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What is Experiential Marketing | Definition, Benefits & More

Marketing is a discipline that’s evolved a lot in the last few years and now more than ever its focus is intrinsically linked to the customer. The digital era continues to challenge traditional marketing to adapt to new technologies and the changes that these imply in the behavior of its consumers. Experiential marketing provides an approach that invites companies to move away from the invasive promotion of their products and services and moves towards the creation of authentic experiences that bridge the gap between brands and their consumers. There is a strong relationship and balance that needs to be respected as it relates to connecting with the consumer Online and Offline. Experiential Marketing is more than just “retail therapy”, it enhances the retail experience, attracting your customers and leaving lasting impressions.

Customer satisfaction is now the leitmotif for any business that wants to achieve sustainable growth and keep a competitive edge. Building the relationship with your customers is indispensable to create an experience that relates the brand and the user through emotions. This is the essence of experiential marketing. So, what exactly is experiential marketing?

Experiential marketing definition

Experiential marketing is a marketing technique that is increasingly leveraged by companies to reach the heart of their customers in a less intrusive way. The objective of this strategy is to reach customers in a creative way in order to build emotional bonds between brands and customers. 


It includes everything from street teams to corporate events to pop-up stores to mobile tours and much more. It requires the right balance between brand strategy, technology, design, staffing, communication, content development and production. This approach paths the way to a  long-lasting relationship between your brand and its consumers.


Instead of focusing on the product, service or brand, experiential marketing puts the customer and its emotions at the center of the stage. The idea is to offer unique live experiences that use emotions as a fundamental basis for communication. 


One way to enhance experiential marketing is through neuromarketing, which analyzes how certain inputs such as colors, sounds, smells or spaces affect our perception and what reactions they provoke in us.

Experiential marketing is a proven technique that generates a higher level of engagement, conversion rate and ROI. If you want to differentiate yourself from the crowd and get a competitive edge in today’s digital era, you have to incorporate experiential marketing in your company’s marketing strategy.

The 2 key elements of experiential marketing

To appeal to the feelings and senses of a brand’s target audience, it’s important to know that the two essential ingredients of a good experiential marketing strategy are emotional experiences and technology

1. Emotional Experiences

Most decisions are driven by emotions and the purchase decision is no exception. A brand that is capable of creating personalized experiences, which generate emotions, is able to connect with its customers on a deeper level and add massive value to their brands through differentiation.

2. Technology

Experiential marketing and technology go hand in hand. Using the right technological tools is key to creating memorable experiences that meet your business objectives. Technology helps brands properly segment their audience through big data and other tools. This helps them perform actions that match their public’s interest and effectively communicate.

Thanks to experiential marketing, companies can create branded experiences that are much more impressive and that could not be achieved without the use of virtual reality, mobile devices, touch devices, etc. Not to mention that technology helps brands measure the performance of their events (ROI, engagement, etc.).

How to incorporate experiential marketing in your strategy?

Is experiential marketing always effective? The answer is no! It can be a very successful strategy but it requires a great deal of knowledge about the target audience and the digital environment. If you want to incorporate experiential marketing, you should consider the following tips:

1. Know your target audience

Before implementing any type of marketing strategy (digital marketing, content marketing, event marketing, etc.), you have to know your target audience by heart. You also have to segment it according to its different tastes and interests in order to drive positive results and increase brand loyalty.

2. Focus on design

If you want to create bonds with your consumers, you have to make sure the design (UI/UX) of your physical store, online store, corporate website, or mobile application is on point. The design should communicate the values of your brand and reflect its identity.

3. Communicate through storytelling

Positioning your brand in the mind of consumers is not easy. If you want to connect with your audience and get your brand message across, you have to inspire your buyers. A great technique that is increasingly being used by companies to communicate their values and build trust with stakeholders is storytelling.

Storytelling is an important part of human communication, which can easily spark emotions and transmit messages in an efficient manner. Don’t be scared to share your story!

4. Create infographics and videos

Videos and infographics can easily transmit the brand’s values and personality. They stimulate the interest of your audience and increase engagement.

5. Leverage social media to engage with your audience

Social platforms have become the best ally of any marketing strategy. Leveraging social media is a great way for customers to interact with your brand and increase engagement. Nowadays immersive experiences must be technology-centric and exist in digital spaces. This makes it possible for customers to become brand advocates.

