\u201cThey may forget what you said \u2014 but they will never forget how you made them feel.\u201d \u2014Carl W. Buehner What if a vending machine fail was the key to one of your brand\u2019s most successful marketing campaigns? This is exactly what Orangina set out to accomplish with their #ShakeTheDispenser campaign. In 2017, the iconic soft drink company installed custom-built vending machines at La Defense and Lille Europe in France. These machines, which were designed to trap cans as they were vending, required users to shake them to free their drink. They even egged buyers on, prompting them to shake harder if they weren\u2019t getting aggressive enough.\u00a0\u00a0 The result? Over 48 hours, Orangina raised awareness for their new brand signature: Shake the World. And customers\u2019 initial frustrations became a viral opportunity to share their experiences and love for the product.\u00a0 This is a prime example of experiential marketing Essentially, experiential marketing is marketing that creates immersive, interactive experiences. Also referred to as engagement marketing, it helps consumers get to know your brand, product, or service. An experience can be as small as a well-told story or as large as an international \u201ceaster egg\u201d hunt for the Iron Throne.\u00a0 They can be events like Ikea\u2019s in-store sleepover, or installations like Volkswagon\u2019s piano staircase. It\u2019s all about creating a unique experience that appeals to the attendees\u2019 emotions and senses. Orangina\u2019s \u201cbroken\u201d vending machines worked because they encouraged consumers to live Orangina\u2019s brand message.\u00a0 As Caroline Goldstein, former staff writer for Fundera, notes in a 2019 article:\u00a0 \u201cAt its heart, experiential marketing is a marketing strategy geared toward promoting a brand\u2019s message, rather than focusing solely on selling the brand\u2019s product. And where traditional tactics (think print ads, TV and radio commercials, and billboards) market products to a passive consumer, experiential marketing encourages active participation with that brand by engaging as many of the participants\u2019 senses as possible: hence Orangina\u2019s \u201cbroken\u201d vending machine, Lean Cuisine\u2019s #WeighThis installation, and Ikea U.K.\u2019s in-store sleepover.\u201d Events, pop-ups, installations, and even interactive sites all promote brand visibility, generate excitement organically, and lead to more word of mouth (WOM) hype than traditional forms of advertising. How likely are you to talk about a commercial over an experience you\u2019ve had? Plus, studies show that experiential marketing may boost brand loyalty. In fact, 65% of brands report a positive correlation between sales and experiential marketing.\u00a0 Why experiential marketing works These sorts of interactive, immersive experiences are becoming more and more important because of several key factors. First and foremost, the digital landscape is noisy. Today\u2019s consumers are more adept than ever at tuning out. Considering that the average person sees upwards of 5,000 ads every single day, it\u2019s no surprise that many have learned to ignore them. Plus advertisers have to overcome the rising prevalence of ad-blocking plugins and ad-free streaming services. Creativity is key to breaking through the noise and getting your brand noticed.\u00a0 Another reason this type of marketing works is that it\u2019s more than a sales pitch\u2014 it\u2019s an experience. Today\u2019s consumers are also well-informed and distrust most traditional marketing efforts. We\u2019ve already talked about how as many as 84% of millennials don\u2019t trust traditional advertising. That means 83.1 million Americans don\u2019t connect with brands through traditional advertising methods.\u00a0 Finally, experiential marketing works because it relies on people at your event to create the hype. Considering the effectiveness of user-generated content (UGC) and word of mouth referrals, this may be one of the more valuable aspects of experiential marketing. If your event generates enough excitement that attendees to pick up their phones and start posting, your brand gets to ride the wave of all that social sharing.\u00a0 Moving beyond the generic trade show While something as simple as a booth at a trade show or industry conference technically counts as experiential marketing, today\u2019s most innovative brands are moving beyond that. Experiential marketing is an opportunity for your customer to live and interact with your brand\u2019s unique message or mission. Compare the sample table at a local trade show to Anheuser-Busch\u2019s Bud Light \u201cUp for Whatever\u201d weekend, and you\u2019ll see the opportunities you miss when playing it safe.\u00a0 How to harness experiential marketing\u00a0 Consider partnering with local artists and influencers If you\u2019re working in a particular region (or across multiple regions), it can be helpful to align yourself with someone who is locally recognizable and has their own audience of loyal followers. Partnering with local and regional celebrities also means that your event or immersive experience will be broadcast across your partners\u2019 social media channels, boosting exposure, and hopefully driving interest. Just make sure that any partnerships logically tie into your brand identity and don\u2019t come across as gimmicky.\u00a0 Keep it on-brand Whether you\u2019re encouraging philanthropy, installing an interactive piano staircase, or hosting pop-up beach party celebrations across the country, make sure your marketing matches your brand\u2019s voice and mission. Knowing your target audience and ideal customers is a great starting point for determining what sort of experience to build. Once you\u2019ve identified who you want to connect with, it will be easier to figure out how to connect. Or as Hubspot\u2019s Braden Becker says, \u201cGo nuts, but keep it on-brand. An experience should be memorable, but relevant to the people attending.\u201d\u00a0 Get people talking about the experience One marker of your experiential marketing campaign\u2019s success is how much dialogue it generates. And rightly so. According to the fourth annual EventTrack Consumer Survey, up to 71% of participants will share their experiences, either face-to-face or via social media. It\u2019s true: experiential marketing is appealing because it happens offline. But you\u2019ll still want to get people talking online.\u00a0 Luckily, something as simple as a branded hashtag goes a long way towards building buzz and generating brand interest. Plus it gives customers an opportunity to tell their story and share your branded experience with family and friends. Make sure there are reasons for attendees to document their experience: photobooths, Snap-worthy visuals, and even offering prizes are all effective ways to keep the conversation going.\u00a0 Experiential marketing is a chance to humanize your brand Above and beyond trying to go viral or score creativity points, experiential marketing provides a unique opportunity. It lets people connect one-on-one with your brand. During a recent roundtable conversation with media researcher PSFK, Ron Faris, the general manager of NYC Digital Studio and the SNKRS App at Nike, characterized it another way. He claims, \u201c about building the types of experiences that are more immersive that would make you feel the same way attending \u2026 a music festival\u2014sparking a type of energy that goes far beyond e-commerce and a store.\u201d Sure, personalized emails are great, but are they as memorable as stepping into the world of a brand\u2019s passion? Studies have shown time and again that millennials live for experiences rather than possessions. With the right planning, your brand can be one of those experiences. Not sure experiential marketing is right for your brand or industry? Creativity is the only limit for what experiential marketing can look like.