Experiential marketing allows brands to offer their customers memorable experiences, often through planned events with product samples. But these events aren’t just dinner and drinks. They’re interactive and they’re elaborate, offering experiences to attendees that are unique.

Earlier in the year, prestigious British charity D&AD gave its first award for experiential marketing to FCB India.

What’s interesting about experiential marketing is that it allows marketers to create experiences that let customers interact with brands in a new way.

This means experiences are highly personal and much more memorable, meaning customers are more likely to have positive associations with your brand.

Here are five events from 2018, both B2B and B2C, that show exactly how useful experiences can be.

1. Cisco’s AR catalogue

Augmented reality (AR) allows digital objects to be inserted into a camera view, making it possible to create a scene that’s both real and unreal. Last year Ikea released their AR-powered app, Ikea Place, that allowed users to see what a piece of furniture would look like in their home via their phone screen.

This enabled customers to effectively ‘try before they buy’, simplifying the purchasing process and putting their minds at ease. This technology has caught on massively: for Cisco Live, Cisco created a 3D product catalogue that allowed ambassadors to give product demonstrations without even needing the products to hand.


What can we learn?

VR enables marketers to bring their product to life, increasing engagement and allowing clients to experience products in a much more interactive way.

Allowing clients to ‘try’ a product virtually will give them much more reassurance that they’re making the right choice. It also gives a certain wow factor, which clients will then associate with your brand. Not to mention that marketers won’t need to carry around products to demo anymore, making their lives a lot easier.

2. Rouge Events for Channel 4 Upfronts 2018

Winner of the Drum B2B Experiential Brand Campaign/Event of the Year award, Rouge Events held an event—Channel 4 Upfronts—designed to get advertisers excited about working with them.

This wasn’t just an evening of watching TV, though. Channel 4 allowed 1200 attendees from the advertising industry to visit the sets and interact with their favourite shows. This experience gave attendees the chance to enjoy TV in a whole new dimension.

What can we learn?

It’s likely that B2B tradeshows will follow suit in the future. Interesting venues create buzz and make brands stand out from their competitors.

Clients want to have interesting and memorable experiences in their work lives. Making events more interactive will guarantee that they have a positive association with your brand.

3. 29Rooms from Refinery29

Refinery29 are one of the biggest media companies focused on young women. They’re young and cool, exploring women’s lifestyles and social issues with modern art direction.

Pushing the boundaries of how consumers experience brands, Refinery29 held their fifth 29Rooms event this year. The event explored topics relevant to the media company like culture, finances, fashion and beauty with interactive installations created by artists and brands.

Brands collaborated with Refinery29 to explore these topics and build their audiences, with the aim of ‘disrupting the exclusivity of New York Fashion Week’.

What can we learn?

To create new and interesting events, marketers should consider hosting hybrid events like this. Co-branding with similar businesses and even non-businesses can help you create experiences that aren’t just sales-based.

Offering a genuinely interesting experience will intrigue decision-makers who are more resistant to sales and marketing.

B2B marketing has long been driven by strategic tactics like SEO – the experience that clients have can be impersonal, so a tailored event will help them enjoy and understand your brand in a more personal way.

best-experiential marketing-experiences-of 2018

4. Desperados Deep House

In a perfectly on-brand move, Desperados held a house party in the world’s deepest pool. Their wild persona worked perfectly alongside the music and art sensory experiences. 400 people, including fans and influencers, gathered to enjoy a set from DJ Peggy Gou.

Desperados are well known for their outrageous events, and their brand benefits from this association. Their target audience of 18 – 24 year olds and their marketing strategy uses experiential marketing and social media presence to attract influencers, a key tactic for younger audiences.

What can we learn?

This kind of event is
key for attracting influencers, who are important for B2B marketing. B2B influencers can have a more niche audience, but they’re effective at reaching the audience you want to target.

In fact, content shared from or created by influencers provides 11x higher ROI than the average display ad. While a house party might not be the right setting for you, you can take inspiration from this event and hold a sponsored event that’ll get influencers buzzing about your business.

The future of B2B marketing

Creating content that gives people something to talk about can boost brand awareness and improve your social media presence. The experiences that clients can have with your brand and your products will stick in their minds better than a business card, and they’ll want to talk about them.

Experiential marketing gives marketers an opportunity to create an interaction that clients want to engage with – cold calls and SEO can’t provide a physical demonstration of your products or services and emotional engagement in the same way that a well-crafted in-person experience can.

Experiential marketing was still quite new to B2B marketers this year, but it’s going to be huge in 2019.

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