A New Experiential Commerce Model is Delivering for Tier 1 Brands

Consumers can now engage brands from their devices, from their homes, at live events, on their webcams—from anywhere. Whether they’re signing up for recipe inspirations, leveraging an order-on-the-go feature or sharing messages live, transactions can now occur anytime and anywhere for a legion of experiential marketing departments shifting to a new Experiential Commerce blueprint.

The goal of experiential marketing has always been to generate an impact on brand, but driving a measurable transaction has often been a challenge. How we are defining and measuring value has undergone an extreme makeover. A growing number of brands are embracing “Experiential Commerce,” an update to the traditional experiential marketing model that restructures traditional brand channels into a “brand orbit of experiences” that more effectively drive transaction-based, quality relationships with consumers, resulting in stronger marketing campaigns and ultimately, a more engineered path to purchase.

“The last few years have forced us to question everything—and when you question everything you start to realize that there are new ways of working. Things that used to be tertiary are now central,” says Jeff Rogers, President at leading Experiential Commerce agency Salt XC. “When it comes to getting the attention of a consumer, we now know there are more levers brands can pull to reach them. And being able to literally integrate all those levers is where the magic happens.”

Experiential Commerce is poised to meet the demands of consumers and brands who have adopted new behaviors and missions. Let’s explore the evolution that is starting a revolution.



Experiential marketers have always believed that the experience could and should live at the center of the marketing ecosystem. And with Experiential Commerce, it must. But critical to embracing this framework is defining quantifiable and revenue-connecting actions for brands.



The purchase of a product in-person. (A transaction in the literal sense.)
Having consumers sign up for a loyalty program. (Cultivating first-party data.)
Driving downloads of an app. (To pull potential customers into your “orbit.”)

The Experiential Commerce model focuses on how to drive consumer action that results in value-based actions, like the ones mentioned above. To do this, marketers need to shift their focus from a few messages that are designed around one or two audience archetypes to reaching hundreds of consumer profiles with custom communications that can be optimized in real time.

This same philosophy can be applied to physical experiences as well as online, changing how we plan traditional experiential marketing events.

“While too many marketers still focus on driving awareness and hoping it translates to consideration and a purchase, brands can now engineer campaigns to generate quantifiable value,” says Jil Lohnes, VP at Salt XC. “There’s less hoping and more certainty. The next great marketing campaigns are going to redefine the end goal, expand their view and how they reach their target audience and adjust the speed as to which they activate and evolve in-market experiences.”



Think “seamless experiences” and quick service brand Starbucks immediately comes to mind. Order-ahead apps allow consumers to seamlessly pay for products (without their wallets) and receive targeted incentives or messages based on their location or purchase history. With the app at its core, Starbucks has the power to micro-segment its audiences and activate with custom communication to yield a better return, both online and offline.

Retail brand Nike, which has made bolds moves into the e-commerce space, is a data machine. Even if you look at Instagram alone, the brand has amassed a huge following through incredible, relevant and engaging content. With these audiences “tuned in” to the brand, Nike can now convert at a much more cost-effective rate than always recruiting new users into the top of the funnel. The transaction potential derived from the data and engagement is enormous.



Marketing departments are being charged with driving “growth” for the overall business. At the same time, traditional marketing channels have gotten more complex and less effective when used on their own. It’s more important than ever with budget dollars being pulled in all directions, that the creators of brand experience use a model designed to drive the bottom line.

Experiential marketers have embraced the lessons of the pandemic’s digital revolution, burned their 2019 playbooks, and set out on missions to design what an offline-online approach means for their programs. But it all starts with reimagining those traditional marketing channels into a brand orbit strategy—and embracing Experiential Commerce as the new model to deliver.


To learn more about Salt XC, click here.

Image credits: iStock/Visual Generation; fitie

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