The rise of experiential marketing — and its proven efficacy — has given birth to a new era of experiential stunts. Take Amazon’s “Jack Ryan” exhibit, which took San Diego Comic-Con by storm in 2018. The stunt was huge and gave people the chance to live the life of a CIA agent via virtual reality.
This is illustrative of a growing trend: Marketers of all stripes are pursuing high-end, large-scale experiences in tandem with their digital marketing in an attempt to wow consumers. But though this extreme approach is tempting, marketers are mistaken if they think they need a huge budget to generate a huge buzz. In fact, experiential marketing on a budget can be just as exciting and rewarding.
It’s not surprising that the “Jack Ryan” experience made a big impact, but it didn’t succeed just because of its size and level of expense. It worked because it piqued curiosity and stimulated emotion, making it memorable and engaging. It achieved this by strategizing, gaming the psychology of its audience members to offer an experience they couldn’t help but respond to.
An experience that moves people doesn’t have to break the bank — it just needs to make people feel something.
Companies of all kinds can practice experiential marketing on a budget in conjunction with their digital campaigns. In fact, small-budget experiences have the benefit of being nimbler and more accessible. The “Jack Ryan” campaign was limited to its location, but a smaller mobile experience can appear multiple times in multiple places, drawing a larger, more diverse audience while still seeming exclusive and intimate.
The benefits of experiential marketing are still very much present during smaller events. Sure, they’re less expensive to produce, but a small event can still drive metrics and meet objectives. One of these objectives includes more engagement on social media. Live events often lead to highly shareable visuals, which is why brands such as Glossier and Pantone generate so much social hype surrounding their events. This quality is amplified in an intimate arena where people feel more inclined to interact.
This is why experiential marketing and digital are such a winning pair, no matter the depth of your wallet. As the medium evolves, there are many different types, shapes, and sizes of events emerging. Each offers up its own set of advantages, whether you’re planning an installation, pop-up experience, or no-frills stand. Each, though very different, has the potential to create powerful emotional connections with consumers.
If you can bring the “Jack Ryan” excitement to your experiential marketing on a budget, there’s no reason you can’t achieve the same kind of buzz and impact as a monolithic event.
Pair these in-person concepts with thoughtfully designed digital initiatives, and you’ll execute stunningly impactful experiential marketing on a budget. Remember that it’s not about glitz or money. It’s about using the resources at your disposal to make an emotional connection.
What have you tried lately in your marketing that achieved surprising results? If you want to learn more about how to revive tired marketing strategies with fresher elements, give this a read.