Why should businesses consider experiential marketing?

Experiential marketing experiences create buzz. They get people who’ve engaged with your experiences talking, especially on social media. They also leave people feeling more connected to your brand, and lots of companies agree. More than 80 percent of brands planned to execute a higher number of experiential events last year, according to an EventTrack survey.

So, what’s experiential marketing anyway? For decorators, in simplest terms, it means taking your mobile decorating equipment to a location or event and letting people choose a design and a garment, then decorating the piece as they watch. It’s giving people who aren’t familiar with say, embroidery or direct-to-garment printing, a chance to experience the process and then take home a tangible reminder that they can wear or post to social media.

Experiential marketing makes business sense. Nearly 75 percent of experiential event attendees leave with a more favorable view of a brand, 65 percent gain a better understanding of a product or service, and 98 percent are more inclined to purchase from a brand after an event, according to EventTrack.

You’ve got lots of options for meaningful, immersive experiences, including pop-up shops, classes, product testing, shop tours, giveaways and contests, and installations. You may even get free coverage via newspapers, blogs, TV, or other broadcast media, depending on the event you’re hosting or attending. Get the most of it by pairing these events with other touchpoints, such as inbound and digital marketing.

Here are a couple of ways you can make money and earn additional exposure for your brand:

  • Brand activations: This is when a company launches a new line, product, or service. These are great opportunities for you to pitch your mobile decorating services. For example, you show up on site with your digital printer, along with five shirt styles, and three brand-focused designs. Attendees can choose their shirt and design, watch the printing process, and leave with a cool shirt. It’s a win-win. You get paid to decorate at the event, and more people get to meet your decorating company and leave with an impression of your work.
  • Retail installations: Unlike when a brand is launching something new, a retail installation or event can happen at any time, so this is an excellent service to pitch to local retailers. You’ll bring your mobile embroidery machine or printer to the retail location for a morning, afternoon, or evening. You can decorate your products (or theirs) with artwork of their choice for their paying customers.

When you’re planning an experiential marketing event to promote your own business, you’ll want to follow this checklist:

  1. Set clear goals you can measure
  2. Research your target market and the best ways to reach them before, during, and after the event
  3. Take a look at other successful experiential marketing campaigns, especially in apparel and with your target audience
  4. Plan an event that will be impactful, memorable, and spur your attendees to take action (This can be via orders or sharing their experience on social media)

Give people something of value. For example, experiencing decorating a personalized garment that they can be proud of and wear, especially if it ties back to a cause or event that they support. Further proof: McKinsey research shows that word-of-mouth recommendations influence 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions, and word-of-mouth recommendations after experiential events account for 50 percent to 80 percent of those recommendations.

For a small business, experiential marketing can be costly and challenging, so start small with sending or giving out personalized gifts. If you want to score a certain promising prospect’s attention, offering a personalized gift will make your brand stand out. For your existing best customers, sending personalized gifts around the holidays and as a thank you will go a long way toward winning repeat orders.

—Hirsch Solutions Inc.

Ed Levy, Hirsch Solutions Inca

Ed Levy

Ed Levy is an industry veteran and director of software technologies and marketing at Hirsch Solutions.

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Charlie Fox

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