Experiential Marketing Techniques Improve Marriott’s Sales Conference, Big Ideas from the EM Summit, & Optimizing Events for Instagram (Elevate Connect)

Experiential marketing has proven to be highly effective in terms of driving brand awareness, brand affinity, and both short and long-term sales. And while many people might assume experiential is only used in B2C, the reality is that B2B companies are also finding success in face-to-face marketing. After all, whether the decision-maker is choosing ice cream for their home or a vendor for their company, he or she is still a human being. Now we are also seeing companies embrace experiential marketing techniques in relation to employee training and engagement, which is vastly improving outcomes in these areas of business as well. This week the White Board opens with an article that details how Marriott International recently used experiential marketing techniques to drive results for attendees of an internal sales meeting.  We also feature an article that highlights 5 big ideas from experiential marketing’s largest industry conference, the EM Summit.

Marriott Proves that Experiential Isn’t Just for Customers

Marriott International is no stranger to experiential marketing. In fact, the hotel brand took the title for Best Fair/Festival activation at this year’s Ex Awards for their pop-up hotel at Coachella 2017. In addition, they created a series of Instagram-worthy showcases for an internal sales and marketing conference in Atlanta.

Recently, Marriott decided to bring their experiential game yet again, but this time for an annual sales conference. Even though the event was for internal employees, the brand knows the importance of a brand experience in inspiring an audience.  They partnered with experiential marketing agency, BMF media, and created 25 “rooms” that reflected distinct aspects of the brand’s positioning, aesthetic, and values. The event also provided attendees with the opportunity to get to know the brand better, and all that it has to offer to its consumers. Much like within an influencer marketing strategy, engaging their employees using experiential marketing techniques can help transform brand representatives into brand advocates. Check out the full breakdown of the event here.

 Facebook’s NYC Pop-Up Store Brings Affordable VR to the Masses

For technology companies, one of the biggest challenges they face is accessibility. Often this is demonstrated in price point, product awareness, and value proposition. At times, companies seek to hyper-target a certain consumer segment, however most strive to broaden appeal and accessibility to the larger general population. This is especially true in the case of virtual reality (VR)and other emerging technologies that seek to become mainstream.

To broaden awareness of and generate excitement for their own VR platform, Facebook-owned Oculus launched their newest (and most affordable) headset with a pop-up in New York. In what was the first of a broader marketing push, the Oculus Go shop consisted purely of the “more accessible” gear that doesn’t require a computer or mobile device and is offered at a lower price point. In addition to the tech, the store was also equipped with a team of expert brand ambassadors to guide consumers through their VR experience.

Key Takeaways from Event Marketer’s EM Summit

Every year, the experiential marketing industry’s heavy weights, newcomers, and everyone in between attends the Experiential Marketing Summit. The conference, which is produced by industry-standard publication Event Marketer, serves as a true meeting of the minds. The conference provides panels consisting of marketing agencies as well as brands, and includes deep-dive breakout sessions and networking opportunities.

While there was quite a bit of coverage surrounding the summit’s major events, such as the Ex Awards, not everything from the event could be shared. However, the team at FreemanXP took some great notes, and shared some key takeaways from the event. The author discusses many important points, including insights related to the ever-debatable value of “vanity metrics.”

The Right Way to Market to Generation Z

Last week, we touched on several tactics that brands can use to reach and resonate with Gen Z consumers. Specifically, it’s important for companies to understand that one primary characteristic that set this group apart is that they have always had technology/internet readily available. It is this worldview that requires that marketing to Gen Z needs to be approached from a perspective that is different than preceding generations.

This article by Adweek takes a deep dive into understanding Gen Z and highlights additional thought-starters on how marketers can appeal to this younger generation. The author breaks it down into 4 points, including taking risks, brand authenticity, diversity and experiences. And like Millennials, Gen Z craves experiences over all else. However, they also want a hand in creating their own experiences.

Uber Brings Manchester United’s Old Trafford to India’s Soccer Fans  

Brand experiences have the potential to completely transport crowds to a new place, sometimes a once-in-a-lifetime destination. From other worlds, to other times, brands can get creative with how they can connect with consumers. Recently car-share giant Uber executed an activation that exemplified the brand experience as a can’t miss, FOMO-inducing event.

Uber identified that a large population of Manchester United’s fans would never have the opportunity to visit the football stadium, Old Trafford. Partnering with experiential agency Manifold, Uber decided to recreate the famed stadium in Bengaluru, India. The experience invited and cultivated the same atmosphere that would be found at the stadium, including face painting, fan-favorite chants, and traditional stadium food. Check out the full experience here.

Food in Experiential is the Way to Consumers’ Hearts (and Stomachs, of Course)

From LA to New York, foodie culture is strong and thriving. Not a day goes by that social media accounts across the globe don’t see carefully-curated pictures of well-plated food pass through their feeds. Many bands identified this fad early on and have helped shape the #foodporn trend. Marketers are also incorporating food-based components (and even full themes) into their experiential marketing techniques. In fact, experience agency Cramer suggests that exploiting the food trend is a creative way for brands to drive consumer engagement in experiential events.

Well-executed consumer engagement tactics encourage brand loyalty through “authentic personalization” and, in turn, transforms those consumers into brand advocates. In the world of experiential, this means brands need to come up with creative ways to provide hands-on food elements for attendees. From a fully interactive Pizza Museum to using the sense of taste as a key component to a larger experience, food-driven engagement has proven a fun, interactive way to increase consumer engagement and amplify brand experiences.

Nike’s Paris Experiential Campaign Results in a Big Sales Boost

Since its inception in 1964, the Nike brand has grown exponentially. And when it launched the “Just Do it” slogan in 1988, the phrase became a global phenomenon. Everyone everywhere recognizes the phrase as being tied to Nike, and vice versa, and their logo enjoys worldwide recognition. Yet, despite being a dominating global brand, Nike is still faced with the same challenges as other brands – creating and maintaining consumer loyalty. As a result, the company has remained committed to a significant investment in marketing, including in experiential.

For the launch of their newest shoe design, the Air Max 270, Nike took to the suburbs of Paris to reach their “true fans.” The activation saw 4,000 visitors over the span of 2 days, which included the engagement of local influencers and a contest to submit a design of the Air Max shoe. The experiential activation was then followed by a series of pop-up stores and digital/print campaigns. According to Campaign, Nike’s marketing efforts resulted in the sale of 30,000+ pairs of shoes.

How to Ensure Your Event is Instagram-able

The planning process for an experiential campaign always includes (or should include) a social media amplification component. However, not all platforms are the same. Twitter will not necessarily yield the same results or reach the same audience as Facebook or Instagram. In fact, “marketers are designing experiences specifically for social media platforms like Instagram, which has a brand engagement rate 10 times higher than that of Facebook, and 84 times higher than Twitter.”

Because of this and other factors, we are often seeing an increase of marketers favoring this platform over others. Instagram is all visual, therefore brands are designing activations to be as “Instagram-able” as possible. But, according to Sparks, it’s not as easy as throwing together a standard photo op or cool background. Read on to learn a list of details that brands should keep top of mind.


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