Let’s talk about event marketing. No, not just any kind of event marketing, but a tactic that’s proven to take customer engagement to the next level. 

It goes by many different names, such as: 

  • Engagement marketing
  • Live marketing
  • Experience marketing
  • On-the-ground marketing
  • Participation marketing

Most people call it experiential marketing. Why? Because at the end of the day, it’s all about giving attendees an unforgettable, immersive experience—the type traditional marketing tactics simply can’t replicate.

In this blog, we’ll explore experiential marketing ideas, why brands use it to strengthen customer relationships, and how you can leverage experiential marketing for your next event. We’ll also share several examples of experiential marketing campaigns and the best practices to turn a dull marketing strategy into smashing success. 

What is experiential marketing?

Checkerboard room inside the new Vans DTLA store.

Live marketing, engagement marketing, experience marketing—no matter the name, it all boils down to one thing: the customer experience. More specifically, Mailchimp defines experiential marketing as “the process of creating a memorable brand experience rather than approaching a consumer through traditional marketing tactics.” 

In other words, it’s about encouraging your target audience to participate in a live experience. Whereas traditional marketing is a more passive approach, experiential marketing actively involves the consumer by inviting them to engage in some type of activity, such as a hands-on workshop, game, or demonstration. 

How does experiential marketing relate to event marketing?

Experiential marketing and event marketing go hand in hand, as events allow brands to directly interact with their target audience and create a long-lasting emotional connection.

Why does that matter? Firstly, it drives customer choice. According to NielsenIQ, 71% of consumers are motivated by emotional factors when choosing brands to buy from. Additionally, 56% of people said they like to know the origin story of the brands they consume. Hosting an experiential event is a great way to hit two birds with one stone. Not only can you deepen potential customer relationships, but you can also help attendees understand your brand identity.

Benefits of an experiential marketing event

Why try an experiential marketing strategy? There are a host of great reasons. A successful experiential marketing campaign enables you to:

  • Generate more engagement: Experiential marketing invites event attendees to engage in new and exciting experiences that capture their attention. It’s a great way to encourage participation in sponsored activities and get people out of their comfort zone during a special event.
  • Increase brand awareness: A truly memorable experience generates more buzz and brand exposure, helping to boost your image and attract new customers. Plus, it’s a good way to increase search demand for your business on Google.
  • Raise brand loyalty: Experiential marketing is also effective at converting new prospects into repeat buyers and fostering loyalty in your existing customer base. The more emotionally connected they feel to your brand, the closer they are to conversion.
  • Create viral opportunities: If you think outside the box, you’ll likely inspire attendees to share their experience on social media—an easy way to gain organic media exposure and further increase brand awareness.
  • Optimize your budget: You can also repurpose event content over and over… as if you needed another reason to plan an experiential marketing campaign. Events are a source of content you can use to support your campaigns all year long.

Event professionals have much to gain from experiential marketing. That’s probably why it ranks as one of the top five global marketing trends, according to Hubspot’s 2023 Marketing Strategy & Trends report. 

5 types of experiential marketing (with examples)

So, now you know what experiential marketing can do. But what does it actually look like? Let’s explore some real-world examples.

1. Brand activations

In simple terms, brand activation involves any type of interaction that allows your target audience to engage directly with your brand. The intention is to connect the consumer to your company and provide a lasting, memorable experience to raise brand awareness.

Here’s a great example:

In September 2022, NBC took the public back in time—not literally, but as a promotional stunt for the release of its Quantum Leap reboot premiering that month. At a time when gas prices were pushing $5 per gallon, NBC invited participants to drive through its “Quantum Accelerator” gas station. 


On the other side, they encountered the world as it was in 1985 (when the show first debuted): MTV-era music, trivia, break-dancers, snacks, and swag. Most importantly, NBC also offered participants a chance to fill their tanks for just $.91 cents a gallon. 

With this activation, NBC found a way to take people back in time while interacting with their brand in a fun, memorable, and exciting way that generated plenty of buzz and publicity.

2. Guerilla marketing

Guerilla marketing is an unconventional strategy that uses the element of surprise and intrigue. 

Simply put, guerrilla marketing aims to shock you. Common examples include flash mobs, street graffiti, or publicity stunts. Sometimes, they go a lot bigger. 


It’s not every day you see 25-foot-long footprints popping up across one of the largest cities in the world. But, that’s exactly what happened when Warner Bros started promoting the release of “Kong: Skull Island” in 2017. To celebrate the return of King Kong on the big screen, the studio dug enormous footprints in the beaches around Los Angeles. 

