5 Experiential Ideas Printers Can Learn From
It’s not a new trend for printers — more and more of your customers are looking not just for a few printed items, but for help with pulling off campaigns that touch multiple customer demographics across multiple mediums. Experiential marketing — tying together some kind of live component or event with the overall marketing campaign — are becoming more and more popular, especially as the world continues to rebound from COVID.
This Forbes article is aimed at those brand owners — at your customers — encouraging them to look beyond traditional digital and print mediums for their marketing efforts. But you don’t have to wait for them to come to you with those ideas — if they come to you with them at all. Instead, going to your customers yourself with innovative ideas for how they can improve their market share, drum up more attention, or even just sell more products will help cement you as their partner, rather than their vendor — something every printer strives for in today’s market.
Here are just five of the experiential marketing ideas you can use to inspire your creative and sales teams as they work with your customers on the next big campaign. Rather than wait for them to come to you with a print order, going to them with new ideas will only help deepen your relationships.
- Food-based events. Everyone likes food, and offering it is a great way to capture people’s attention — whether the brand is food-based or not. Experiential marketing ideas can include having a food truck at an event giving away free samples, or a local chef selling a limited meal. It could be a summer ice cream party or a Super Bowl tailgate. The great thing about food is that the possibilities are near endless, and you can find unique ways to work it into a pop-up type event to entice customers to come interact with the brand and its products. And print will be a big part of that experience — the custom branded wraps on the food trucks, the custom-printed paper bowls, the custom printed napkins, the signage, the floor graphics — you get the picture.
- Virtual reality. Virtual and augmented reality are still relatively new technologies, and no one really knows the best ways to take advantage of them yet. This is a great opportunity to become an expert, offering your customers insight into something new, and how to apply cutting-edge tech to their campaigns in ways that don’t feel forced. It will be trial and error, but you can be the one leading the pack, rather than waiting for a few more years for someone else to figure it out — and possibly losing your customers to them in the meantime. True virtual reality still requires often heavy and awkward glasses, so focusing on augmented reality — which can often be accessed with nothing more than a smartphone — is a good way to bridge the technology gap. And it is a great way to bridge the print and digital gap, taking your beautiful, printed images and bringing them to life in ways that will get people talking.
- Games are a big part of a lot of people’s lives — board games, smartphone games, computer games — they get people together and get them talking. Consider working with your customers to create game events that feature their brand or products to bring people together — have branded versions of popular board games, create a branded smartphone game people can play to earn rewards points that can be redeemed for prizes or discounts, put together a local tournament encouraging people to come play for big prizes — all the while being exposed to the brand every step of the way. And while you can certainly print some of that material, such as the board games, you might want to consider finding a partner of your own that specializes in coding and creating digital experiences if you want to really embrace this experiential niche.
- Selfie stations. Selfies are a big part of our current culture, and people love to take them in unusual and fun places. You can work with your customers to set up everything from simple walls people can stand in front of, to elaborate scenes with multiple angles to encourage a lot of pictures — all of which can feature the branding in prominent ways. Signage, 3D printing, wraps, digital textiles, and even floor graphics can all help bring a space to life that will draw consumers in and make them want to not only interact with the brand but share those interactions with their friends and family.
- Promotional products. A category unto themselves, promotional products can be a big part of any experience. Giving away branded items is a great way to get people to come interact with a brand, but don’t make the mistake of thinking just giving away some pens with a logo will be enough to call it a day. Today’s print technologies allow you to print on virtually any surface, which opens the door to some truly unique promotional products. Think beyond the traditional giveaways and try to find something that will fit the theme of the event or brand. Work with your customers to come up with unique ideas that people will want to not only keep but use and show to others — helping to spread the brand awareness all the while. This is another category that you can certainly do some of the work in-house, but if you want to truly make promo products a big part of your experiential pitch, you’ll either want to invest in the right equipment, or find a partner that specializes in the space to work alongside you to come up with — and execute — the most creative ideas.
Brands today can’t just run an ad in magazine or put up a billboard and expect to find success. They know they must connect with their consumers in multiple ways, and experiential marketing is a big part of that push. For the printer looking to capture — and keep — their business, it’s only going to become more important to be the ones bringing new ideas to the table, rather than just taking print orders.