Why Experiential Marketing and Social Media Go Hand-in-Hand


As technology progresses, new opportunities come with innovations in the field of digital marketing. Case in point: experiential marketing has become something that any business, large or small, can take advantage of in the age of social media. What is this type of marketing, and how do we combine it with social media to create one-of-a-kind experiences for our customers?

Those are the questions we’ll be looking at today, and I have brought the answers. It’s time to find out how you can elevate your marketing efforts to new heights today!

A Brief Overview of Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing, or experience design, is a type of marketing that seeks to engage as many of the five senses as possible, to create an experience that results in an emotional connection between customers and a brand.

Originally, this type of marketing was reserved only for big businesses who created these experiences through things like these:

  1. Field studies
  2. Live events
  3. In-store promotions
  4. PR stunts

These marketing stunts involve a lot of planning, and a deep understanding of the target demographic. It is usually used to add another level of complexity to your marketing campaign.

While big and bold events like this may seem out of reach for smaller businesses, the age of social media has created a new avenue for experiential marketing to shine. It has also amplified the power of these techniques to last far longer than a single day.

So, beyond creating a big event, why should you go through the research, time, and money needed to host one of these events either online or in-person? Here are five compelling reasons:

  1. An experiential event can be used to encourage new and positive engagement on social media.
  2. Online platforms and experience marketing both aim to give your brand a story and an image that customers love and trust.
  3. Influencers can take the message from your events and amplify to their own followers
  4. You’re offering immediate and true value to your participants
  5. People who participate will talk about the event on social media

In essence, experiential marketing offers you and your brand the jolt of adrenaline it needs to create a strong and consistent presence on social media. Once you’ve built a blog for your business, you will have an endless pool of content to post on our social media platforms.

Ultimately, this type of marketing, combined with social media, acts as a jumping-off point to building your brand’s image.

Bridging The Gap Between Social Media and Experiential Marketing

Social media adds a fluidity to your experiential marketing that extends and amplifies the experience for your customers. According to Shea Carter of MMGY Global:

“74% of experiential event participants have a more positive opinion about the brand, product, or service being promoted after the event.”

Here’s the Deal:

Social media is about sharing experiences, and experiential marketing is about creating them.

As you move forward with your campaign, consider ways you can encourage and facilitate the behaviors you want from your participants on social media. This involves two major goals:

1. Encourage Sharing

When people are having fun or learning something exciting at your event in-person or online, encourage them to share with custom hashtags, Facebook event pages, Foursquare interactions, or Pinterest pins.

2. Fan the Flames (Bring the Conversation Online)

In a mobile-focused world, your experience shouldn’t be exclusive to one place or platform. Once you’ve started the big event, you need to fan the flames and bring the conversation online. Whether it’s a live stream of the event, or a place for people to discuss the event, look for ways to bring the conversation online and spark a bigger event than the one you planned.

3 Examples of Experiential Marketing in a Digital World

Now we’ll take a look at how today’s companies are using experiential marketing and social media to create long-lasting marketing campaigns that stand the test of time and ultimately elevate their brand to new heights.

#1 – Oscar Mayer’s Bacon Barter Campaign

Oscar Mayer

As a bacon-lover myself, I found this campaign to be one of the most creative ideas I’d seen in a while. The story behind the campaign goes like this: Oscar Mayer wanted to spread the word about their new thick cut bacon, so they decided to have an everyday guy, Josh Sankey, travel across America and barter for food and a place to sleep using only Oscar Mayer thick cut bacon.

As he did this, people could offer a place for him to stay and eat using the hashtag “#BaconBarter” to offer him help on his journey in exchange for bacon. The company also recorded his encounters in YouTube video clips that were shared across social platforms.

#2 – Behr’s “Paint Your Place” Campaign


This is an example of an experiential marketing campaign that worked on a lower budget, while still producing huge results for the company. In this campaign, Behr allowed users to upload photos of their homes and paint them virtually to see how specific colors would look in their unique home.

Custom colors could be mixed together on the site and people could order that color of paint if they liked the way it looked. It was a fun and exciting way to interact with the brand in a useful manner to the customer. While it’s ended now, people still talk about this unique and valuable campaign.

#3 – Oreo’s “Daily Twist” Campaign

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of this beloved cookie, Oreo hosted an experiential campaign that lasted 100 days total. Each day, Oreo would share an image of the iconic cookie representing modern events and issues.

This was done on their “Daily Twist” site, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest. The cookies used represented the olympics, Talk Like a Pirate Day, Elvis Week, and even the Mars Rover landing, among others.

The big finale took place in Times Square within a pop-up glass office where the final cookie was created based on votes from consumers on social media. The final twist was a cookie that celebrated the first high-five displayed on a digital billboard.

This ongoing campaign used milestones and leveraged social media to engage countless people and unite them in causes both hilarious and solemn. Now that’s how you do a marketing campaign!

Final Thoughts

Experiential marketing and social media are fueled by technology, but also by ideas from people like you and I. Knowing that this method of marketing is so powerful when combined with social media, it’s time to start your own campaign.

Tell us about your experiential marketing and social media campaigns in the comments below!

This article was originally written by Matt Banner for the Heyo blog.


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