What is Experiential Marketing or Engagement Marketing at Retail?

Experiential marketing, which is also sometimes referred to as engagement marketing, “event marketing”, “live marketing” or “participation marketing,” is a method of marketing that directly engages consumers by inviting and encouraging them to participate in the evolution of a brand. Rather than looking at consumers as passive receivers of messages, engagement marketing encourages participation from the consumer.

Experiential marketing at a retail level has become very common and is very important. Some examples of experiential marketing include:

In-store tastings. These can commonly be found in grocery stores. Food tastings engage consumers and invite them to sample products. This is a highly effective form of experiential marketing that will result in many consumers purchasing products that they never would have considered had they not tested the product in-store.

Live demos. Live demos are commonly found in shopping malls and department stores. Live demos are used to demonstrate to the consumer how they can use a particular product or appliance. Often participants will receive a coupon or sample of the product as a gratuity for participating in the demonstration.

Testing products. Product testing sessions, like testing hand creams and hair products, is a very common occurrence in shopping malls. Have you ever walked past a retailer in a shopping mall to be stopped by a sales representative who asked if you would like to test or sample a product? Or have you ever walked through the cosmetic and perfume section of a department store where a representative stopped you to sample fragrances or cosmetics? Often times, these representatives represent the brands. They are not employees of the retailer. For example, if you walk past the Estee Launder counter, the rep is likely an Estee Lauder employee or an employee of a marketing company that specializes in experiential marketing.

These examples are the essence of experiential marketing. There is nothing more engaging then inviting a consumer to try your product.

For experiential marketing to be effective it must be properly planned and executed. The brand should have a clear objective at the outset. If the offer will be a taste test, for example, how will the consumer be converted into a customer? Running a sale on the product the day of the experiential marketing campaign and/or offering coupons and/or discounts on a first purchase are excellent ways to entice the consumer to buy.

Your sales person is as important as your product. The sales person should be able to attract the consumer, establish a rapport, create a comfort level, knowledgeably answer any questions and sell product. Experiential marketing is an investment and money well spent, however brands often err when they send in entry level staff and/or students to fill this very important role. This type of marketing should be executed by skilled professionals who are trained in experiential marketing if you want to ensure that that your investment results in the best possible representation of your brand.

Working with an experienced marketing company that specializes in experiential marketing can provide you with the skilled staff, expertise and consulting to make your marketing campaign a success.

For more information about experiential marketing please contact Store Support at 905 847 6513 or visit www.storesupport.ca

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