What is Experiential Marketing and Why is Tech a Vital Component?

As marketers and event professionals,it is our job to give brands the opportunity to connect with people on a level that transcends traditional marketing. By creating an experience that lets people participate in the event, either in person or virtually, brands put the control in the hands of consumers instead of just hammering them with marketing messages that have no context or meaning.

What is experiential marketing?

According to Wikipedia; Experiential marketing, sometimes called “Engagement marketing”, “Event marketing”, “Live marketing”, or “Participation marketing” is one tool in an arsenal of hundreds at the disposal of brands and companies. This type of marketing directly engages consumers and encourages them to participate rather than become passive bystanders. Experiential marketing puts the consumer in control of their own experience. It is a powerful medium for brands to connect to consumers in a relevant, authentic and memorable way that can create a lifelong connection to a brand. If done right, this type of marketing can be done in a small scale, one-on-one environment and then scaled through viral videos across the globe.

Traditional advertising (TV, Radio, Billboard, Print) still holds value but can be expensive, require repetition and can be hard for a brand to track sales. With experiential marketing, brands have access to real numbers; number of participants, engagement time per user, post event survey, sales post event, media impressions, etc.

Virtual Reality In Events

So how then does technology fit into these experiences?

With the advent of new technology and mobile phone based experiential programs, marketing companies have begun to delve deeper into data such as; Geo-Targeted data, Facebook user data, sharing statistics, views, app downloads, direct sales and more. Technology has put new and ever-evolving tools in the hands of marketers and we are seeing a shift from traditional marketing to more personalized, targeted, relevant messages based on actual user data. This is powerful because brands can now experiment with marketing on a small scale to test effectiveness of a program and refine it before rolling it out nationally or globally.

Technology like Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality have only scratched the surface of what is possible. Tech is ever-evolving and things that were impossible 6 months ago are mainstream today.

In 2014 I attended an event Eric Schmidt’s Curiosity Camp and it was here where I got a first glance at the future of Virtual Reality. One of the attendees, brought his computer, Oculus Rift and a pair of headphones and let me experience first- hand a Beck concert in VR that put me on stage beside Beck with 360 degree views of the stage and crowd. I simply cannot explain how amazing and I can only recommend you find someone with an Oculus and ask them for a demo.

Without getting too in depth in each technology, the images below are 6 of my favourite technology-based experiential activations that will hopefully give you some creative fuel with which to go make something new and exciting for your clients. Click the image to see the video. By using these kinds of technologies, you are not constrained by physical places or spaces and have the ability to give brands an indelible connection to consumers that is literally a game changer by creating an unforgettable experience. You will most certainly increase brand love exponentially.

[author image=”http://canadianspecialevents.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/AAEAAQAAAAAAAAV2AAAAJGUxNGI0NWNhLTZmMTktNDlkMy1hYTNlLWQ2MjA2Yjk5Njk3NQ.jpg” ]Alan Smithson is an investor and entrepreneur based in Toronto, Canada.  He inveanted the Emulator DJ system, is the CMO of his 11 year old daughter’s company Love Sandal and is a partner at Shok Kreative as well as the owner of Star Productions DJ service.  www.AlanSmithson.com[/author]