Experience Marketing — A Physical Way to Market in a Digital World

Creating an effective physical marketing strategy is hard — in fact really hard. With digital marketing continuing to take over, experience marketing might be a new way to attack the physical market.

If you are stuck and don’t know how to tap into the fastest growing market segment, stress no more. Here’s your solution — experience marketing.

What is Experience Marketing?

Experience Marketing is using the idea that every interaction with a brand needs to be a positive one. The goal is to create a bond and interest in the brand by putting you in a memorable and fun experience.

This does not have to be some extravagant aesthetically pleasing museum — like the ones popping up all over NYC. But, it does need to create a buzz and be seen as cool, fun, or interesting.

A cool example of experience marketing was in 2016 when the Forbidden Planet partnered with Sony UK and unveiled their Ghostbuster themed pop-up at Waterloo Station in London. Using the iconic “Stay Puft” Marshmellow man emerging from the ground in a London Subway Station. They had a pop-up store right next door that sold merch, but what drew people in was this creative feature.

What Makes this Work?

Think about this for a second; would you feel more positive emotions towards a brand who targeted you in a FB ad, or with a brand standing out in your community with a fun experience that creates lasting memories?

That should be a no-brainer, I hope.

When people walk down a street and see something new, or something unusual, their interest is at an all-time high. They want to check it out, see what it is, and if it is cool enough — they become new fans and ambassadors without even knowing it.

Using the Forbidden Planet example, people in the London subway weren’t expecting to see something cool like that, so they are going to check it out, take pictures with it, and post it on Instagram or Facebook. Just like that, they are promoting your brand for you.

Their peers see their friends having fun at your cool experience and want to go — and post about it too.

This event, experience, or feature, creates a massive positive touch point for everyone who passed by and engaged with it.

A week or two later, when they are targeted with an effective ad they are going to be much more likely to consider since they already know your brand, and have a positive image and emotion associated with you.

Quality Examples

While the Forbidden Planet had a great idea of using an event as a type of experience marketing, not all types have to be an event. The makeup giant Glossier started as a blog, then turned into a make-up giant that just opened their flagship store in NYC. Their store is nothing of the usual, though.

Glossier just used their store to prove you can use experience marketing all the time. They chose to make their store the experience, having life-sized lipstick containers among other attractions. Their products come out on conveyor belts and just add to their goal of wowing the customer into becoming a fan.

It doesn’t have to be huge either.

In Under Armour’s Chicago store, they have an attraction that allows the customer to complete a set of athletic tasks and try to win prizes and top the rankings.


One of the main goals behind any experience based marketing strategy is utilizing the customer to create exposure for you.

Glossier has these huge attractions and props, people come in and take pictures and enjoy the experience, and then post about how cool it is on social media.

Since Glossier chose to make this a stable part of their brand image, people can come and see the attraction year-round, their store even attracts tourists and makeup enthusiasts to come to promote their experience.


The goal of experience marketing is to create an event, experience, or prop that will create interest and draw people in closer. Once that initial interest is drawn, the goal is to prompt the customer to promote the experience on social media.

Creating positive touch points for your brand is essential, and a stellar experience can create life-long impressions and even get the customer to associate emotion to your brand or experience.

While most brands and companies are focusing on how to stand out digitally, it is quite necessary to consider using experience marketing to stand out physically.

Product Designer at CBS Sports | Passionate about designing and building delightful experiences | DM me on Twitter — @jnelly2

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