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Every year, month, day it seems, there is a new trend that requires your urgent and immediate attention. While many trends turn into long-forgotten fads, the brevity often lies in a failure to connect with something concrete. This product trend, however, speaks to a truth marketers have known for decades: the power of experience. Officially known as experiential marketing, this strategy has spurred the rise of unique products that create tangible memories. These experiential products (I know, really creative) hit key emotional triggers that spur sales and engagement. So what exactly is an experiential product and how can you use it in your marketing?

How Experiential Products Differ From Other Products

I know what you’re thinking. How exactly are experiential products any different from any other product? Unlike a tote bag or nice journal to enhance an event, these products ARE the event. From packaging to usage, these items aim to captivate your imagination. For example, during the International Chocolate day, one of our suppliers created chocolate bar power banks and journals. “The efforts placed behind these types of products are instantly apparent and significantly impactful to brand awareness and separating them from the noise,”  said Thomas Trudel, marketing coordinator for Spector & Co. “We could’ve taken the International Chocolate Day logo and debossed it on the journal and called it a day, but we’re more fun than that!” The result was a unique and highly conceptual piece that created a lasting impression. While the one-of-a-kind factor is important for experiential products, there are a few other traits specific to these items.

The Three Emotional Triggers Experiential Products Activate

Humans, whether we like it or not, are driven by emotions. For marketers, finding techniques that activate certain emotional triggers is key to success.  Experiential products are great because they address several emotions at once. One is our need to belong. We like to feel a part of something and especially love physical reminders of that connection. In the case of the chocolate bar power banks and journals, these were created for a specific date and are not apart of the company’s usual offerings. Owning this product means that you are a part of something rare and special, and this exclusive connectedness is exactly the sort of belonging we love.

Pleasure is another potent emotion. And the quicker we experience it, the better. Experiential products provide this instant gratification we crave. Another supplier, City Paper, created a custom package molded to fit two Bud Light cans and a football for a Super Bowl campaign. When end-users opened the box, they could hear the roar of the crowds. “The moment of opening the box created an experience for the end-user and was a very cool moment of interactivity,” said Stephanie Friedman, vice president of sales and marketing for City Paper Co. “It really drove home creating the feeling of being at a Super Bowl and hearing the crowd roar, and what that feels like.”

Lastly, we need trust to go beyond the moment and take action. Experiential products reflect a level of thought and consideration. It’s not just another stress ball or koozie; it’s a concept brought to life. This extra care builds credibility for your brand. It shows that you are an organization that cares about quality with a hell of an imagination. This creates a strong foundation with the recipient, making it easier to build a deeper, more lucrative relationship.

How To Use The Experiential Product Model

Now that you know why experiential products work, what does that mean for you and your organization? While we hope you snag these products from us, there are two easy ways to use the experiential product model in your present marketing strategy. The first is to focus on interactivity. Look for ways, at every stage of your strategy, to interact with your audience. For example, instead of simply announcing your new website, create a post that encourages video reactions to the new features. It is a fun way to involve your audience while gathering important data about them.

Second, seek out immersive opportunities.  Vans did just that on International Women’s Day at their House of Vans locations. The company used these spaces to promote women in skateboarding, hosting skate sessions, documentary screenings, and live music. While these events did not reach everyone in Vans’ demographic, those who attended had an immersive and memorable experience that strengthened their connection with the brand.

Although experiential methods require a higher level of thought and effort, the payoff is undeniable. People love experiences. And the more you can provide, the more likely you will be remembered.

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