What is Experiential Marketing and How Can Print Promo Products Help?

It’s no secret that traditional advertising is being met with adversity and animosity today. People have no tolerance for spam emails, pop-up ads, commercials and a slew of other tried and true advertising staples. As a result, it’s getting harder and harder to get your message across to those who need to see it.

Enter Experiential Marketing

This new-age form of marketing is one that’s trending among successful brands and proving reliable in making up the ground lost by antiquated forms of advertising. The simplest explanation is that it’s not direct marketing—it’s more about wrapping suggestive advertising in an authentic experience. Experiential marketing treads the line between guerilla marketing, promotional marketing, and giveaways.

Experiential marketing is hard to pull off, chiefly because it has to be completely engineered while remaining authentic. Participants can’t feel like they’re being sold to or marketed to, or the experience loses its appeal and the magic is gone.

Winning Experiential Marketing

So how exactly can your business participate in experiential marketing successfully? Unfortunately, there’s no concrete formula to go on, because the approach differs for every brand and each event. However, there are a few ways to improve your chances—the biggest of which is through promotional products.

Promo products offer a way to tie your brand to an experience, while also offering participants a tangible takeaway that encapsulates their experience. Let’s look at a few examples:

  • Apparel is unparalleled as a promo item. It can be boldly designed, varied in size, and even personalized. Further, apparel has a high-value indicator, meaning it’s coveted as a giveaway item.
  • Branded tech items are a hot commodity in experiential marketing. Simple earbuds, phone cases, thumb drives and more are all things that earn the appreciation of recipients. Further, they can be tied into many experiential campaigns.
  • Specially-branded items are king among giveaway options. For example, something like branded golf balls at a chip shot challenge offer a combination of exclusivity and perceived value to participants.

What do all of these items have in common? Aside from the fact that they’re branded, they’re all a clear cut above generic promo items. Branded pens, stickers, and other trinkets just aren’t going to cut it in an experiential campaign! For true success, you’re going to have to dedicate more of your marketing budget to items that will have a lasting effect.

Engineering the Right Experience

Let’s consider what a great experiential marketing campaign might look like and how the right promotional products could play a role in its success:

A new, local, up-and-coming coffee shop is trying to generate business within its community. The owner decides to rent a booth at the local farmer’s market. Instead of selling coffee, she sets up a station where people pick a type of coffee bean, learn how to grind it, and then make their very own French press. To cap it off, they can pay just $2 for a coffee mug and pour their freshly-made coffee right into it. The mug is theirs to keep.

This example has it all: an experience, branding and, most importantly, a clear and valuable takeaway. People will walk away from the situation feeling good about their experience and the company, with something to remind them of that moment.

When done right, a great experiential marketing campaign becomes a call to action. You just have to make sure to provide your target audience with a tangible reminder of their experience to cement that call to action. Want to get noticed with your very own custom promotional products? Reach out to your local AlphaGraphics print shop to start branding your own promo products!

Posted by Connor Thill

Digital Marketing Manager at AlphaGraphics HQ in Salt Lake City, UT.