Experiential Marketing for Service-Based Businesses

Experiential Marketing for Service-Based Businesses
October 1, 2023 0 Comments

Companies that sell consumables such as beverages, food, hair and skincare products, tech gear and even cars can easily create fantastic experiential marketing events and experiences. Consumers can taste, touch, hear, see and smell sample products and interact with brands memorably. If your business sells services or features consumers can’t touch, taste, smell or hear, you might think experiential marketing can’t work for you. The good news is that service-based or other non-tangible organizations can run equally successful events and experiences. In fact, sometimes, their campaigns are even more memorable and engaging — one look at how Hollywood movie and TV studios promote their shows confirms that! Let’s look at how experiential marketing can help your service-based business.

Virtual & Augmented Reality Technology

The advances in virtual and augmented reality technology have exploded in recent years, allowing consumers to have 4D experiences using high-tech headsets, headphones and sensory devices. You don’t have to be an expert in creating or using this technology, as many companies have the equipment and expertise to help you design an experience that matches your brand.

For example, Marriott Hotels partnered with visual effects company Framestore and launched a noteworthy experiential marketing campaign where they created phone booth-sized “teleporters.” On an eight-city tour that began in New York, participants could step inside, don a headset and “teleport” to a Hawaiian black sand beach where Marriott had a hotel. In addition to visual and auditory effects, participants felt the sun’s warmth, tropical breezes, the rumble of waves and ocean spray. You may not need such an elaborate AR/VR experience, but even smaller-scale experiences can engage your target audience.

Unique Product Sampling

Service-based businesses can’t hand out samples of their products, but they can utilize free sampling tactics. For example, companies that provide services such as physical therapy or nail salon services can give free five-minute chair massages or mini pedicures. Then they can send happy consumers on their way with a discount coupon for services. Financial institutions frequently rely on innovative experiential marketing campaigns, such as when North Carolina-based Ally Bank got creative and flew a branded drone over a mall food court on a busy Saturday. The drone touched down and delivered free mobile phone chargers to delighted customers to promote its mobile banking services.

If you’re at an event such as a tradeshow or festival, another option is to give out something everyone loves, like fresh-baked cookies — the cookies have nothing to do with your service offerings, but the gesture will entice people to swing by your table. Then you can give them a chance to enter a giveaway for free or discounted services. Think creatively about how you can either provide small service examples or free swag that correlates to your brand.

Plan Unexpected and Delightful Stand-Alone Events

Creating an experience that surprises and delights your target audience is the essential goal of any experiential marketing campaign. Movie studios are masters at this and come up with fun, elaborate experiences. For example, to promote its movie The Simpsons, 20th Century Fox secretly transformed several 7-Eleven convenience stores around the U.S. into Kwik-E-Marts, the store frequently featured in the TV show. The transformed stores even sold some of the characters’ favorite items such as Buzz Cola, Squishees drinks and Krusty-O’s cereal! In the U.K., Disney promoted their popular children’s program Doc McStuffins in which a young girl heals toys by giving real kids the chance to do the same. Disney created “Check Up Clinics” at toy stores around the country with a giant teddy bear that children could “diagnose and heal.”

You might not have the budget that these big movie studios do, but you can plan smaller-scale events that are unexpected and memorable. Mobile vehicle tours and popups are solid options for putting your brand in front of your target audience in stand-alone events. Focus on creating authentic experiences that will be meaningful and uniquely suited for your customers and your brand. Aim for quirky or delightful activities that consumers will want to share on social media.

Create Engaging Opportunities at Events

Tradeshows, conferences, street fairs, festivals, concerts and sporting events are teeming with people expecting to interact with multiple brands. However, unlike stand-alone events, you’re competing with many other brands for attention. Make yours stand out by creating appealing hospitality suites where attendees can take a break from the crowds, sit in comfortable chairs and enjoy a refreshing beverage or snack. (Here at MOGXP, we did exactly that at a GoPro Mountain Games where we set up an “Athlete’s Lounge” to promote ISOPURE sports drinks.) In addition to serving beverages or snacks, you can play brief, engaging videos demonstrating your service offerings that customers can watch as they relax.

Another budget-friendly option is to set up theme-based, old-fashioned county fair games such as beanbag tosses, softball throws, dunk tanks or foam dart gun targets for a chance to win a free or discounted service. Competitive activities often engage people, so running a friendly competition or game can create a lively experience. Whatever you do, be sure to read the rules and requirements of your event to make sure you can pull off your activity. Also, make sure your engagement is pleasurable — ensure consumers won’t have to wait in long lines or do something that makes them feel uncomfortable.

The Takeaway

Like product-based companies, service-based ones also should aim to create delightfully memorable experiences to engage with their target audiences. Service-based businesses have ample opportunities to get creative with experiential marketing campaigns. Best of all, your target audience can become unofficial brand ambassadors — if your activity leaves a positive impression, they will share their experiences with friends, family and on social media.

We can help you plan an exciting experiential marketing campaign for your business! Contact us today — speak to an expert: 1-888-99-MOGXP or click here.

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