Review of virtual events and doorstep experiences as experiential marketing during the pandemic.

Michelle Collins, founder and president of A Non-Agency identifies experiential marketing as a form of dating that hopefully manifests into a lasting relationship. Chemistry is at the heart of the spark that attracts people, and while some say it’s inexplicable, we in experiential marketing know that it is our job to create the spark.

But how do you create that spark in the middle of pandemic when immersive tactics like events, sampling, and face-to-face experiences are now seen as unsafe? The lack of face-to-face opportunities doesn’t make experiential useless, it’s just the physical execution is temporarily off limits.

Virtual Events

Many have turned to virtual events to try and create any sense of normalcy. Once an afterthought and seen as a way to include someone who couldn’t attend in person, virtual events are now being looked at with the same attention to detail as a physical experience, they’re just at home. Whether it be a group of family and friends gathering over zoom to play a game, wish someone happy birthday or watch their friends get married, everyone has adjusted. But it won’t last forever as we miss human interaction and connections.

Doorstep Experiences

Some brands are going one step further and creating ‘doorstep experiences’ as a way to interact with and move consumers away from more screen time. Whether it’s through partnering with existing home delivery services or creating their own, they are sending out custom sample packs to be enjoyed at home. This allows consumers to create their own brand experience and share on their social platforms, turning themselves into influencers. Millennials and Gen Zers, in particular, are gravitating towards sharing more meaningful content that reflects their values, hence the rise of TikTok over other social platforms.

This may be our ‘new normal’ for now, but it won’t be forever. As marketers, it is allowing us a reason to reset and focus on what matters most to consumers. Our world has forever changed, consumers will be looking for authenticity from brands that put them first and create an emotional connection with safety at the forefront.