What Is Experiential Marketing?
Sometimes called ‘live’ or ‘engagement’ marketing, experiential marketing is the idea of creating a lasting impression on prospects and customers through greater interactivity, especially through events.
Research your target audience...
Going down the experiential route in B2B is no different to any other good campaign in that the target audience must be captured as part of the brief. You must understand the community you’re engaging with before crafting an experience to suit them.
A way of doing this is to closely analyse the individual data of attendees. First off, it’s good to work out how your audience want to be reached out to as you’ll need to know where you’re most likely to come into contact with them in the first place. Learn about where they dedicate their own time to consume content and resources. Whether that’s a simple video, an e-mail or through social media, these can then be used to invite and update them on the event in a way that’s going to grab their attention.
It might also prove useful to look at RSVPs, traffic patterns, and activity participation. Or even things like website heatmaps, watch rates, drop-off’s, and click-throughs, which you can look at during the sign-up period. This applies even more so if your event is hybrid, as it could tell you a lot about your virtual attendees.
In addition, taking advantage of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools and algorithms is always a good way of giving a speedy and accurate rundown of audience data. By interpreting online profiles and learning their behaviours, such as their pain points are or what information is most important to them when making a purchase, you can target and recommend events straight away to the right people.
Combining these methods lets you truly understand your clientele and will help in creating an experience that’s a cut above the rest, just like our live and virtual roundtables we host here at Chief Nation.
Face-to-face networking is still of the utmost importance in business, but it’s being reimagined in a post-Pandemic world, and perhaps for the better.
...And understand how to speak to them
Creativity can feel more blatant in B2C, but that doesn’t mean it’s not for B2B. If anything, marketers need to be more creative in B2B for events to stand out and make a mark. Think about the experience from each buyer’s perspective and whether they’re a retaining client or it’s their first ever interaction; it’s your job to make the experience an impactful one, and creativity will help you make it so.
A well-thought-out event in line with a brand story is always going to be appreciated and remembered because any effective marketing campaigns value Storytelling. Particularly at a time where audiences everywhere are looking for a little escapism from lockdown life, providing some education and entertainment to lighten their load for a short while is never going to go amiss.
For example, WeWork hold a regional Creator Awards events — a pitch competition for organisations for cash prizes or funding from WeWork. A pitch competition like this can increase the exposure of an event and can distinguish an organisation as an industry thought leader. Or HubSpot’s annual mega event, INBOUND. An event that’s so influential that it’s grown as an event brand alongside HubSpot’s main brand by investing in the overall event branding.
We know the value of experiential marketing here at Chief Nation. Our take on it is our premium networking events for the C-suite, where our famous wine tastings and VIP experiences deliver impressive attendance rates and ROI for our clients.
Remember, a range of innovative pre, during and post-event tactics and talking points, is always going to steal the show.
The power of social media
In today’s world, where things can be done simply ‘for the gram’, it’s not just consumer-facing brands that should be taking advantage of social media in their marketing. Experiential B2B events are a great way of promoting your brand through user-generated content created by guests themselves.
We’ve already spoken about utilising social media prior to your event to learn about your audience so you can customise for them in the best way possible, but it can also unlock a whole lot more.
A huge 98% of customers at engagement events create their own digital or social content whilst there, and a whopping 100% of those report sharing it. Even more in line with a post pandemic world for B2B experiential events is that 44% of people are finding themselves using social media more now than before the Covid-19 outbreak. It’s savvy marketers that are in tune with these new buyer’s consumption habits and increased screen-time who will be utilising social media during and after the event to promote.
Make it V.I.P.
The whole point of experiential marketing is that the possibilities are endless, so use this, because nobody is going to say no to a good perk, and it will boost engagement.
Giveaways are something that should be fully encompassed in experiential marketing: creating a sense of exclusivity through VIP treatment, free branded collateral, new product launches, special access for early-birds or valuable customers, complimentary coaching or networking sessions are just a handful of ideas to make your event one to remember.
Going above and beyond to make your attendees feel extra special is always going to put your brand in good stead. It’s the little things that can make eventgoers feel connected to your brand. For example, acknowledging all attendees, producing content based on audience learnings, having a sufficient staff presence for real-life events or introducing those who have just joined.