In another lifetime in Philadelphia, I once marketed myself as RonEXP. Never heard of me? No worries. Neither did most of the people I worked with. Obviously, I didn’t blow up in the marketing business, but I did give it one hell of a try.
In cities across the nation, such as the City of Brotherly Love – better known as Philadelphia, global corporations spend millions of dollars putting their products in front of consumers. If you go to a local fair or the supermarket, you’ll more than likely cross paths with a promo model.
Typically, they’ll try to extol the virtues of their product of the day. Consumer reactions range from giving promo models the vampire cross to showing extreme interest in whatever good a model or spokesperson is hocking.
What many people don’t think about is what happens behind the scenes. Lessons are learned, information is shared and bonds are formed between the people who work hard every day to drive face-to-face branding.
This business is called experiential marketing. Sometimes, it’s the only way to reach young buyers who can tune out advertisers with the push of a button.
What In the Heck Is Experiential Marketing?
Today, consumers are smart, opinionated and empowered. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get their attention. This fact alone is why many brands turn to experiential marketing.
Experiential marketing is a live, immersive engagement. The idea is to create a positive, memorable experience for consumers that will turn them into loyal buyers.
However, there is no standard definition of experiential marketing. It can be anything.
First, it helps to understand that any live experience between a brand and consumers is experiential marketing. For instance, one day, you might see the Wienermobile driving down the street, and another day someone may hand you a coupon in the supermarket. Either way, you’ve just been exposed to experiential marketing.
Experiential marketing is a powerful way for brands to engage consumers. It’s sometimes called live marketing or event marketing. The marketing practice involves creating memorable experiences – both on- and off-line. You may see a live marketing event – also called an activation – in a fixed structure or in a tent that’s only there for the day.
Friends That I Found Along the Way
During my experience as an experiential marketing professional, I worked with amazing brands. I couldn’t believe that I got to work with international behemoths, such as Octagon, GMR and PUSH Models. Well, I didn’t actually work with PUSH, but I was still proud that I made it into their database.
I met some of the best people in the world in Philadelphia, such as Daniel, Cee, Gia, Nancy, Norma and Nathaniel. Some of these individuals are still my friends to this day, and a couple have even been there for some of the toughest times in my life.
The point is that working in experiential marketing and getting to know some of the people from the city helped me become a part of the Philadelphia community. I’m no longer a Jersey native. Now, I’m a Philadelphian, and for that – I’ll be forever grateful.
Life in the Fast Lane
Behind experiential marketing events are promo models from a range of diverse backgrounds. Primarily, experiential events are staffed by models – or at least model hopefuls. Across the nation, hundreds of marketing agencies staff enthusiastic and experienced promotional professionals to work at exhibitions, events and trade shows.
From outside looking in, it may seem like promotional work is all about looking good. However, brands need marketing professionals who know what they’re talking about. Experiential marketing isn’t just about looks – it’s about intelligence. If you don’t have both, you might as well forget about it.
Typically, however, agencies tend to hire promo models who can relate to up-and-coming demographics. In other words, the people who are buying lots of goods and services, such as millennials and Gen Z.
The people who work at promotional events usually have an interest in business and marketing – and of course, making money. Promo models are go-getters. They enjoy representing brands and working with people.
Many promo models have degrees and are multilingual. Some are highly experienced and even work as professional print models or actors with high-end agencies. Despite their background, promo models drive customer demand for goods and services and brands across the United States.
So, the next time someone tries to hand you a coupon or sample, think twice before you throw up the vampire cross. They’re just trying to earn an honest living, and – hopefully – make you smile in the process. Besides, they might turn you on to the next good or service that will make your life better on a level that you never imagined.