The world is more connected than ever, but it often feels like we have never been further apart. Event marketing is a genuine communication between brand and consumer, bringing people together in an immersive experience. An effective activation is an exchange, with both brand and consumer contributing to the moment, and both leaving with a better understanding and appreciation of the other.
What does event (AKA experiential) marketing look like?
Whether it be a pop up shop, an invitation-only cocktail event, or even a virtual reality activation, the common thread through every event marketing effort is guests engaging directly with the brand. 74% of consumers say engaging with branded event marketing experiences makes them more likely to buy the products being promoted.
Unlike more traditional forms of advertising, which function as interruptions from the content the consumer is there to see, event marketing is the main event. 87% of consumers say that they found live events to be more informative than TV commercials.
So what makes event marketing so powerful?
An experiential activation usually has more than one goal. You might want to educate the consumer about a new product or service. You might want to solicit feedback firsthand. You might even just want to let them know you exist. Regardless, when your event is over, your success or failure should be determined by one question: Did you create an emotionally impactful experience? That doesn’t mean your guests should leave in tears. Rather, that when they leave, no matter what they did or learned during the event, they feel a connection to the brand that they didn’t have that morning.
People want the brands that they feel good about, and long after the details of your event fade from memory, those feelings will remain. Maya Angelou said it best when she stated, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” In event marketing, we strive to create that feeling, one that will live in the back of consumers’ minds as they make their purchasing decisions.
But…how many people can an event really impact?
Our co-founder Rick Kiley has mused on the surprise that marketers sometimes express that not only are events filled, but that they’re filled with the right people. This is no accident. The quality and/or quantity of your attendees is one of the tipping points upon which your event’s success rests. Be it with a highly targeted guest list, a well-chosen pop-up location, or effective PR alerting people of an upcoming activation, no detail is too small.
As is true in many parts of the industry, influencers have an important role to play here. Targeting people with an existing social or traditional media following enables an event’s reach to extend far beyond its attendees.
Extending reach through social media sharing is a key strategy for most events. To this end, most activations are designed to encourage and optimize social sharing to the tune of 98% of consumers creating digital or social content while at an experience. From that point, a simple event hashtag or social account is enough to turn an isolated event into a content generation factory.
In many ways, event marketing is as old school as it gets: people engaging in firsthand experiences with products or services. The understanding that consumers gain in this process will serve to educate them on your brand, and even give them a feeling of ownership over the product or service being showcased. When coupled with the modern technology designed to enhance these moments and expand an activation’s boundaries, a true bond is formed between brand and consumer. The intimacy inherent to event marketing sets it apart from more removed marketing techniques, and makes it a natural choice for endearing your brand to a world of consumers.