What Is Experiential Marketing?

As a consumer, which of the following two scenarios sounds like a more worthwhile experience? An event in a dull conference room, with fluorescent lighting humming overhead and an agenda of PowerPoint presentations lined up for the day? Or: an immersive event with interactivity, entertainment, engaging music, and branded video and artwork displayed through-out.


The great majority of us would prefer the latter, and the team at Staging Solutions provided these precise elements to the Houston Chapter of American Marketing Association’s annual Marketer of the Year Awards ceremony in 2016.


At its core, Staging Solutions creates extraordinary brand experiences that produce results. We rely heavily on impacting and motivating people through interactive visuals, content, and media.


This is the heart of experiential marketing. It goes beyond the black-and-white of typical, grassroots marketing techniques—i.e., press releases, social media posts, or media pitches. Through creative solutions and thoughtful execution, Staging Solutions crafts experiences that activate brands’ missions, purposes, and ethos to create something that is palpable and thought-provoking for the consumer.


Small business marketing expert Kim T. Gordon wrote in her book, “Maximum Marketing Minimum Dollars: The Top 50 Ways to Grow Your Small Business,” about the impactful effects of experiential marketing. “It makes a one-on-one connection between your customer and product,” she writes. “The cliché ‘seeing is believing’ rings true when it comes to experiential marketing.” The buzz that comes from a successful event (or experience) can oftentimes be more impactful than any other form of marketing, she writes.


“Experiential marketing has an extended impact by virtue of building word-of-mouth,” she continues. “Eight out of 10 people who participated in an experiential marketing event in the past said that they told others about their experience.”


Those are powerful statistics, and the team at Staging Solutions strives to provide the experiences to back up such impressive numbers, and then some.


Prior to Staging Solution’s involvement, the AMA Marketer of the Year Awards ceremony was another typical award’s show with three-hours of shuffle of announcing winners, herding people on- and offstage, and switching between categories. Staging Solutions’ creative director, Tim Thomson, recruited comedian Mike McCrae to emcee the event last year, and he not only brought levity and humor to the awards, but also audience engagement and better time management. In fact, the ceremony timeline was cut in half, from 180 minutes to just 90.


McCrae’s energy (and well-timed jokes) was paced with music, a track that was purposefully chosen to both set the mood and create a rhythm for the night. And, finally, AMA hoped for a celebratory experience for award winners and the audience alike. The team at Staging Solutions strategically compiled pre-recorded video segments showing each nominee greeting the audience, plus a video of winners reacting to their accomplishments.


The nuanced touches—from big ones, like choosing a comedian to emcee, to more minute ones, like picking on-theme music to loop during the event—proved a wild success. Something that once felt more like a business meeting became a festive event applauding Houston’s most acclaimed marketing professionals.


During Super Bowl LI, Texas Medical Center, a Staging Solutions client, hosted a booth on Discovery Green that showcased its most remarkable programs, plus their vision for the future.


Staging Solutions worked with TMC to illustrate the incredible innovations being made at the medical center by utilizing components of VR, virtual reality, in four distinctive categories. The booth, which was free to participate in for the million-plus people passing through Discovery Green leading up to the big game, featured an artificial heart fly-through, a life-flight tour, Baylor smart pods (tours of Baylor’s medical clinics designed for remote areas), and robotic surgery.


Each of these unique experiences was brought to life in a custom-designed tent, crafted to feel bright and futuristic. To add to the challenge- the venue was a parking lot. Many obstacles in the creation of this otherworldly environment needed to be addressed and overcome, such as overheating mechanics and uneven ground surface.


High-tech solutions, such as providing custom cooling systems on the machinery, were paramount to the booth’s success. And Staging Solutions completed the whole experience—a project that could normally take up to five months—on a tight deadline: eight weeks.


Such quality of detail, performance, and problem-solving is imperative to creating a successful experiential marketing event. No detail, no matter how mammoth or microscopic, can be overlooked. At Staging Solutions, we humbly consider ourselves more than producers, directors, and designers. We are craftspeople and problem solvers, who thrive in the realms of bold creativity, technical production, and precise execution.