Everyone has certain experiences that they’ll never forget. Your wedding day, your first kiss, the time you got into a fender-bender when you were 16—good or bad, there are plenty of events that leave an indelible impression on your life. You couldn’t shake them from your mind if you tried.
On the other hand, there are countless less-important things that probably didn’t stick in your mind for long: what you ate for breakfast last Thursday, who sat next to you in ninth-grade algebra class or the talk-radio topic of discussion on the way to work this morning.
It’s perfectly natural to not remember things that aren’t important to you. So, when you’re creating an event for your company, it’s important to create something that sticks out from the ordinary so your event attendees remember you.
That positive memory is precisely what a great experiential event offers.
What are experiential events?
Simply put, an experiential event is a meeting, conference or other gathering where attendees experience your message, rather than just hear it. You could fly all of your salespeople in from around the country, read your notecards at them and get roughly the same results if you just sent them an email with the talking points.
Your event participants’ time is precious. Why waste it—and why waste your money and potential—with an event that doesn’t resonate?
Here are five key features of great experiential events.
1.) Successful Events Build FOMO
At their heart, every event is a marketing tool. And what makes experiential events fun and unique also makes them a great marketing tool for themselves.
When your participants attend your event, they’ll share what they’re doing on their own social networks—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or others—and do event marketing for you in the process. And when others see that, they get FOMO.
FOMO, short for “Fear of Missing Out,” is precisely what you want the people who didn’t attend your event to feel. When they see what a great time their friends or coworkers are having at your event, they’ll stop at nothing to attend next time. FOMO makes your participants want to be there, and gets them to attend as well.
2.) Successful Events Tell Your Story
You can spend thousands on advertising your new service—billboards, magazine ads, the whole nine yards. But advertising can pale in comparison to the positive sentiment your attendees get when they attend a powerful event.
What makes experiential events so compelling and effective is precisely what can make that kind of advertisement ineffective—they’re living, breathing and immersive entities that tell your story in a way your event attendees won’t forget.
When you craft your story the way you want it to be told, and communicate that with the branding, entertainment, messaging and content, your event attendees won’t forget it, skim over it or let it be lost in a sea of competing messages.
3.) Successful Events Appeal to All Learners
Simply put, the purpose of events (and marketing as a whole) is to teach—about your brand, your service or your product. And, as every teacher knows, everyone learns at their own pace and in their own way.
Some people learn best by listening or watching a video, and others learn by networking with others or asking questions. At a traditional event where someone speaks and you listen, many of the people who prefer other learning styles are left out in the cold.
But when you have an experiential event, you can take everyone’s learning style into consideration. With a mix of traditional and interactive elements that allow the participants to engage and provide feedback as well, you can ensure no one leaves your event without total comprehension of your key message.
Touch on each method of learning, and let your event’s message be understood loud and clear—and make sure it won’t be forgotten.
4.) Successful Events Prove You Matter
When you host an experiential event, you’re ensuring your message comes across distinctly to your event participants. But they also go much further than that, not only in what you say, but how it’s said.
A great experiential event proves to your participants, current customers and potential customers that you’re cool and unique. More importantly, the fact that you’re investing in an experiential, immersive event proves to your competitors that you’re a force to be reckoned with.
When you’re planning an event to unify your team, rally around a common goal or get excited about a new product or service, you can’t phone it in. The details matter, and a poorly-executed event can do more damage to your brand than good.
5.) Successful Events Create Positive Memories
Important memories stand out to you because of their significance or because of how out of the ordinary they were. When you experience something incredible, it will be ingrained in your memory for years to come.
A great experiential event is just like that—it’s something that people will remember and talk about days, weeks, even years after. If your event fails to speak to your audience and they won’t remember it, why bother doing it at all? When your company is presented in a fun, engaging, approachable way through an incredible event, it’s hard for participants to separate the positive experience with the message you want to share.
To experience what participants encounter at an immersive, powerful event, check out our interactive event participant journey.
Jill has over 20 years of experience in event management, supplier relations and sales strategy. She stays ahead of industry trends and research to develop strategies and market plans for event solutions. She likes to turn everything in life into an experience, whether it involves food, red wine, activities with friends and family or a customer’s event.