. On top of that, those outdated methods are expensive—few startups and small businesses can afford to promote themselves and their product with commercials and big print ads, and the easy alternatives—flyers, booths and press releases—can only go so far.

The Answer is Experiential Marketing

So, how are companies confronting this challenge? Two words: experiential marketing. It’s a powerful, “in-your-face” marketing technique that puts the product in the hands of the consumer and, more importantly, gets them excited about it. Technological advances have cultivated an increasingly interactive world, and experiential marketing capitalizes on our growing desire to participate rather than observe. In a society where user interaction is paramount, experiential marketing is a rising star in the advertising industry.

An experiential marketing campaign is going to be just as fun for you to create as it will be for consumers to experience it! Experiential marketing is ideal for companies who want to do any of the following:

  • Cultivate brand awareness
  • Inspire excitement and emotional connection
  • Create loyal fans of your product or brand
  • Showcase your product’s positive qualities
  • Motivate purchases

Examples of Successful Experiential Marketing Campaigns

Experiential marketing takes a number of different forms, but essentially it’s done any time a consumer is brought into contact with a product or brand. Here are some examples, both simple and grandiose:

  • Coca-Cola’s Hug Machine: A vending machine created by Coca-Cola and placed at the National University of Singapore that dispensed free cans of Coke when consumers gave it a hug. How cool is that?
  • charmin public restroomCharmin’s NYC Restrooms: Charmin installed 20 restrooms in NYC with six different types of Charmin toilet paper for guests to try. Restroom visitors were invited to vote on their favorite tissue and take pictures with Charmin bears. This campaign attracted around 400,000 participants and an overwhelming amount of media attention!
  • Corpão Brazilian Bootcamp’s Party in Central Park:  To launch her business, Corpão Brazilian Bootcamp founder Chardét Durbin partnered with Brazilian coconut water brand VitaCoco and a Brazilian music group and threw a huge “flash fitness” party in Central Park in New York.
  • Hallspot’s “#hallspotgoesgreek” Giveaway: College social networking startup Hallspot hosted a targeted sign-up competition at the University of Oregon campus. The Greek house with the most pre-registered users at the end of the weeklong competition received $1,000 to give to the charity of its choice.
  • Desigual’s Undie PartyThe first 100 people to show up to Desigual’s flagship store received a free new outfit. The catch? They had to show up wearing only their underwear.

My point is this: if the billboards and print ads haven’t been doing their job, you might want to give experiential marketing a try. As long as you’re up for some creative brainstorming, this marketing strategy will increase awareness and breathe new life into your brand and product.

[ Image via AOL Travel ]

AvatarJessica Crossley

UO Grad. Chocolate expert. Word nerd. Marketing enthusiast.