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No matter what marketing practices you use, your ultimate goal is to get people to stop, look, and listen to your brand. To buy from you again and again.

But does your brand have a clear and distinct voice that can cut through the noise that your competitors are making?  Does your brand voice compel people to take action?

If not, it might be worthwhile to add experiential marketing into the mix. When you get away from solely creating content online or only investing in digital advertising and begin to create real-life interactive experiences for your audience, you bring your brand to life.

Here are a few best practices to get the most out of experiential marketing.

Plan and Communicate

Before your event, establish your goals. What are you hoping to achieve with the event experience? Simply awareness of your brand? Do you want to drive traffic to your website or social media profile? Are you looking to get people to buy your product or service then and there?  

While you do want to allow breathing room in the actual schedule for the event, you still need to plan out what’s happening so that everyone’s on the same page. And after the event, reconvene to discuss the outcomes. Did you hit your goals? What could you do better next time?

Awaken the Senses

People want to feel connected. They are looking for a reason to build a relationship with your brand. Online marketing can sometimes be flat, whereas creating in-person experiences that awaken the senses can give dimension to your relationship with your audience.

Images, of course, appeal to the visual sense. But go one step further. Give shoppers the tactical experience of holding and touching your product. Consider how Cinnabon’s fresh-baked smell hits passersby in a mall and gets them to purchase a cinnamon roll. Or how playing slower music in a restaurant makes diners linger longer. Incorporate as many of the senses as possible to stimulate your audience. Are these exmples of experiental marketing  not really.

Let the Event Happen Naturally

One issue with experiential marketing that I’ve witnessed is when brands over-curate the event. They have it planned to a T, with something action-packed occurring each minute. Information is thrown at guests, who experience data overload and shut down.

I suggest creating highlight activities and letting the rest occur organically. Give people breathing room to connect with your brand on their own terms. For example, if you want to hold an open house event at your winery, schedule a few events throughout the day and then let guests mingle in between. Perhaps you hold tours of the vineyards every other hour, and do a drawing for a prize in between. You could have stations set up for guests to play games and taste wines at their convenience rather than trying to force them on your itinerary.

Or if you have a cruise company and want to break out of the standard, dull shore excursions, you could find local artisans who could give a presentation to your guests on, for example, truffle hunting or cheesemaking. Get guests involved in the process: let them hunt for truffles or stretch out that mozarella.

Enlist the Aid of Powerful Ambassadors

The folks who represent your brand at experiential events need to fully embody it. This isn’t the time to hire $10 an hour workers from Craigslist. Instead, consider working with brand evangelists who have been gushing about your brand online and on social media. These are the people who are already excited about your products, and their enthusiasm will be contagious.  Ambassadors can not only appeal to your demographic at experiences but can also amplify your message if they have a strong social media following and can attract more interest in your brand.

Spread the Word About the Event on Social Media

In today’s digital landscape, if your event wasn’t documented on social media, it didn’t happen! Get a game plan ahead of time for who on your team will post images and updates to each of your social platforms. Consider using a special hashtag for the event so that attendees can also share their content and create even more of a buzz for it, and send links to the photos you took to guests after the event.

A lot of the success of experiential events comes from experience, but with these practices, you’ll be off on the right foot.