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How To Think Like a Marketer for Truly Experiential Events

outdoor experiential event showing outdoor booths for Publix

Imagine the perfect moment. A gorgeous view, the best music, the right people–all working together to create the perfect synergy.


What if you could create that level of experience for your customers?


You can! Creating experiential experiences is a great way to engage your audience. Here’s the good news: if you can tune into what they are (and aren’t) feeling as they interact with your brand, you are already halfway there.

It takes a little creativity plus some old fashioned effort. You’ll need to think like a marketer and learn to understand customer’s needs, desires, and motivations. In this blog post, we will explore how you can use your marketing skills to cultivate truly experiential moments that leave a lasting impression. 

Follow these tips to stand out from the crowd!


The biggest mistake at trade shows

The first goal is to understand your audience. Really understand them. What are their needs and wants? What are their pain points?

Once you have a handle on who your audience really is, you can begin to craft an experience that will address those needs and wants. Keep in mind that you should always stay focused on the customer, not on the product or service. 

The biggest mistake we see at trade shows is when businesses get hyper-focused on their own product. The goal is to create an experience that is memorable and engaging for the customer, not just a *yawn* sales pitch.


Creating narrative-driven experience

People buy from people they like. 

That is just a fact. 

In order to create an emotionally aware and narrative-driven experiential event you may need to begin with the end in mind. Imagine laughter, friendship, or whatever it looks like in your head. Picture that perfect experience and then work backward to achieve it. Make educated guesses based on their past choices and the trends you’ve observed. When you are getting to know someone, you ask questions to get to know what they like, where they work, etc. It’s the same with getting to know your customers. Ask all the questions you can. There are so many ways you can explore and get to know your target audience if you get a little curious and stay invested in the learning process.

As you explore remember to think of these three facets separately:

  1. Customers
  2. Audience
  3. Culture

It’s not enough to know your customers; you also need to tap into their culture surrounding how they make purchasing decisions. You need to figure out the people in your audience who aren’t buying yet.

When you feel like you have a good understanding of your audience, you might need to adjust your brand identity a little. Don’t be afraid of change. You want your brand to be unique, but also familiar and inviting. Are they going to remember your brand an hour later? A day later? Imagine the experience they are going to have when they interact with your brand.

Tip: Not everything will work for everyone.

Meaning, just because it worked for Joe’s brand, doesn’t mean it’ll work for yours. Be careful not to plug in a formula–because you want your narrative to speak directly to YOUR audience, and in a genuine way.


Understanding the need for belonging

We have to understand that humans want to feel a sense of belonging. Remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? Yeah, finding connections really is a human need. So how can they find belonging within your product or brand? 

Lean into emotional marketing strategies that help create these kinds of connections. If you don’t already, develop ways to get feedback and truly listen to your customers so you can learn what they need. What can you bring into your space to help them feel safer? How can you minimize the pain points and become a soft place to land? How can you build more of a community? 

As you consider these questions, remember to always put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Walk a mile in them, if you can.


Be relentlessly curious

Curiosity killed the cat–but it majorly saves the life of a business when they get relentlessly curious about their audience. Be open to new ideas (if they are, you know, actually good) regardless of who or where they come from. Little by little, you can truly build a relationship with your audience that can help you make big business decisions on the daily.

Simply put, the better you understand your customer, the better experience you can create for them.

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