The Rise of Experiential Marketing in Financial Services

The Rise of Experiential Marketing in Financial Services

As content marketers working in the financial services industry, we need to stay on top of the many marketing changes happening in our industry, and in others.

One of the big changes taking place outside financial services is the rise of experiential marketing. Let’s explore experiential marketing: what it is, what one company has done very well as well as taking a look at what a financial services firm could do.

What is experiential marketing?

Sometimes it’s called engagement marketing or participation marketing, and there’s a good reason for that. Experiential marketing is a very hands-on approach to marketing. It takes place right in front of the consumer – on a street corner, at an event or anywhere consumers might be. But it’s not the same as giving away samples in front of a train station. Experiential marketing is interactive and provides a real experience between the consumer and the brand.

To get a better idea of what this means, let’s look at an example from the retail industry.

The Molson Canadian global beer fridge

There’s a good chance you’ve seen these commercials. A crowd of Canadians gather in a public space, drawn in by the sight of a Molson Canadian beer fridge. They’re looking confused and wondering what this beer fridge is doing in this particular space. After all, it’s a spot they’ve likely walked by many times before – and there’s never been a beer fridge there before.

As members of the crowd chat with each other, they slowly realize that the fridge is waiting for people to say “I am Canadian” in different languages. Working as a group, the crowd finds many people who speak different languages, and each steps forward to say “I am Canadian” in their own way. After the 10th language is spoken, the beer fridge open, and it’s free beer for everyone! (Adults only, of course.)

Not surprisingly, the crowd cheers and looks genuinely excited. Although we weren’t there personally, we’d be willing to bet that nobody in that crowd will ever forget that experience. And that, right there, is the definition of experiential marketing.

And for the rest of us witnessing the magic through commercials only? We didn’t have the same hands-on experience, but this is still a memorable campaign. We didn’t get free beer, but we certainly get the message about living in a wonderfully multi-cultural society.

The lesson for financial services

As a financial services marketer, the information you provide to customers is important. But for it to have a real impact, it also has to be memorable. Set aside the brochures and product information sheets for a moment and think about how you can create a real experience for your customers – an experience they’re not likely to forget any time soon.

One idea could be to go to an event where you know investors will be and set up a gaming station. Invite investors to play a game where they can choose different financial paths and see how their choices affect their future. For example, a player who hasn’t started saving for retirement can choose an amount to start saving now or to put off saving for 10 years so they can focus on eliminating their debt. They could choose to spend their tax refund on a vacation or on an extra mortgage payment. They could choose, for example, to prioritize retirement savings over saving for a child’s education.

With each path chosen, the player should be able to see the impact of their choices and what might happen if they made a different choice. The reward for playing could be something that ties into the game, like a complimentary session with a financial planner.

Keep in mind that many people like to keep their financial lives private. You may want to skip the crowd aspect of the Molson Canadian beer fridge campaign and create an experience that engages customers one-on-one.

Andrew Broadhead
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Andrew Broadhead is Communications Manager at Ext. Marketing Inc., where he creates content that helps financial services firms engage their customers and prospects. Andrew’ ... Click for full bio

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week (February 20-24)

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week (February 20-24)

Here’s a look at the Top 11 Most Viewed Articles of the Week on, February 20-24, 2017 

Click the headline to read the full article.


1. Cyborgs Are the Future for Advisors

Becoming cyborgs is the way to go for financial advisers…blending robotics and humans into one organism. You see, I am convinced that robo-advice models will succeed and prosper. — Tony Vidler

2. Building a Better Index With Strategic Beta

With the global economy warming up, but political uncertainty remaining a constant, it’s more important than ever for investors to position their global portfolios to navigate long-term market volatility. That’s where the power of diversification comes in ... — Yazann Romahi

3. Reinvigorate Your Financial Life With Laser Focus on Market Risk and Shortfall Risk

The financial world is noisy and it’s easy to become distracted from your most important long-term goals. One way to cut through the noise is to focus on just the two factors that ultimately determine your approach to everything else in your financial life; namely, Market Risk and Shortfall Risk. — James E. Wilson

4. When it Comes to Your Money, Does the Truth Hurt?

It’s important to admit the truth behind our actions in order to rectify past and future mistakes or regrets. Living in denial only perpetuates making decisions that could potentially lead to financial disaster. — Michael Kay

5. A Skill for Advisors to Master to Keep Clients for Life

There's one key approach that makes you invaluable to your clients so they want to stay with you for the long-term. You have to genuinely be interested in people. — Paul Kingsman

6. Relationships & Money: 6 Stories to Share With Your New Partner

When you start dating, you usually start off sharing stories. Tales of your childhood, your previous relationships and your college days. Those stories help explain to your partner who you are and how you act. — Mary Beth Storjohann

7. Great Leaders Don't Talk About Revenue

It runs counter-intuitive to what we have been led to believe business is all about: make more money and everybody wins, surely? Talk about revenue so that everyone knows what’s important. What’s the problem? — Barry Chandler

8. Trump's Tax Proposals Could Cost You (and What to do About It)

In the wake of President Donald Trump’s stunning upset victory, however, muni investors were forced to readjust their expectations of fiscal policy going forward. Because Trump had campaigned on deep cuts to corporate and personal income taxes, equities soared while munis sold off, ending a near-record 54 weeks of net inflows. — Frank Holmes

9. Sometimes Doing What’s Best for Customers Isn’t Always Going to Make Them Happy

What does it mean to be a customer-centric company? That seems to be the question of the week. It started off with one of our subscribers emailing in the question, followed by two reporters wanting my take on this now-popular phrase for their interviews. — Paul Laughlin

10. Why We Solve the Wrong Problems

Everywhere I look I see organizations and people investing heavily in new initiatives, transformation, and change programs. And in almost every case the goals will never be met. One of the most crucial causes of the failure? The right questions were never asked at the outset. — Paul Taylor

11. Private Equity Head Tapped to “Fix” US Intelligence Apparatus. Why?

Why should we think the head of a private equity company could effectively “fix” US Intelligence? It is not apparent that this individual is even remotely qualified to fix the US intelligence apparatus. — Kathleen McBride​​​​​​​

Douglas Heikkinen
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IRIS Founder and Producer of Perspective—a personal look at the industry, and notables who share what they’ve learned, regretted, won, lost and what continues to ... Click for full bio