Experiential Marketing Approaches That ACTUALLY Work

August 1, 2019 Susan Serena

With experiential marketing the key is to create interactive experiences for attendees. If you do it the right way, you’ll develop the buzz you need for the brand you’re working with and make it a household name. The modern audience is now accustomed to all of the latest technology trends and are part of the “insta” world we now live in.

Now what does that mean for corporate event planners? Well, it means it’s up to us to grab the guests’ attention QUICKLY and live up to their expectations. But event marketing specialists will tell you that meeting their expectations isn’t what you want to do…what you want to do is go above & beyond what your audience expected. THAT is what makes you stand out as a successful corporate event planner.

Nowadays trends are continuously changing and from one year to the next what used to work, no longer does. It’s crucial that event marketing experts evolve their approach to keep up with the latest and greatest promotional movements.

Let’s go over some valuable elements being used in experiential marketing that will help you create a successful exchange between your attendees and the brand you’re planning an event for.

Photo Courtesy of Chronicle Live

The Element of Surprise

The element of surprise plays a major role in experiential marketing. If you do it right, you’ll cause attendees to react emotionally, and that in turn, will inspire a call to action. If you’re lucky, the action they take is sharing the surprise with their phone contacts, via email, or on social media which turns into indirect (and free) marketing for the event.

What creates the element of surprise so big that it becomes share worthy? Buildup.

Design a story that will be have the audience feel like they’re experiencing everything being described or enacted from start to finish. Don’t give too much away from the very beginning so that as the story unfolds, everyone begins anticipating what’s coming next. Use sound and lighting to enhance the buildup and trigger emotions. Then comes the boom…

Surprise! Whatever the surprise is, make sure it’s relevant to the event or brand theme but make sure it has the wow factor encompassed so that it instantly causes everyone to begin sharing out the experience. The goal is to deliver the unexpected and create a buzz.

Connect the Brand to a Concept

The last thing you want to do is host an event where any of the guests can leave stating that they didn’t have a good time, or that it was dull. A sure shot approach to delivering a memorable and relevant experience is connecting the brand with a powerful concept.  

Let’s give you a visual…

Say that you’re a corporate event planner who is organizing a conference for scientific research (we know, don’t fall asleep yet). How do you organize a presentation that is exciting for an audience that is typically quite serious, focused, and not easily entertained? Well for starters, what may typically come across as dreary topics to you, is not necessarily true for industry professionals. They are interested in the facts being delivered by the presenter. However, we’re dealing with the old and new generation of scientists so to appeal to both demographics, you can add some excitement by using technology to spark things up.

You want to connect the brand to a powerful concept by amplifying the topic, product or service you’re presenting in a choreographed way that will trigger at least a few of the senses and deliver the message through storytelling for a compelling delivery. What you’re doing is helping the audience focus on the subject through an experiential marketing method that will intensify the message.

Photo Courtesy of Adweek

Use 360° Video to Create a True (sort of) Experience

360° video will help clear up the blurry lines between ads and events. A lot of event marketers have turned to traditional videos to promote events on social media platforms but that limits the viewer to only seeing what was recorded in front of the camera. Using 360° video changes the medium into an interactive experience where your audience is able to take a full look around.

Let’s paint a clearer picture of the power of 360° video. Say that you’re pitching a destination for an event and old school brochures aren’t really working to convince the client where they should book their upcoming conference. You can help encourage their decision by providing them with a virtual experience of what they can expect through 360° video which will help them feel and see exactly what the destination has to offer.

Another great example of the impact of 360° video is when Hyundai facilitated U.S. military members to take a seat right next to their families to watch the Super Bowl game together. Now that is a true virtual experience! The ad was recorded and broadcasted live to the millions of viewers sitting at home and created an emotional journey to the existing excitement of watching the big game.

360° video is also budget friendly and requires much less equipment than using virtual reality because you can experience it without needing a VR headset and distribute the video across multiple devices. You’ll notice that some of the social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube now support 360° video to immerse followers and provide more of a live experience.

Photo Courtesy of Parker Design Consultants

Use Playtime (the adult version) to Redirect Attention

Playtime is crucial at any age when you’re looking to add balance to your life or your child’s life. It is no different to business professionals whose day to day may usually consist of a dull environment as part of the formal business culture. You want to tear down the boring walls and introduce some excitement to help redirect your audience’s attention by igniting their inner child.

The goal is to prove the benefit of the topic(s), product(s), or service(s) you’re presenting by showcasing them using a simple tactic like play.

There’s nothing like a good game to catch an audience’s attention and the added bonus (besides the fact that it’s one of the most cost-effective experiential marketing tactics) is that play has an addictive nature that keeps people on their toes and their attention focused.


In 2019, experiential event marketing is booming and Event Marketing Companies from around the world will show you just how it’s done at The Event Planner Expo. Make sure to attend this year’s show to safeguard your progress as an event pro!


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