Being on the cusp of marketing trends can mean constantly assimilating to the changing world. Marketing is an ever-evolving process.
Experiential marketing is one of these trends; this type of marketing focuses on how consumers connect to a product—to experience it, with hopes that that connection will lead to brand loyalty. For example, Ikea is furnishing hotels with its product, giving guests the experience of living with the brand for a few days.
But how can bar and nightclub owners embrace experiential marketing?
Johnny Surprise, director of business development and client strategy for experience-marketing firm CPC Intersect, says it’s easier to engage in experiential marketing with consumer brands, but he says, bars and nightclubs are brands too and can modify the marketing techniques to work for them.
Photo provided by Jack Daniels
This type of marketing, he says, has been around for a long time but only now is it getting traction with brands. “It’s making the consumer see things” in a new way, he explains. Surprise says looking at trends shows that marketing needs to be a forward movement in seeking out “the next big thing.”
“If you want to target bars, it’s pretty simple, look at the beverage component to it,” he explains. Treat the debut of a cocktail, like an album release party, he says. First, he says, use social media and get fan support that way; begin a countdown with your followers that in so many days, your bar or club will be hosting a one-time opportunity to try the new drink. “That goes out to social media circles,” he says, helping the bar create a connection and experience between the consumer and the brand.
“I feel that the key to experiential (marketing) is to be forward thinking. Being in line with current trends and advancement and having a theme that will support a demographic,” Surprise explains.
A supported theme will give people something to talk about. Surprise says consumers want something they can test and taste to get a takeaway. Bar and nightclub owners should use visual elements to their benefit. At a club, hire attractive men and women to hand out drink samples, this will help increase consumer loyalty behind the new product. “The consumer will come, like the product and become loyal” to the bar, he says. He also encourages partnering with big-named brands. The more bar and nightclub owners can do with partners, the better chance the bar—and the product—will go viral.
Social Media Presence is Important
Surprise says experiential marketing can only really work if your business has a strong social media presence.
“Social media is the word of mouth now,” he explains. People use social media to voice their opinions, if they like your bar or club, they will vocalize that on their social-networking platforms. “It becomes an instant impression.”
Additionally, “it’s instantaneous feedback on a product. If you have a good product and good event, people will talk about it right away, and it will be online right away.”
“The best way for bars (to thrive) in an experiential space is to truly use social media: pictures, sampling, events inside the bar.” The thing to remember, Surprise says, is events don’t have to be big, but they have to be memorable and be talked about because “people will remember (the bar) and go back to it for another event.”