The History and Evolution of Experiential Marketing

Businesses are constantly looking for new ways to get their merchandise out in front of customers. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that experiential was created. If you just found our page from one of our case studies, let us first quickly define experiential marketing for you. Experiential marketing is a style of marketing that interacts directly with consumers in a way that builds a positive memory and relationship with them and the brand. It makes use of the way the brain stores memories to keep brands in the forefront of consumers’ minds.

People love forming connections with things they are interested in

People love forming connections with things they are interested in

Even though it may not have been called such, experiential has been around for a long time or at least the concept has. Think of Star Trek conventions. They are created to allow viewers to interact with everything related to the series. Customers can interact with actors, get unreleased information, buy books, tapes, pictures, purchase costumes or comics, and experience the entire immersion of the event which in turn builds stronger connections in their minds. And they are insanely successful.

Or think back to when you were a kid and a child in your class brought a new toy to school. He let the other kids see it, use it, and experience it. And what happened? Each kid in the class wanted that toy. They wanted the experience of having it and trying to rebuild what they felt when their acquaintance brought it to school. There was no advertising involved, this was just a kid playing with his toy and making all the other kids want one. It was basically free marketing, and it was super successful because all of those kids went home and told their mothers they wanted whatever that kid had. It may not have even been the coolest toy in the world (remember Pogs?) — all the kids wanted one because having one was cool and they liked the experience they had playing with it. Once that emotion is there, it’s there. People seek to recreate the enjoyment they have. People live from the experiences they have. Sure, you might want what you see, but you want even more what you experience. Think of TV shows created to sell toys. (Side note: surprisingly, most people don’t know this, but many of the most famous toys were marketed through kids’ cartoons. GI Joe merchandise was promoted from the cartoons. They didn’t make the toys because of the popularity of the cartoon – it was the other way around – the cartoon was designed to get kids to buy the toys.)

Remember, customers don’t want to be sold to, but they want to buy, and consequently, they want to be part of their most adored brands.

The internet allows marketing campaigns to be displayed worldwide

The internet allows marketing campaigns to be displayed worldwide

Think about Comiccon. Even before its recent boost in popularity, comic shows have been pulling viewers for decades. Why? Because people want to know more about their favorite comics, they want to talk to other people who love comics, and they want to

be a part of the brand.

It wasn’t long before companies started to understand that other products could be promoted this way, as well. In fact, an article in 2010 in the Washington Post stated that 11 of 14 “…consumers said they preferred to learn about new products and services by experiencing them for themselves or hearing about them from someone they knew. “

The advent of the internet took marketing to a new level, as well. If you consider a normal experiential campaign, it takes place in one city. It’s great for reaching people who live nearby, but not so great for other people. What if you market in Los Angeles but some of your regular customers are in New York? Thanks to the internet, people all over the world can see what you’re doing. Businesses can reach them away from the location of their promotion. Moreover, the online industry itself has been key in some early campaigns. In 2007 in Japan, the company Tohato marketed two new snack brands by advertising in an online mobile phone multiplayer game. Customers would battle on the side of one of the brands to strive to emerge victoriously. This allowed viewers to take part in the brand itself while enjoying themselves in the process. This campaign, the style of which was unheard of at the time, won an award the following year.

Past the internet, Keith Ferrazzi, CEO of a Los Angeles research and consulting firm, wrote in 2009 about The Information Age that the next age may be the Relationship Age, illustrating it as “technology and human interaction are intersecting and trust, conversation, and collaboration are top of mind and top of agenda.”

It sums up experiential perfectly.

The complete experience of emotion is why these promotions form lasting impressions

The complete experience of emotion is why these promotions form lasting impressions thanks to experiential companies.

People love interaction. Our pop-up shops give people a chance to see in person the new products that a company is offering, talk to spokespeople and form a relationship with the brand, and actually observe how the products are used in real life. This is what people find exciting. It’s better than window shopping and better than browsing online. It’s forming not just a want, but a connection. That kind of advertising works with all products, not just the technology ones. Of course, people want to try the newest cell phones, but they want to test new food, too. And we’ve done that, with Godiva, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and Plainville Farms. Consider the implications of this. You have something like the feeling of drinking vodka with your friends all wrapped up into the marketing and promotion of a product. Something of this nature will build a connection with the audience more than any other kind of marketing. You’re tapping into many different feelings all at once, enjoyment, camaraderie, and contentment. Immediate connection.

When you consider the way the mind works, it’s no revelation that experiential marketing companies are successful. It’s hard to not like something that you’ve used and had a wonderful experience with. Even if you don’t buy one then, you might in the future. And even if you don’t in the future, you might tell your friends about it. The experience is already remembered. It’s just like our anecdote of the kid in school at the beginning of this post. As soon as someone forms a good association with a product, they want it. It’s not just about differentiating yourself with features, it’s about differentiating yourself with connections.

Experiential marketing companies like us understand strategy which continues to be effective for the reasons we mentioned above. We’ve done it for many clients and are happy to continue to promote products in ways that allow customers to experience them directly, to form new connections which tie them to the products, and to be part of demonstrating the brand experience to everyone we can. Check out many of our case studies to see what we’ve done, read our blog for more information about the business and what differentiates us from other experiential companies, or contact us if you want to learn more about what we do or talk to our brilliant staff about how we can help you demonstrate your latest release.

The future will potentially see a boost in experiential marketing as more and more companies discover what makes it so effective. Roots3 Productions is proud to be leading the way. As future technologies are developed they will integrate even further into the job of bringing new products to consumers. Experiential will be around as it proves to be a powerful form of advertising and more brands learn about how they can implement it to further the image of their brand practically.

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