You’ve probably heard the word buzzing around in the past several years: experiential. In marketing, it refers to a real-life brand experience that aims to be more memorable than traditional digital venues. With holiday buying already underway, plenty of online and brick-and-mortar retailers are on the hunt for tricks of the trade to help them maximize their return during this busy season. Whether you sell online, in-store, or both, finding the balance between in-store and digital investments is crucial this time of year.
One reason for the success of experiential marketing is that 93% of consumers claim that live events have a larger influence on them than TV ads. Another 94% say that they are more likely to remember a brand after an in-person experience. Though online has become the default for convenient transactions, we have seen that the physical act of shopping still holds what could be a nostalgic allure for most consumers. Correspondingly, it encourages a level of brand loyalty that an online experience may not be able to reach.
Marketing teams and their leaders are responding to these figures accordingly. The Global Brand Experience study states that one-third of CMOs plan to use between 21% and 50% of their budgets for brand experience activations over the next several years. But just how to incorporate this data into a plan of action is still up for debate.
For digital marketers, whose medium might not allow the kind of offline experience customers are asking for, these statistics might sound gloomy. When your customer has the option of making a purchase at any time, from anywhere, encouraging them to leave their home or workplace for a personal experience can be the hardest part of experiential marketing. The real challenge has always come down to getting consumers to hit the pavement and create some traffic in the real brick-and-mortar stores.
Thankfully, there are some powerful online tools that can help get your customers offline and in-store. To test out what this looks like in the middle of the marketing funnel, where most experiential activations happen, we partnered with Kvik, a Danish-design home goods retailer. One of their key goals was to drive in-store visitation by reaching new consumers who are in the market for a new kitchen.
In order to get your consumers into your store in the first place, your ads need the chance to be seen in a fraud-free and brand-safe environment. Once they get through the door, phase two of your work begins. When eMarketer surveyed about 11,000 individuals worldwide, consumers in the 18 to 24 age demographic said that the atmosphere and experience of the store is the top reason for shopping in-store vs. online. For brands who may be targeting this age range, effective promotions are still the number one driver for in-store visits. But what makes customers want to actually go through with a purchase comes down to the details: things like scent, lighting, and music can all create the ideal environment to encourage purchases.
That old-fashioned charm and a bit of supermodern MarTech can help you strike the perfect balance this holiday season and beyond.