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Why Experiential Marketing is Essential in the Age of Digital Advertising

3 Mins read

Today’s consumers are more connected than ever. While the rise of digital advertising gives marketers unprecedented ability to reach consumers and understand their preferences, it also makes them wary of being marketed to.

For instance, Statista finds that 63% of US internet users feel negatively toward online video advertisements, and 47% express frustration with website ads. Most telling of all, only 10% say digital ads do not annoy them in any way.

Customers are losing patience with digital advertising. After being bombarded with ads on our phones, computers, and social media networks, experiential marketing provides a human touchpoint that can’t be replicated online by bringing your brand to life and helping it stand out in an age dominated by impersonal digital advertising.

Experiential marketing cuts through the clutter of digital advertising

It’s noisy out there. People see more digital ads than ever before, and they are starting to ignore them.

In fact, Hootsuite finds that 37.5% of internet users worldwide employ some form of ad-blocking software. In this age of digital advertising, experiential marketing helps you get your message across and stand out from all the other marketers by cutting through the noise to engage with customers in real and authentic ways.

Think about how many ads you see a day. Now, think about that really cool interaction you had with a brand and how well you remember it. Experiential marketing is about more than just showing up with branded swag — it’s about experiences that establish an emotional connection between your brand and your audience.

People remember what they felt during such an experience much more than anything they saw or heard in digital ads. This approach to marketing creates memories that stick around long after any one ad campaign ends.

Experiential marketing offers a unique touchpoint

Advertising works in frequency. In the context of marketing, frequency relates to how many times people see your advertisement during a given campaign.

In general, if you boost the frequency of your exposure, you increase the chance that your consumers will have multiple touch points with your brand. As a result, some of these will become high-quality interactions.

What’s more, experiential marketing offers a touch point that can’t be replicated online. The physical world is a great place to engage people, get them to take action, and create lasting impressions. It’s also an important tool for building trust with potential customers who have yet to hear of your brand.

Experiential marketing offers deeper connections than digital advertising

Experiential marketing gives your brand a deeper understanding of your customers. Meeting your target audience face-to-face allows your brand to connect with them in meaningful ways, allowing your consumers to reciprocate by telling you what they think about your brand.

In the age of digital advertising, we’re constantly bombarded with messages that feel impersonal and irrelevant. Experiential marketing offers a personal connection between brands and consumers by creating experiences that are engaging, memorable, targeted, and effective through real interactions — digital marketing can never provide that level of intimacy.

Real-world interaction with brands allows consumers who attend the events and those who see the photos afterward to engage in something authentic. In other words, experiences allow customers to see you for who you are, rather than just another faceless corporation selling stuff online.

Experiential marketing engages consumers, and engagement drives leads or sales

Experiential marketing provides the personal touch that allows you to engage with customers in a way that traditional advertising simply can’t. While digital advertising can be easily ignored or blocked, experiential marketing takes place in real-time environments that are engaging and memorable. You create an immersive experience that brings consumers into the world of your brand.

In addition to seeing and hearing your brand’s message, consumers can engage with your products and services firsthand. This helps you build deeper connections with potential customers — connections that lead directly to engagement and, thus, sales. Put simply, you drive sales at live events by building relationships and collecting data that help you better understand your target audience.

Experiential marketing drives word-of-mouth referrals

You can’t buy word-of-mouth marketing — it’s something you have to earn from customers through great products and memorable experiences. Word-of-mouth referrals are hands-down the most effective form of advertising and are highly correlated with purchasing decisions. According to Nielsen’s latest Global Trust in Advertising report, which surveyed 28,000 people in 56 countries, 92 percent say they trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising.

If you want to build a brand that people can’t help but talk about, experiential marketing is your best bet. Experiences inspire conversation and drive word-of-mouth referrals. Digital advertising is not enough anymore because it lacks voice, personality, and connection.

In today’s digital world, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype surrounding digital advertising. At the end of the day, however, consumers are still looking for real experiences, and the companies that embrace this trend will have an edge over those who don’t.

If you invest in experiential marketing and do it well, you will create an engaging experience that leaves people talking about what they felt, saw, or heard at your brand’s event long after they’ve forgotten the digital ads they saw that day.

Ray Sheehan is the founder of Old City Media.

Digital Advertising stock image by wee dezign/Shutterstock

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