What is Experiential Marketing?


Think about a time you had more fun than you expected. What made it special? Do you remember your bar tab? Do you remember the name of a new person? What about the color of the walls or the band that was playing? Chances are you remember some of these things, perhaps all; perhaps none. But, you have a vivid memory. You know the story of how much fun that experience was. People thrive on stories. They help you to construct an understanding of everything from your childhood memories to the fragrant taste of cilantro in your favorite salsa. Stories are the foundation for personal connections, and that remains true for great experiential marketing campaigns.

Experiential marketing is the art of realizing brand stories so that your audience or customers buy into your business’s mission, vision, and values. Thanks to this phenomenon, marketing is no longer a one-sided exchange. It incorporates a level of reciprocity, into brand conversations, that advertising, print, and media has struggled to tap.

Thanks to market segmentation, and buyer persona analytics, brands already know who their customer is, and what they need to hear to connect with a brand. So, if you know your customer at such depth, why are they fatigued to the point of exhaustion by your sales and marketing tactics?

The answer isn’t a simple one, but the most commonly attributed cause is the over-saturation of information, banner ads, sponsored posts and other digital methods has reached an extreme. We say it’s not “an extreme.” It’s at the breaking point. Marketers are challenged to find a way to develop stories that put a consumer in the position of narrator and main character. They must find a way to develop co-ownership of the brand story, between the business and its customers. This is where great brands break away from the crowd.

A perfect example is the series of activations we deployed with TaylorMade. Their brand story is a well-known one; they prioritize quality and authenticity, above all. It’s literally in their name. Every piece is so finely crafted, and specialized for your golf needs, that it may as well have been tailor-made for you. To help tell this brand story, and include their market in the co-authoring of a brand story, they asked us to develop a retail space with dual roles. On one side, they implemented a traditional retail model and displayed inventory with a point of sale. The other side was a space where they custom-fitted golf clubs, on the spot. As the units toured golf tournaments, trade shows, and industry events, their biggest fans were not only offered a unique opportunity to purchase TaylorMade products but to be a part of the story and engage in the process of custom-making a golf club, just for them. And that’s just one example of the amazing experiences our clients have deployed over the years.

Stories shape us, and on some level, marketing efforts do too. Cultivating a customer’s confidence in your brand can foster a life-long bond. Experiential marketing and in-person experiences are the only way brands can tell a co-authored brand story and develop those deep, enduring connections.

For more information about using shipping containers for experiential marketing read The Basics: Experiential Marketing with Shipping Containers.