How Your Paid Media Can Work In Tandem with Experiential Activations
Put on your VR goggles, folks, and let’s talk about technology. Society’s latest innovations in tech have layered on another level of experience. We’re not just looking at a screen anymore — we’re experiencing it with all of our senses. Why does that matter to marketers? Marketing is at the intersection of cutting-edge technology and customer experience. Every innovation is an opportunity for us to bring the product or service to the consumer in an entirely new way.
The Work Tech industry is crowded (and increasingly becoming more crowded), so building an emotional connection between the market and your brand allows your company to emerge as a market leader. With events moving back to being in person, it’s especially important to start thinking about your experiential strategy. Let’s review some of the most important ways for marketers to create experiences and how we can support them along the way with paid media spend.
It’s (trade) show time!
The Work Tech industry is slowly but surely moving back to hosting events in person. Pack your bags, kids, we’re headed to trade shows, conferences, and expos again. Unlike pre-pandemic events, brands have had more time to plan and prepare their strategies.
- Utilizing unique tech (like showing your product in the VR world) is one way to engage prospects.
- Hype your sponsorship up — make it seem like you’re the biggest booth there. Give people FOMO for not visiting your space.
- Gamification of a product has become a big strategy at in-person events. What would make you stop by a booth? A mini putt putt course? A retro pinball game? An interactive video? Think about how you can translate your product into an unexpected format that allows visitors to have some fun.
- This is your opportunity to really think outside the box. There’s nothing too over the top. We’ve all been to trade shows – the booths start to look the same by the end of the day. Reflect on the booths where they make you feel like you’re in an entirely different environment. Long story short: make your 10×10 space an experience when people step in.
VR? AR? Argh …
A virtual reality headset at an in-person expo? No way. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of being in person? Some of you may feel like we’re moving toward a Wall-E world where we float around with our virtual reality screens in front of our faces. Some of you may love the idea of a tech-immersive world.
We actually tested this at The Starr Conspiracy by providing all of our team members with a VR headset in 2021. We built worlds and offices and hosted meetings alongside our avatar coworkers. Let me preface this by saying that I’m not a techie. I don’t typically care about getting my hands on the latest inventions. But I must admit — using the VR headset for a work meeting was one of the coolest things I’ve done. Staring at a 2D image of your colleagues on Zoom is one thing, but actually feeling like you’re sitting right next to them is another. The spatial audio also makes it feel authentic — you can easily whisper to the person next to you without interrupting someone else talking.
So, why am I telling you about this? Because our clients are now using virtual reality and augmented reality in their own day-to-day lives. Whether it’s internal or external meetings or bringing headsets to expos and conferences, brands are utilizing new ways to communicate. Of course, we’re not recommending you refuse to communicate face to face with your booth visitors outside of virtual reality while they’re standing right in front of you, but this is an opportunity to show them something different than a pamphlet or a video on a TV. Create a 3D version of your software, maybe your office space, or an art exhibit–style space to walk through and learn more about your product. Imagine if you saw software in 3D — you probably wouldn’t forget that innovative brand among the sea of software at HR Tech.
PS – Meta is actually currently building a headset specific for work … more to come!
Webinars — we love them, we love them not
Throughout the pandemic, we learned how to do everything online. All of our events turned virtual and brands mastered the art of the webinar. Although things are shifting back to being in person, webinars should still be a key part of your strategy. They aren’t the big lead drivers they once were mid-pandemic, yet the brand awareness, thought leadership, and evergreen content that can prevail is worth the preparation.
The good thing about everything going virtual during the pandemic is that hosting these webinars (for free!) is easier than ever.
- Record a Zoom webinar. Host a LinkedIn Live.
- Now you have this great piece of recorded content.
- Chop it up to create social media content.
- Put it on your website.
- Use the audio file as a podcast.
So while webinars are arguably losing their permanence, hosting a webinar is a low-cost, easy way to reach people you wouldn’t otherwise (AND have a ton of evergreen content to use on a variety of platforms!).
You’ve got mail
Direct mail, while argumentatively outdated, should be another key part of your strategy if implemented correctly. Things like demos and webinars don’t have to be just another Zoom call, but an experience. Consider setting up an interactive activity, like an at-home wine tasting that will break up the product information or presentation.
Send your prospects branded items that allow them to activate all their senses:
- See the webinar
- Smell a candle
- Taste some yummy snacks
- Hear some fun music
- Touch a booklet that builds upon your content
There are ways to further entice your prospects to join (yet another) webinar and actually make it worth their while.
How does paid media play into this?
Whether it’s hosting meetings in virtual reality, wine tasting webinars, or the BAU events, a strong paid media strategy is the foundation to success for your experiential activations. Technology is allowing for new ways to create experiences while also allowing new ways for us to market those experiences.
If you’re hosting an event, utilize the channels that allow for geotargeting or, better yet, geofencing. Remember how HR Tech is hosted in Vegas every year? Wasting money on geotargeting drunk casino goers in Vegas isn’t going to be your best bet. But geofencing the Mandalay Bay where HR Tech is hosted ensures that the right people are seeing your Work Tech ads.
Launching campaigns for your brand and product is critical. Launching campaigns for your events is just as important:
- Your brand is doing something super-cool with AR? Great, let’s create some really cool display ads to show on the homepage of HR Executive.
- You have a webinar coming up? Awesome, let’s set up LinkedIn lead gen forms where everyone who signs up gets a free goody bag.
- You’re a sponsor at HR Tech? Let the world know when they’re searching for HR Tech that you’ll be there, and they need to come to your booth.
- You’re going to have virtual reality at your booth? PLEASE launch ads to show off that you’re doing something so freaking awesome, and they absolutely need to stop by.
It’s becoming more important than ever that marketers go above and beyond to break through the noise, and breakthroughs in technology are making it possible. Many organizations have a siloed approach to these different channels, instead of using them together to take a holistic approach, which is more impactful. Think outside the box to create experiences for your prospects and customers alike, then put all the support into paid media to get the word out there for it.
Need help getting started? Let’s talk.