6. Work with an experienced marketing agency

If you don’t have previous experience in experiential marketing, it is best to hire a specialized marketing agency if you want your event to be successful and yield positive results. Many event marketing agencies offer 360° service, which includes access to technological tools, staffing, data collection, web development, design, conception and much more. They are also versatile and are able to organize a wide range of events such as pop-up stores, mobile tours, product sampling, corporate events, etc.

Benefits of experiential marketing for brands

  • Identification of the user with the brand

The clearest advantage of experiential marketing is the identification of the user with the brand. If the customer’s real-life experience with the company is positive, he/she will happily accept the emotion that the action produces and will be able to more easily identify with the brand. An example of how to quantify this information is to implement data collection or Net Promoter Score.

  • Differentiation

Experiential marketing differentiates your brand from your competition more effectively than any other advertising stunt because the interaction takes place at a deeper level. Experiential marketing communicates the ways in which the product or service will make the customer feel rather than just describing its properties.

  • Brand advocates

If you make your customers live a unique experience, he/she will not hesitate to share and recommend your brand’s products and services with his friends, family or online community. Brand advocates can significantly increase your reach. Plus, in our day and age word of mouth remains one of the most performant conversion metric.

  • Improved ROI

When brands offer memorable experiences that enable customers to learn more about their services or products, it generates a positive brand perception. This generally boosts engagement after the event and increases the brand’s return on investment (ROI). An improved ROI can translate into increased sales, more customers or a spike in online users.

  • Increased engagement

Customer engagement is key for any successful marketing campaign and the objective of experiential marketing is exactly this: increasing engagement and user-brand interaction. Traditional advertising techniques such as TV ads solely focused on persuading customers to buy products or services rather than connecting with them on a personal level. 

However, over time, habits have changed and customers have become smarter. They no longer want to see advertisements, in fact, many people pay to skip them by using ad blockers. Now more than ever, people are seeking human experiences and they want to be able to identify with brands. Experiences generated through experiential marketing help consumers connect and engage with your brand in a more effective way. In fact, 85% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product after participating in a live experience and 91% of consumers have more positive feelings about brands after participating in experiences and events.

Benefits of experiential marketing for users

  • New experiences

Humans are constantly looking for new experiences, they always seek to feel new emotions and embark on new adventures. The creative effort of brands to offer unique experiences fuels this innate desire. Customers feel special when they enjoy something that not everyone has experienced before. 

  • Empowerment

In today’s digital era, customers are more active than ever. They relate to brands on a more personal level and communicate with them through social networks or other communication channels. They do not shy away from their opinions. 

This helps develop marketing experiences because it drives actions. If the consumer likes something about the experience he will share it, increasing interaction with their social community. In some sort, they become micro influencers and represent your brand directly to each of their communities. 

Examples of experiential marketing campaigns

  1. McDonald’s McFlurry Tour

McFlurry Sampling Tour

Prime Marketing organized a mobile tour to promote McDonald’s different Mcflurry flavours. The tour consisted in driving a personalized food truck to different cities in Canada during strategic events such as pride, underworld larp and color me rad. The objective consisted in associating feelings of joy, liberty and fun to McDonald’s products. To accentuate emotions, brand ambassadors were chosen to share and communicate the values of the brands and connect with consumers.

2. Coca-Cola’s happiness machine

Coca-Cola Happiness Machine

As you can see in the video, the hidden cameras captured the emotions of the students as the happiness machine dispensed different goodies such as sunglasses, pizza, flowers and the never-ending supply of Coca-Cola. The idea behind this experiential marketing campaign is that happiness is contagious. 

It highlights one of life’s simple pleasures in a unique way, which compels consumers to associate the brand with positivity, joy and fun. The campaign is part of Coca-Cola’s campaign ‘’Open Happiness’’, which incites customers to open a Coke bottle and share their happiness with the people around them.


3. Volkswagen’s piano staircase

The Fun Theory 1 – Piano Staircase Initiative | Volkswagen

Volkswagen created a fun initiative a few years ago called The Fun Theory, which it set out to achieve challenges by making people have fun. This video of the piano staircase served as an example to get people to use the stairs (rather than the escalator) by making it fun. And it worked!


As a result, most commuters chose the stairs and played some tunes as they went up and down. This experiential campaign was very successful because it resonated with a simple emotion: having fun. When a company is able to associate pure emotions to their brand’s, they can easily win over customers. 

As mentioned above, experiential marketing is all about focusing on the customer rather than the product so for a modern marketing campaign to be successful it does not necessarily have to involve the service or product. It simply has to focus on creating a positive brand association.