Everything you need to know about pop-up marketing

In the age of digital, physical marketing tactics still matter. In fact, they matter more now than ever before. Our world of tweets, likes, and shares has resulted in unprecedented physical and emotional isolation. Face-to-face marketing initiatives drive engagement and demonstrate measurable value with new and loyal consumers alike.

While a variety of event-oriented strategies can help brands build awareness and boost revenue, many organizations are enjoying the ROI boost of pop-up marketing. Read on to discover why this trend is taking the marketing sphere by storm.

Living in World Filled with Pop-Ups

Once regarded as a short-term trend, pop-up marketing is increasingly viewed as a valuable marketing element that can serve as a key piece – and in some cases the cornerstone – of a brand’s overarching marketing strategy. Its name implies a brief and purposefully limited effort — and to some extent, this is accurate.

Pop-up events typically involve temporary storefronts and/or public footprints, which may last anywhere from a few hours to a few months. As a broader approach, however, the concept is not nearly as transient. Brands are building pop-ups to serve a variety of marketing functions. As with most brands that successfully practice experiential marketing, pop-up and other brand activations are a regular occurrence in the ever-turning flywheel of consumer engagement.

What Does Pop-Up Marketing Hope to Accomplish?

Strategic objectives vary from one pop-up to the next. It is this versatility which lies at the heart of pop-up marketing’s rising popularity. The following are among the most common goals associated with this approach:

Test new concepts

Many of the most successful pop-up initiatives are experimental in nature. Whether a CPG brand wants to test new product flavors, or a tech brand wants to trial a platform before a full release, pop-up marketing mitigates risk. With pop-up marketing campaigns, companies gather critical consumer feedback and data so they can better assess their impact first-hand.

Generate content

Pop-up marketing is a rich environment for content capture, both on the brand and consumer side. Brands can design experiential elements that encourage capture and sharing, such as photo/video ops, contests, art collaborations, testimonial booths, and so much more. When this content is shared, the pop-up activation not only reaches new audiences. This online element of the event creates an opportunity for brands to capitalize on the positive punch of the activation and nurture online consumer communities. And in most cases, the content, which in large part is user-generated, comes at no additional cost to the brand.

Engage new audiences

Expanding your marketing scope to target a new audience poses a variety of challenges. Brands that already successfully attract certain demographics may test the viability of their appeal and reach via pop-up marketing campaigns. In some cases, brands use pop-ups as a low-risk option for re-positioning.

With the right location and message, brands can build upon their current public perception to expand their reach to attract new types of customers. Frito-Lay accomplished this in 2017 with a Cheetos pop-up event targeted at Tribeca’s foodie community. The goal? To establish Cheetos as a versatile ingredient capable of being incorporated into a variety of trendy and upscale recipes.

Pop-up initiatives may also form the basis of regional expansions for brands looking to grow beyond their current geographic niche. Likewise, brands primarily based online can look to pop-up shops to begin a transition to incorporating a physical retail element.

Pop-up marketing tactics

Keep customers coming back through surprise and delight

Pop-ups may seem like limited-time marketing efforts, but they can have a huge impact on brands’ long-term success. Today, few brands are content (or successful) to merely generate initial awareness among target customers. Today’s consumers aren’t merely on the hunt for a good deal; they expect memorable experiences that surprise and delight them. Hence, the newfound inclusion of these tactic in the modern sales funnel, which used to begin with awareness and end with conversion. Now, as mentioned earlier, this funnel is no longer linear, but circular.

In the modern marketplace, it is essential to keep consumers interested and invested, especially as they are targeted by competing messages. Pop-ups can contain an element of surprise and delight that initiates an emotional response that is necessary in today’s competitive market. A memorable brand experience reminds existing consumers what, exactly, they love about a given company the first place.

Seize seasonal opportunities

Pop-up shops’ temporary nature makes them well-suited to combat or enhance seasonality, including during the holidays. Organizations lacking the resources necessary for traditional storefronts can achieve major sales boosts when they’re needed most, all while cutting back on leasing and staffing costs. Pop-ups also allow brands to focus on moving those seasonal products, which deliver substantial ROI if sold promptly and at a high volume.

Drive urgency

Whether staged during the holidays or at other times of the year, pop-up marketing campaigns drive a sense of consumer urgency typically relegated to major sales events. Aware of the temporary nature of the pop-up, consumers may be less inclined to procrastinate on purchases, as they might if they suspect that products will remain available indefinitely.

The Future of Pop-Up Marketing

The pop-up revolution is just beginning. In the near future, we expect to see even more brands utilize this strategy, which can be lucrative both financially and in terms of brand value. Pop-up shops will become especially commonplace for digitally based brands, which can harness the benefits of in-person interaction without taking on the costs associated with permanent storefronts.

The pop-up trends of tomorrow will be driven not only by the increased prevalence of this strategy, but also by the integration of emerging technological advancements. Artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT), in particular, promise to continue to take pop-up marketing campaigns in new and exciting directions. Already, many pop-up experiences are customized based on the preferences of individual consumers, who are more likely to respond to tailored efforts. Pop-up marketing also holds a strong future in the retail sector—and we’re excited to witness this revolution.

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Are you interested in harnessing the benefits of pop-up shop marketing—but not quite sure where to start? Our pop-up ebook provides greater insight into the power of pop-up shops and experiential marketing.