How does a fitness brand send a message of strength, health, and vitality? Creating positive experiences that evoke these emotions are one of the best ways to market your brand. This is where experiential marketing comes in.
Don’t be fooled, creating a great experiential advertising plan requires more work than you think. This is why hiring the right marketing agency is essential. Read on to learn more about finding the right agency for your experiential marketing project.
What Is Experiential Advertising?
Before diving into what to look for in an experiential marketing agency, it’s important to know what experiential marketing is and how it can benefit your business. In it’s most basic form experiential marketing is a more modern and urban approach to marketing that allows the customers to engage with the content, hence creating an “experience”.
There are a number of ways that agencies pull of experiential marketing – also referred to as “participation marketing”. In the past, we may have referred to these methods as publicity stunts, but they are a bit more tactful and brand-oriented than that.
Some experiential marketing techniques may include:
- Hosting a class or a workshop
- Allowing customers to engage, test, or even taste products
- Creating a pop-up shop
- Hosting a unique event
- Holding a competition
- Using creative mediums like street art
What Are the Benefits of Experiential Advertising?
Today more and more brands and products are taking on this form of “guerilla marketing” to create a valuable and long lasting impression on their audience. Ikea hosted a giant sleepover in one of their stores, and Kit Kat turned a park bench into a giant candy bar.
So, does experiential marketing really make a difference? In short, yes. Not only do these experiences sell products but they also create an identification with the brand for providing a unique and immersive experience.
In addition to the emotion evoked from the experience itself, experiential marketing (like events, classes, and pop-up shops) brings your brand directly to the audience, increasing visibility.
What to Look for in an Experiential Advertising Agency
Experiential marketing can be a powerful and effective tool, but typically it requires a professional marketing agency to be executed properly and gain “viral” notoriety. If it’s your first time hiring an experiential marketing agency, this is something you’ll want to keep in mind.
Understand your Business Goals
The difference between experiential marketing and a publicity stunt is that there is a specific end goal in mind. Anyone can create a quick splash for a moment, but it takes a real professional to translate that into a solid goal-oriented project.
Make sure that you’re on the same page with the marketing agency. Are they looking to accomplish the same goals you are, or are they simply looking for an interesting project to add to their portfolio? You can usually tell by paying attention to how many questions they ask along the way.
For HealthyYou vending machines, the goal was to get clients engaged with a healthier way of eating, and they did so in a unique yet subtle way. Click here to learn more about Healthy You Vending Project.
Marketing agencies that want to help you achieve goals will spend time getting to know what those goals are along with the culture of your fitness brand.
Has a Playful and Creative Work Process
Since experiential marketing is not your traditional form of marketing, you won’t be looking for a traditional-style marketing agency. Instead, you’ll want to look for an agency that understands the value of unique experiences and environments.
Typically, you can get a feel for this simply by checking out their office. What does their workspace look like? How are employees encouraged to be playful and creative? How is the conference room laid out? Is there evidence of brainstorming?
Agencies that understand the psychology of an engaging experience will more often than not utilize an engaging workspace space.
As fun and creative as experiential marketing projects can be, it takes a great deal of organization and project management skill to have them seamlessly executed. This means the agency needs to be able to prepare a solid strategy and plan long before anything gets put into action.
It also helps to know that the project has some actual research to back it up, to show it will help retain long-term customers instead of one-off purchases. All of the factors mean finding an agency that knows the value of forward planning.
The last thing you want is to be left in the dark and not know until the last minute that issues arise. This means agencies need to communicate with you about more than increasing the budget. You can usually get a feel for communication skills during the initial interview skills.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How long do you have to wait to receive an email response?
- When you do receive a response are they clear and informative?
- Do you receive even more details than you requested?
The answers to these questions will help you determine how well an agency communicates.
Past Clients and Projects
Finally, when looking for the right experiential agency, be sure to review their past portfolio and client work. Don’t just look for projects with the “wow” effect (though those are important too). Instead, look for brands and projects that are similar to what you’re trying to achieve. Assign extra points if they’ve worked with a fitness brand in the past.
You want to be sure that the agency knows how to deliver the message you want to send. If you can receive the same message from one of their past projects, then they may be the right agency for you.
Creating the Right Experience for Your Brand
Whether you are looking to grow an online business or simply increase sales for your local fitness store, experiential advertising can play a key role in your overall marketing plan.
Hiring the right agency means trusting the voice of your brand to someone else and believing they can execute your goals in a fun and creative way. Take your time choosing to ensure this investment pays off for you.