Experiential Marketing: A Modern Day Love Story

February is officially upon us. Famous for its short calendar days and freezing temperatures, it’s also home to the welcomed/dreaded holiday that has everyone talking about love. So whether you’ve been hit by cupid’s arrow, or are still searching for that perfect partner, Valentine’s Day is a good time to evaluate what is working, or might need some improvement, in the relationship department.

To make things interesting, let’s compare romance to some common outreach strategies of a marketing campaign:

First let’s take it way back; we’re talking first crush in elementary school. How did we convey a message to that cute kid who shared their Doritos with us one time during recess? Probably through an anonymous heart-shaped note that conveyed a Twitter-style message in 140 characters or less. Sure it was effective on Valentine’s Day… right until that love interest opened 30 semi-identical pink letters right after ours. Fleeting success, and we’re off to sharing our lunch with someone new.

How about high school? No matter your preference, we’ve all learned a thing or two about the dating game. Maybe yours was the “Bad Boy/Girl” who, like an embarrassing Snapchat, you’re glad after 10 seconds was gone forever. Or the “Class Flirt” who doled out ‘Likes’ on Facebook to any page that came their way. And finally, the “School Jock,” your soulmate who had you competing against sports figures and protein supplements in their Instagram feed. These collective memories shaped who you are today, and while each medium had its impact, it’s safe to say that high school probably did not solidify an “In a Relationship” Facebook status.

Which brings us back to current day. You’re tired of the dating scene and want to settle into that American dream of getting married, having a few well-behaved kids, and buying a moderately priced condo in the city. Your days of 140 characters and ephemeral ‘Likes’ are over, and you are ready for the real thing.

This is why the future of love, within our marketing context is experiential marketing. This is the face-to-face outreach that stimulates a dialogue between two potential parties. It’s the hard work that takes place behind the scenes to match a particular product or service with its customer. Experiential marketing shows up, grabs your attention, and stands out from the crowd as something you’d like to get to know better. It does its due diligence to reach you before an event, during an event, and will certainly not forget about you afterwards. It engages you in a real-time conversation that leaves you wanting to learn more, and gets you excited about building a life together.

So while social media may continue to stir butterflies in our stomachs, printed advertising trigger nostalgia of former flings, and commercials give us pause as we bite into yet another chocolate candy, this Valentine’s Day let’s remember that experiential marketing might be the strategy to have you saying “I do.”