Warner Brothers handed out promotional gear to anyone willing to investigate the footprints, who shared the experience online for fans nationwide. Anyone who participated virtually using the movie’s branded hashtag also received a chance to win an early screening of the upcoming film. 

Why did this campaign work? It was shocking, and mysterious, and encouraged digital participation. But most of all? It was larger than life.

3. In-house experiences

From pop-up shops to in-store activities, retail experiences are one of the most effective experiential marketing techniques. Basically, this tactic involves brands using a brick-and-mortar location to engage their target audience with fun, limited-time-only offers and/or experiences. 

For instance, KFC teamed up with popular hip-hop artist Jack Harlow to attract a younger, more diverse audience. The duo launched the partnership with a pop-up food truck outside the artist’s hometown show in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Later, KFC gave consumers a chance to order Harlow’s favorite items through the restaurant’s mobile app When guests arrived, they parked in VIP parking and picked up their orders at KFC’s pick-up shelf. 

4. Product demos

Some types of experiential marketing are multi-purpose. Not only do they invite people to participate in a retail experience, but they also offer the opportunity to test out products in person. 


Dolce & Gabbana worked with Coffee ‘n Clothes to create a traveling pop-up store featuring their products in a customized Airstream. The mobile pop-up store cruised the streets during the summer of 2021 and attracted a ton of business for the brand.

Appealing directly to their customer base, Dolce & Gabbana allowed customers to make an appointment to have the store travel to their homes. The brand used the unique concept to showcase its products and give people a safe way to shop during the pandemic.

5. Event marketing

Finally, we arrive back at event marketing. Remember: Event marketing is a form of experiential marketing to help brands gain awareness, generate buzz, and encourage consumers to interact with them more closely. 

Lessonly, a global training software company, partnered with Webex Events for its 2021 Yellowship event. Lessonly used the customizable Webex Events mobile app, which allowed them to create an immersive experience for attendees, exhibitors, and llamas (yes, you read that right). The app provided attendees with a fully branded event experience, making event navigation and participation a breeze. 

By the end of the event, Lessonly achieved:

  • 780% app adoption: 480 out of 695 attendees downloaded the Yellowship event app.
  • 284 social wall mentions: Lessonly enjoyed 100 social wall posts per day and noticed continued app engagement days after the event.
  • 33% participation in gamification.
  • 500 leads: 77% of the leads were considered 5-star.
  • Valuable data feedback: Webex Events’ in-app data gave Lessonly a simple way to gather feedback and improve future events.

Experiential marketing best practices

The examples mentioned above provide tangible inspiration for your next campaign. Before you get ahead of yourself, let’s cover a few experiential marketing best practices:

  1. Segment your audience into personas: This is important because it’ll help you determine the right experiences that will resonate with customer segments. Personas are fictional representations of your ideal buyer(s). They can help you determine where to launch promotions, inform your messaging, and identify tactics you should use.
  2. Establish a goal: No marketing strategy works without a goal. An event goal determines how you measure success. For instance, if you want to increase brand awareness, you’d track the number of impressions you receive or registrants you collect.
  3. Measure real-time performance: You have metrics that align with your goals, but you need a way to track them correctly. Ensure you have the technology to gather data, so you can accurately prove ROI. Consider using an event platform that collects information in the background while you focus on planning and running your event. Webex Events includes built-in tools that provide granular insights on engagement, sponsor interactions, session views, networking, and more.

How to create immersive event experiences

What is it about an event that keeps attendees engaged? What leaves them coming back for more?

Answering these questions isn’t easy. That said, there are a few basic factors to take your event experience to the next level:

  • Engaging guests and speakers: Big-name guests draw their own crowds and will make your event more reputable and professional. Look for relevant people in your industry that your target audience would love to see and interact with at the event.
  • Entertainment: Yoga, meditation, live music—the list goes on. Entertainment options are numerous, but not every choice will vibe with your attendees. Book entertainment that will give attendees a break from the action, but not one that’ll put them to sleep.
  • Learning experiences: Workshops offer a great chance for people to get their hands dirty and learn something new. Plus, you can think outside the box and offer classes on topics your audience might never again get to experience.
  • Interactive moments: Whether you’re hosting in-person, hybrid, or virtually, you need to empower participation. Why not offer live chat, breakout rooms, networking opportunities, live polls, Q&A, and other interactive opportunities? 

With an event management platform like Webex Events, you can support all of these factors and more. As an all-in-one solution, Webex Events provides everything you need to make your experiences the best they can be. From streamlined data-gathering and automated registration to seamless live streaming and gamification, you can realize the potential of experiential marketing from a single event hub. 

Want to see Webex Events in action? Reach out for a free personalized demo of Webex Events and gain a partner in powering amazing, immersive events.