Marketing has changed over the past few decades. Where TV advertising reigned supreme, with viewers almost a captive audience, today’s consumers have more choices. They can record their favorite programs and simply skip past adverts. The same is true for social media channels: skipping past adverts is easy.
Capturing and keeping an audience’s attention has become harder both for B2B and B2C brands. But experiential marketing still cuts through the noise and can even cross from B2B to B2C.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
From Trade Shows to Festivals
In the world of B2B marketing, events were almost synonymous with trade shows. However, as delivering ROI became more important and brands were being called upon to demonstrate the value of attending shows around the country.
For many brands, proving trade show ROI has been difficult. The consequence? Significant cuts in trade show budgets freed up funds for other marketing activities. One thing those activities needed to deliver was an opportunity for the brand to meet customers face-to-face and build relationships.
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Making Duct Tape Cool
Creating those connections is one of the main strengths of experiential marketing, and one brand that managed to harness this capability is duct tape. Cast your mind back a few years, and duct tape was just something tradespeople used to hold things together.
Things changed for the brand when the team decided to add designs to the classic silver tape and build awareness beyond its classic B2B audience. A pop-up store in New York City proved successful as did an anti-bullying program for elementary and middle schools.
The most successful experience duct tape created for its audiences has been the Duct Tape Festival in Avon, Ohio. The festival had been an annual event long before the duct tape team decided to become the title sponsor, but this sponsorship proved to be transformational for the festival and the brand.
One of the new festival highlights is a parade where attendees decorate their cars with duct tape and build things from tape following a theme. The brand now has an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records for most wearables created from duct tape. The brand successfully crossed the boundary between B2B and B2C marketing.
Why Experiences Are Unforgettable
Despite the world’s move toward digitalization, every buyer’s journey continues to have a kind of magic moment. It’s a transformational point when customers suddenly experience the product. They see it, taste it, and their senses are engaged.
Creating that kind of connection is unique to experiential marketing. There is no disruption to the customer, which is typical for pop-up adverts, for example. Instead, experiential marketing is about creating something that looks and feels like a fun experience. Plus, experiential marketing empowers consumers by allowing them to tailor their own experiences.
Providing this freedom allows brands to build a connection that is stronger than advertising could ever be. Measuring its success through data, including event impressions and ROI makes the business case for today’s experiential marketers. And those business cases not only justify the spending on experiential campaigns, but they make it clear just how powerful experiences are.
Steve Randazzo is the president of Pro Motion Experiential Marketing and the best-selling author of ‘Brand Experiences: Building Connections in a Digitally Cluttered World’. For more information, visit his Linkedin page or his website steve-randazzo.com.
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