Candice Simons, CEO, Brooklyn Outdoor
Experiential marketing is changing the game for today’s brands. Marketers can reach audiences in new, interactive ways that garner maximum exposure and create memorable customer experiences. The 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is a prime example of a large-scale event where experiential marketing was done right.
The top three ways to take advantage of experiential marketing at shows, like the NAIAS, include: incorporating interactive displays, creating experiences for customer engagement, and integrating outdoor advertising.
Promote engagement with interactive elements
Interactive elements should always be incorporated at events to help cut through the noise. Interactive displays promote customer interaction and are increasingly becoming the new norm thanks to digital advancements. To promote customer interactions with displays, brands should consider creating audience-driven marketing experiences such as social media photo booths, Instagram printing, Twitter giveaways that utilize hashtags, and touch screen technology. These interactions will allow brands to cast a new light while building brand loyalty and creating lasting impressions.
NAIAS, which saw over 800,000 visitors this year, provides opportunities to capture new, targeted audiences that span a variety of industries. At this year’s NAIAS, Delta created a Sky Club lounge replica within the actual show. The lounge enticed customers to enter by utilizing out-of-home assets at the entrance of the space. Once in the actual lounge, visitors were encouraged to participate by sharing their experience via social media. While Delta is an airline rather than an automotive manufacturer, it recognized the opportunity to reach its target audience — business executives.
Create memorable experiences on a grassroots level
Experiential marketing offers the opportunity to create memorable experiences with your brand on a grassroots level. Sprint, for example, recently created a movable asset that traveled to events and festivals throughout the Midwest. The asset provided a place for event-goers to feel invited to interact with the brand (as opposed to it feeling forced). In order to encourage voluntary customer participation, Sprint offered a photo booth, custom-built games, and giveaway prizes. These tactics can be successful for both large and small brands seeking to reach audiences on a personal level.
Include outdoor advertising in your media mix
Outdoor advertising is, without a doubt, the most effective way to garner exposure around a NAIAS-style show. In the months leading up to NAIAS, for example, the world’s leading executives and automotive and tech suppliers travel to-and-from Detroit with regularity. These recurring visits provide a great opportunity for marketers to capture an invaluable demographic.
In short, to round out your experiential marketing strategy, outdoor advertising and large displays should always be a staple component. Standard billboards placed outside of the local airport are no longer sufficient. Instead, marketers should seek innovative placements like the very buildings and structures that make up a city’s skyline.
The NAIAS show and Sprint’s moveable asset campaign are just two examples of innovative, experiential marketing. As social media and digital capabilities continue to grow, we’ll surely witness new, compelling activations. We look forward to seeing how outdoor advertising, customer engagement and interactive display capabilities reach new heights in 2017.