What Does Experiential Marketing Mean?

December 1, 2022
Posted by
Bonus Track

Let’s be honest – commercials have run their course. Today, people can fast-forward through commercials using their DVR, avoid them altogether on platforms like Netflix, and download ad blockers to keep them from crowding mobile devices.

Turns out, people want connection, not commercials. But how? Using experiential marketing strategies, you can create engaging experiences that leave a lasting impression on consumers. Marketing is moving from being passive to active.

A Freeman Global Brand Experience Study reports that a third of CMOs plan to allocate 21-50% of their budget to experiential marketing efforts over the next several years. But what is experiential marketing?

In this blog, we define experiential marketing, give three examples of the best experiential marketing campaigns, and introduce you to an experiential marketing agency.

Let’s start with the basics: What is experiential marketing?

What Is Experiential Marketing?

Experiential marketing goes by many names: XM, EM, experiential advertising, live marketing, participation marketing, brand experience marketing, etc. At its core, experiential marketing immerses people in live interactive experiences. 

Often, it gets confused with event marketing, but experiential marketing doesn’t always have to do with a specific event, as you’ll learn. When an experiential marketing campaign is event-centric, it focuses less on the event itself and more on the interactions between the brand and its consumers.

An experiential marketing strategy is when a brand invites consumers to participate in a real-world experience. Experiential marketing aims to engage consumers in a memorable way that positively influences their perception of the brand, encouraging them to share their experience with others. Although experiential campaigns are typically in-person, they must be coupled with a multi-channel advertising strategy that amplifies them online, too.

Experiential marketing isn’t just for the consumer; it produces real results for businesses, such as:

- Raising brand awareness

- Building demand

- Creating brand advocates

- Humanizing brands

- Capitalizing on FOMO

- Forming lasting connections

- Driving conversions

Now that you know the answer to “What is experiential marketing?” let’s look at some examples of the best experiential marketing campaigns.

3 of the Best Experiential Marketing Campaigns

1. Refinery29: 29 Rooms

One of the best experiential marketing campaign examples is Refinery29’s 29Rooms – a funhouse of style, culture, and creativity that people can interact with across select cities. The 29 rooms are designed with brand partners ranging from artists to consumer-facing companies like Cadillac. 

Each year, 29Rooms has a different theme. Past themes include Turn It Into Art, Make Contact, and Expand Your Reality. 29Rooms is more than an event; it's truly an experience to remember.

An Inside Look at Refinery29's 29Rooms

2. Benefit Cosmetics: A Lashtastic Virtual-Media Campaign

To mark the release of They’re Real! Magnet Mascara, Benefit Cosmetics launched a clever marketing campaign using Augmented Reality to create an immersive experience during the pandemic. 

Once users signed into Benefit's Virtual Reality platform, they were asked to drop their location. Then, fans used their phones to collect Benefit’s ‘magnetic surprises’ (tokens) that appeared in their physical space. Each token was stored in a digital wallet that could be exchanged for virtual beauty consultations, mascaras, and discounts.

3. Sport Chek: Back to School Glow Up

To position Sport Chek as the curator of cool during the busy back-to-school season, Bonus Track created the Sport Chek Back-To-School Studio. This highly-curated studio experience showcased how to get ready for back-to-school while previewing and getting styled in the latest collection.

Top editorial stylists dressed guests from head to toe in the latest from Sport Chek, followed by getting glammed with an onsite hair and makeup team. The immersive photo studio experience resulted in every attendee sharing 1-2 static posts on social media in addition to the 3M+ social impressions we were able to track.

Now, about that experiential marketing agency we said we’d introduce…

Bonus Track: Experiential Marketing Agency, At Your Service

At Bonus Track, we add a cherry on top of everything we do. Take a look at our work, and believe us when we say: it speaks volumes. When you partner with us, we don’t just get the job done – we overdeliver. 

As a creative, experiential marketing agency, our full-service team develops and executes pitch-perfect, award-winning, multi-channel campaigns, social media content, experiences, and beyond to serve as music to your audience’s ears. We work to amplify your brand, helping it reach new listeners.

We know that a creative campaign is only as strong as its results. That’s why our initiatives are underpinned by a reporting strategy that allows us to track, measure, and optimise our results from start to finish. 

Ready to hit the high notes? Let’s talk.