Many have hailed experiential marketing as a tool to make a lasting impression on the consumer by giving them an experience to remember. However, there is another resource brands can combine with their experiential marketing to make both more powerful: influencers.
With the help of influencers, brands can allow their experiential marketing events to reach people beyond those who attend.
One reason why many experiential marketers like to use influencer marketing in conjunction with their events is that influencers can be a powerful tool for the longevity of the event. When planning experiential marketing, the effects of the experience last only as long as the attendee’s memory — or any takeaways you may give them.
But, if you can get influencers to attend and post about your event, the life of that experience will live forever on the internet.
Although you might think adding influencers to your experiential marketing plan is as simple as sending an invite, that is rarely the case. Indeed, many experiential marketers will find they need to devote an entire budget to preparing their experiential marketing for influencers.
In addition to the costs of preparing your event for attendees, you’ll want to make extra preparations for VIPs — which includes influencers — to make them feel like they are getting an exclusive experience and encourage them to post more.
Creating an event ideal for influencers
It’s important to remember that there is a difference between the goals you will have in creating an experiential marketing experience for the consumer and one for an influencer. While the primary mission of experiential marketing for consumers is getting them to remember the brand, the goal with influencers is to get them to talk about it on social media … and achieving these two goals requires entirely different approaches.
Thus, when your goal is to attract influencers to your event, you need to make it influencer-friendly, buzz-worthy, “Instagrammable” and any other adjectives that describe events that are sure to go viral on social media. Invest in creating opportunities like branded photo ops, great swag bags and unforgettable moments. You want the influencers’ followers to be jealous they weren’t there because of how cool your brand and its marketing are.
However, before you can invest in sprucing up the event for influencers, it’s important to ensure you have the basics down. Themed photo ops are great, but if all your event offers is a photo op — and you don’t create a memorable and enjoyable experience on top of that — the content the influencers create is unlikely to be good.
Don’t forget about the essentials of a well-oiled experiential marketing event, such as trained and friendly staff, a welcoming atmosphere and the opportunity to interact with the brand in a hands-on way.
Influencer marketing as a way to build sales
When influencers post about your experiential marketing events on their platforms, they can help generate indirect sales through the trust their followers have in them. After all, according to one study, 37% of people are more likely to trust influencers over brands — and this is particularly true when dealing with younger demographics, such as millennials or Generation Z Therefore, it’s important to ensure that your experiential marketing effectively targets influencers, as this will allow them to create the most authentic content possible.
Some companies have even found ways to successfully capitalize on the trust influencers have been able to build from their followers by offering them some sort of performance-based compensation. By giving influencers tracking links to include in their posts, you can gauge the influencer’s performance and give them a fee for every referral that comes through their content. This keeps everyone feeling more accountable and motivates influencers to share their content more widely since their compensation is tied to sales.
Of course, it’s important to be careful when using this method, as it could lead to the influencers’ content feeling insincere and overly salesy. However, many influencers have some experience creating effective affiliate content.
Working with influencers is a great way to give your experiential marketing activation or event extra longevity, by getting them to share content about the event with their followers. However, it’s important to remember that creating an event for consumers and creating an event for influencers are two different beasts. Still, with the right approach, it’s possible to effectively manage both target audiences and create an event that encourages influencers to spread the word about your brand.
Ray Sheehan is the founder of Old City Media, a North American event production and experiential marketing agency. He has a background in strategic planning, marketing, event management and advertising, and has helped the company expand from one city in the United States to an international agency. Ray is recognized as a leader in the special events industry and an innovative thinker in the Philadelphia community and beyond.
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