Marketing is a tricky thing today. Consumers are more connected than ever and more capable of doing research into a product or company and yet they have become even blinder than before to advertising. This means that a business, particularly a small business that doesn’t have a huge marketing budget, has to be more creative than ever before in order to get their message across to others. This is where experiential marketing comes into play. Large businesses already know the benefits of this kind of marketing, but small businesses can easily get in on the fun too.
Experiential marketing is when a business finds way to connect to the lives of their consumers and this is something which small businesses actually have an advantage in. When your business takes part in this type of brand building, what they are doing is making themselves a part of the lives of others, if only for a few events. In doing so, people are more trusting of a business, more willing to work with them, and more willing to tell others. Plus business owners and employees have a lot more fun interacting with the community than staying in the stuffy store all day!
There are lots and lots of ways to take part in experiential marketing and make it work for you. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Celebrate the Good Times
Are you doing something new with your business soon? Opening a new location? Offering a new product? Updating your menu? Turn this simple change in your business into a celebration! Publish your usual marketing to tell the world about the bash you’re hosting to celebrate the amazing changes in your business. Offer samples, free lessons, tutorials and other ways people can work with your product or service. Sponsor runs, hold a concert, throw a dance, have a dinner… the sky is the limit. Think about things your customers would love to do with your products and let them do it.
Lone Wolf or Pack?
There are two things here: you can either go for projects where the local buyers will only see your business (such as a booth in a park for a weekend or driving a company vehicle through the campus) or you can partner up with other small businesses to create marketing techniques together. For example, if you have a bakery and another local business sells kitchen gear, partner up! Maybe you sell clothes and someone else sells sewing equipment. Partner up!
Either one (or both) are great ways to make sure that your business is visible. The problem with things like art and trade shows is that you are one voice in hundreds. By making yourself stand out and/or setting up with like minded businesses, you have less competition and a stronger voice.
How do you interact with your consumers? Well, handing out the goodies and tutorials works, but how do you get your customer feedback? This part of marketing is called an engagement zone; a place where you can get information and feedback through conversation, polls and surveys. Many businesses are now going online to do this, but you don’t have to (going online kind of kills the personal aspect of marketing). Set up feedback booths or opinion booths in the real world and you can figure out what your customers love, hate and want from you. It can be as simple as putting in an engagement table at the front door of your business and asking people to drop a line about you did.
There are so many things happening in your town that you could be a part of! If you want to do proper experiential marketing, either be hands-on yourself or hire a few hands-on employees. Then take your experiences to the streets! Take part in fairs, local sports games, barbecues and kiddie events. Add what you can to local events and then people will remember you. It’s fun and useful to your business.
Plenty of small businesses are going online and it works fine. While experiential marketing works best when you can chat face to face, the internet is strengthening the way we interact with each other. Creating product videos, interactive tools and forums are great ways to inject energy into your business and allow for positive experiences. Then consumers can take what they learned digitally and apply it in the real world.
Effective marketing today means being creative and willing to do more than just shout about your business to a world that is fielding a million other shouts a day. Through experiential marketing, you not only make your business stand out, but you can have a lot of fun doing it. Good luck and enjoy!
About the Author: Kausik Baisya is a Digital Marketing Professional and an enthusiastic writer, who holds an editorial position in Prepgenie, a test prep provider that offers exam preparation courses for GAMSAT, PCAT, HPAT, LNAT, UMAT and UKCAT.