Experiential marketing – that is, making your marketing activities an experience for your target audience, instead of something you spout at them hoping they convert – sounds a lot like a B2C-exclusive tactic.
It doesn’t have to be, though. In fact, it shouldn’t. Making your audience actively engage with your marketing makes your brand much more memorable.
So how do we take something that seems inherently B2C-oriented and repurpose it for B2B?
B2B Experiential Marketing? You Bet – Here’s How
First of all, let’s look at what experiential marketing is.
In a nutshell, it’s when your campaign involves your audience interacting with your brand, rather than just being marketed “at”.
Here’s the thing – in the B2C world, this happens all the time. Livestreams, escape rooms, events are all examples.
Experiential marketing is exceptional for branding purposes. Here’s a real-world example: Google launched the Google Impact Challenge in the Bay Area. They distributed interactive posters throughout the area, where people could vote for which non-profit they felt deserved some extra funding.
Then, Google distributed $10M among the top 35. It was a strong community-oriented move that built goodwill and brand reputation, all without anyone having to actually interact with a Google rep. They could just vote at their convenience and feel like they were participating in a community-building activity. Because they were.
This is a great example of experiential marketing that wasn’t just another event marketing, er, event.
All of this is great, but how do you apply it to B2B?
Understand Your Audience
Before you get stuck in and start designing something that will generate tons of engagement, you need to know who you’re aiming at. You want people to take time out of their day to engage with your brand.
For that to happen, the experience you’re offering needs to resonate well, and that means understanding your audience.
Google Impact worked because it was centered on a particular community. For B2B, you need to take a somewhat different approach.
First of all, where does your audience spend their time? Social media, probably – we’re all guilty of it. But what channels specifically?
Next, look at how they engage with your existing content. Do they respond better to longer-form blogs and emails, or short and sweet? Are your videos getting some traction? Why?
Once you understand where to find your audience and what sort of things tend to get their attention, you can start building an experience for them.
Show-and-Tell Your Story
Storytelling is a crucial part of any marketing, but it’s especially important when your campaign is meant to deliver a particular experience.
If you’re crafting an online experience, you can get massively creative with it. If your goal is to showcase your company culture and get people more interested in who you are, create an interactive digital tour of your offices!
Turn it into a something like a virtual museum tour, with stills of your office life. Pop-up an exhibit-style blurb about what people are seeing. Go the extra mile and add museum-tour-style audio explaining each “exhibit”.
Sounds a bit out there, but it’s a lot more fun and interactive than just another “About Us” page on a corporate website, no?
Whatever your goal is, find a way to tell that story with creativity.
Lean on Social Media
If you’ve created a really fun digital experience, you need to get the word out. What better way to do that than on social media?
Create and push a hashtag for your new experience, especially if you have an established following online already. Boost your posts to reach a wider audience, and consider incorporating an ad for your new experience in your social media ad campaigns.
Encourage people to share your posts and spread the word about this awesome thing you’ve created.
But How Does This Generate Leads?
Think about your buyers’ journey. The average B2B buyer spends a lot of time informing and educating themselves before ever contacting a vendor, so you can be sure that the potential leads perusing your site will be interested in your new experience.
If your typical buying cycle is a couple months long, an engaging, creative experience can help nurture those leads.
More than that, though, you can flex your creative muscles and design something that’s fun, engaging, and coaxes people closer to a purchase at the same.
Maybe you can incorporate your actual product into your experience. Let people try it out and hold a contest for who can do the most creative thing with it.
The only true limitation here is your creativity. If you make every interaction with your brand a fun, positive, engaging one, you’re already winning.
Align with Them, Not Vice Versa
Don’t create something you like and try to crowbar people into that box. The key to success with experiential marketing is to analyze your customers and audience, their buyer’s journey, and their engagement tendencies.
And then create something that fits that bill perfectly.
As always in B2B marketing, the more you make it about them, the better your results will be.