Many of today’s most successful marketing campaigns rely on engagement. Rather than fixed pieces of communication, they provide unique points of contact with consumers that build relationships. These encounters promote excitement and interest, but more importantly, they nurture reciprocal interaction that leads to loyalty, passion and, ultimately, brand love. The result: increased sales. Indeed, a lot of savvy marketers now focus on creating experiences rather than ads, capitalizing on a growing consumer base of Millennials and their need for authenticity, adventure and all things tech. Rather than simply using routine event marketing techniques such as trade shows and conventions, many businesses are now incorporating an experiential approach that combines traditional exhibits and presentations with real-time, in-person interactions between their brand and consumers. It’s event marketing with a concentrated infusion of personal interplay, one that leads to a unique experience for everyone involved. Here are two ways marketers are using tech to enhance this type of experiential marketing:
With last year’s introduction of The Oculus Quest, the storied trade show moved from a relatively static affair to a truly interactive event, with opportunities for consumers to experience a virtual world of products and services that make a lasting impression. Of course, virtual reality has been around for a while, but The Oculus Quest (and others like it) is different from previous VR headsets; when used in a commercial setting, it offers a hyper-realistic experience, allowing the user to physically move around in a space, try out products and view them in different settings. Being able to “test” a product or service before buying is a huge benefit for consumers and, when done virtually, can deliver a truly memorable “wow” factor that increases the likelihood that lifelong fans will be created!
Humans like to hear stories. Studies show that stories not only capture our attention, they push us towards action as we empathize with the characters within them. In marketing, a good story can drive sales; it can physically compel consumers to do something they might not otherwise contemplate simply because they’ve been exposed to a suggestion and reeled in by the emotions surrounding it. The effect is further amplified when the story becomes real, when marketers tell stories that incorporate consumers into the action itself. When marketers fully immerse consumers into the story — not just tell it to them — they intensify the storytelling experience and potentially influence emotions and motivate behavior even more. In an experiential setting, this means businesses offer video content that pulls in consumers; uses real-life characters and scenes; and allows for comments and discussion. 360˚ ads, for example, have been shown to increase purchase intent when compared with traditional video ads and more and more businesses are using them across a variety of digital platforms, as well as during live events at their brick and mortar stores or local shopping centers. It appears that virtual reality across a variety of mediums is here to stay!