Many people use the terms "experiential marketing" and "event marketing" interchangeably. Is there a difference? Well, the two terms are actually quite different from each other, even though they could occur in the same venues and/or at the same events. Let's take a look at definitions and examples of each, along with a quick evaluation of the impact on your ROI.
Experiential marketing is two-way communication. For example, brands can directly interact with consumers to teach them about their products and services, while also being able to listen to what consumers have to say. The focus of experiential marketing is to engage in conversation with consumers and building strong and lasting relationships. If you're doing it right, each guest at an experiential marketing event should leave with a unique memory of their own experience. Hence the word "experiential" since your activation should be a unique "experience" for each of your guests.
On the other hand, event marketing is one-way communication where brands are speaking directly to consumers without any response. For example, handing out marketing brochures is event marketing since the communication is only one-way because there is no individualized element. With event marketing, consumers tend to have all the same experience at the same time. Think of event marketing like a concert. Every fan at a concert has the same experience, rather than unique experiences, because the music group is performing for the entire audience at once.
Return On Investment
The ROI from investing in event marketing likely comes in the form of generating buzz around your brand, whether that's by announcing a new product or selling merchandise. Essentially, event marketing is a public relations play for your brand. In terms of experiential marketing, the goal is usually to create positive brand recognitions and directly forming and growing relationships with your target audience. While the end goal is always to increase sales and revenue, the direct goal is connecting with consumers. Due to the established connection and positive association with your brand, consumers are probably more likely to purchase from you than before and compared to your competitors.
For a deeper dive into experiential marketing, check out our eBook on incorporating technology into your experiential marketing activation or contact us.