Experiential Marketing Ideas for Trade Shows and Events

Expectations for live events and trade shows have changed. Are you prepared?

Though so many of the tried and true elements of a live event are still just as critical as ever — like a branded booth, high-quality marketing materials, and giveaways like branded promotional items — today’s trade show audiences are looking for more when it comes to live events.

In order to be truly memorable, increase your engagement with your audience, and meet your marketing goals, brands these days need to create an experience, one that is not only memorable, but indicative of your organization’s values. 

This sort of marketing is called experiential marketing, and it’s a strategy you should consider for your next live event. 

Experiential marketing — what is it?

Though it is sometimes also referred to as participation marketing, engagement marketing, or even on-the-ground marketing, it’s most common name is experiential marketing, and it’s quickly becoming one of the most popular ways in which you can reach your audience at live events and trade shows. 

So, just what is experiential marketing?

Experiential marketing is a distinct strategy for marketing a brand, one that invites its audience to participate directly with that brand in a tangible, hands-on situation. 

This experience is more in-depth than sponsoring a booth or a special refreshment stand at a live event (though those elements could be incorporated into your brand’s experiential marketing strategy). 

Alone, those tactics might be considered passive in nature, whereas experiential marketing aims to be immersive in telling a brand’s story, sharing its values, and creating as many opportunities for meaningful interaction as possible.

With experiential marketing, you have the opportunity to engage your audience meaningfully, teach them something practical and useful, and give them a reason to be an advocate for your brand.  

The most successful experiential marketing includes its live event presence as a component of a larger marketing strategy, where you incorporate specific marketing tactics before, during, and after the event. 

Before the event

This is your opportunity to create a buzz about your presence at the event. You can use tactics like database emails, blogs, and social media to set expectations, grow your database by asking people to sign up for raffles, exclusive meetings, or VIP access, and give people sneak peeks at all the unique things your brand is offering. 

During the event

Social media is going to be one of your most important tactics during the event, but more importantly is the interactive nature of your presence at the event itself.

How are you asking people to engage with your brand? Is there a game? A live Q and A that you could stream online? Are you offering an immersive experience through something like virtual reality in order to create a special experience? Or could they even make something at your booth that gives them the opportunity to be creative while experiencing your brand?

Your only limit is your imagination!

After the event

Follow-up emails, post-show blogs recapping the event, and using social media to summarize the event experience you created is an incredible way to extend your brand’s reach even after the event is over. 

By creating great experiences at the event and communicating those interactions widely on social media, you’re reminding your audience of the great time they had with your brand, while also telling others that they missed on something special — and that they won’t want to next time!

Experiential marketing — how can I get started?

While experiential marketing might not feel like the simplest marketing strategy, it does have the potential to give you an incredible ROI if deployed correctly. 

So, how do you get started? One way is to give you and your team time to prepare, so that you can look at your marketing strategy over the course of the upcoming quarter, or even the entire year. 

How does each event you’re participating relate to your business’s sales cycle? What might your customers find most valuable in that specific time period? How can you take advantage of that moment by giving them the most meaningful experience possible? 

At Earnest Images, we specialize in helping brands bring their most meaningful brand attributes to life so their customers can better understand and feel their values in action. 

To learn more about how Earnest Images can help you bring your experiential marketing strategy to life, contact us today for a consultation! We look forward to speaking with you!

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