Experiential Marketing: How even small events can make a big impact.

PILGRIM employees recently helped reenact a classic video game race in Downtown Denver. Not only was it an entertaining event, it was also a very clever marketing stunt.

The race was a perfect example of “Experiential Marketing”, also known as engagement marketing, or participation marketing: where consumers are invited and encouraged to participate first hand in the evolution of a brand. 

Real-­‐life experiences have always shaped consumers’ opinions and buying preferences. Using events to bring customers into one-­‐on-­‐one contact with a product or service creates memorable experiences and strong emotional ties that can be hard to get from an ad or website.

When it comes to experiential marketing, even smaller events can have big impact. More intimate events help marketers get closer to the customer and maximize one-­‐on-­‐one interaction. They also give everyone the chance to experience the product and the ability to share that experience with others. Smaller events also cost less money.

In many experiential marketing cases, a whole social-­media event is created around it. People can tell their friends to check out the information, share the videos, etc. Many brands actually encourage people to become fans on site by offering rewards, prizes and premiums via smartphones or mobile devices. Many events also offer exclusive options for existing fans, whether that’s free parking or ticket discounts.

Experiential marketing is almost guaranteed to build some buzz. Events are not just a moment in time, they are content that can be used in various ways – whether that’s online or on TV. They also have extended impact through word-­of-­mouth. Naturally, people want to share with their friends when they experience something “cool”.

Experiential marketing was a natural marketing choice for a local Denver golf cart taxi company recently. Together with a local magazine, they created a fun, unique video to increase awareness for the brand. The budget was tight, which meant a little creativity was needed. Keeping this in mind, the team organized a real life Mario Kart-­style race using the taxi buggies, contestants in character costumes and bar challenges. The event created a lot of buzz, plenty of social media engagement and some fantastic video content.

The bottom line is, human beings are highly social animals and have the innate need to communicate and interact. So even when the event is small, what better way to make an impact than through experiential marketing?

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