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Why You Need Experiential Marketing at Global Shows

This year’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) just wrapped up and showcased the latest in new vehicles and technology to over 815,000 visitors. The NAIAS is a prime example of a global stage for marketers to reach their audience in new and innovative ways.

Despite the opportunities available to leverage new products, shows like the NAIAS also pose many challenges to marketers. The best way to cut through the noise and make a lasting impression is with experiential marketing.

Let’s take a closer look at why you should consider experiential marketing for global events like the auto show:

Promotes Actual Customer Interactions

When promoting a product or brand at shows like NAIAS, interactive elements should be incorporated whenever possible. Interactive displays are an effective way to engage customers and are quickly becoming the norm thanks to advanced digital capabilities.

A few ways to promote interactions and create audience-driven marketing experiences with displays include: social media photo booths, on-site Instagram printing, touch screens, and hashtag giveaways.

Companies fly in from all over the world with event teams for the NAIAS to spearhead customer experiences that place brands in a new light. Interactive displays keep customers from feeling “sold” into participation. Instead, customers feel enticed to explore displays at their leisure.

Global shows like the NAIAS can also present opportunities to capture targeted audiences for industries outside of automotive. This year, Delta created a replica of its Sky Club lounge in the actual auto show. By utilizing out-of-home assets within the lounge and at the entrance of the space, show-goers were drawn to participate in the experience and share with others via social media. While Delta is clearly not an automotive manufacturer, the airline took advantage of the opportunity to reach business executives by providing an inviting space.

Capitalizes Customer Engagement with Memorable Experiences

Experiential marketing is an opportunity to create memorable experiences with customers on a grassroots level. At Brooklyn Outdoor, for example, we launched a campaign with Sprint by creating a moveable asset that traveled to festivals across the Midwest. The moveable asset created an environment for festival patrons to feel drawn to interact with the brand on their own by leveraging a photo booth, offering a custom-built interactive speed test game with giveaways for winners, and providing an escape from the sun on a summer day.

With the addition of display communities like this year’s AutoMobiliD, which addressed the importance of technology and autonomous vehicles, experiential marketing continues to grow as brands seek unique ways to leave a lasting impression.

Maximizes Exposure with Outdoor Advertising

Experiential marketing can also make a splash through outdoor advertising. Outdoor advertising is the most effective way to maximize exposure outside of the actual show. In the months leading up to the NAIAS, the world’s top executives and suppliers in the automotive and tech industries travel throughout Detroit. Their frequent trips preparing for the show provide an optimum opportunity to capture a target demographic.

To truly create a holistic experiential marketing experience, outdoor advertising and large wallscape displays cannot be left out of the media planning mix. Long gone are the days where standard billboards by the airport will suffice. Large-scale displays that use the very buildings and structures making up the urban landscape should be used instead.

The auto show is ripe for creating new interactions with audiences. Experiential marketing is the best way to maximize those interactions and make brands impossible to ignore. We’ll continue to see new tactics in experiential marketing such as the ones discussed with outdoor advertising, customer engagement, and interactive displays. With already less than a year until the 2018 show, now is the time to start putting an experiential marketing plan in place.

About the Author: Candice Simons is the CEO and Founder of Brooklyn Outdoor, a regional and national force in the outdoor advertising industry, with satellite offices and full-time sales representatives in Detroit, New York, and Los Angeles.