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NYC experietial marketing guide insights, ideas, and tactics

Ways to engage New Yorkers in neighborhoods where they live, shop, work and play 

How to share your story, build community, and generate content throughout NYC

Transform people into customers and advocates with real-world experiences 

Connect with New Yorkers in an authentic ways to build brand cred

Measure experiential marketing impact with impressions, engagement, and sales


New York City experiential marketing strategies

1. Street Teams

With so many people walking from place-to-place in New York City, street teams are an essential tactic.

You can engage with tens of thousands of people daily during their morning commute, in weekend shopping districts, on their way to events, near city parks, and in nightlife districts.

The street team marketing approach in NYC is excellent for light touch engagements like product sampling, flash mob performances, and brand activism.


2.) Pop Up Experiences

Activate popup, experiential marketing throughout New York City for more immersive, engaging brand activations.

Whether it's a storefront, pushcartvehicle, or installation popups provide opportunities to attract and engage New Yorkers.

Popups are the ideal platform for showcasing how your brand makes a difference in their daily lives.

Smart brands leverage their popups activations before, during, and after via social media, influencers, and public relations.


3.) Local Event Marketing

Festivals, conferences, and community events are a big part of New York City's culture.

Local events provide opportunities to sponsor and/or host an onsite brand marketing activation.

They range from 5K races to cultural celebrations to food festivals, so the first step is to assess which events are attended by the people you'd like to connect with.

From there, one needs to design a local event brand activation that matches the event while achieving your goals.

The best local events benefit a cause or culture people care about as making New York City a better, more exciting place.

It is the right to do and pays dividends in terms of brand appreciation and loyalty. 


4.) Guerilla Marketing

New Yorkers love a creative guerrilla marketing stunt, particularly ones that directly connect to their city culture.

Brands select New York City for guerilla marketing activations as it is the center of fashion, finance, arts, and cultural trends.

Plus, activating on the streets of New York is instantly recognizable to those who view the guerilla stunt on social media.

One strategic approach for guerilla marketing initiatives is to align them with nationally watched events like NYFW and US Open.

Ensure to bring your A-game as New Yorkers expect guerilla marketing stunts to be original, relevant, experiential, and sharable. 


5.) Food Truck Marketing

Lunchtime is a lay-up for brands to engage New Yorkers during weekdays.

Particularly useful if your brand targets downtown creative industry professionals, finance types in Midtown, or media professionals in Chelsea.

Who doesn't like an unexpectedly pleasant surprise at a food truck compliments of a brand.

Food trucks are often adorned with brand visuals to acting as a mobile billboard in the middle of the city, gaining upwards of 20,000 impressions per day.

They are also often deployed for store opening and as part of larger brand activations.


6.) Culture Collabs 

What makes New York City attractive to people and brands is its abundance of cultural creators and their impact on city culture.

Whether it is a street art gallery on Lower East Side or an indie fashion brand in Williamsburg, they are what makes the city beloved and provide an opportunity for brand collaborations.

These types of brand partnerships provide supremely credible, influential, and wide-ranging outcomes.

Creative collaborations take the form of sponsorships, onsite activations, workshops, gallery shows, product releases, and a multitude of other approaches.

Matching your brand with the right partners is essential and supporting creators to move city culture forward. 


7.) Sports Fan Marketing

If your brand doesn't have millions of dollars for a professional sports team sponsorship, never fear as sports fan marketing is here.

Love for hometown teams like Yankees, Knicks, and Giants runs deep in people's lives.

Tap into the game anticipation and celebration with street teams.

The easiest way to do this is to greet fans on their way to the game with a welcoming brand sample, activity, or performance.

While you can't officially use team names in your marketing materials, everyone knows what you're talking about when you cite 'the big game'.


8.) Street Mural and Wild Posting

Street murals and wild postings are generally considered "advertising" and not experiential.

Although, if conceived with the intention of on-the-street interaction, then it is an experience.

An example of this is a poster that invites people to draw on it to a mural designed for Instagram selfies in mind.

Brand-sponsored street murals are often Williamsburg or Bushwick, Brooklyn, while wild postings are part of streetscape citywide. 



More on experiential marketing in NYC

New York City is the most incredible city to build a brand with real-world marketing experiences.

Hundreds of thousands of people walk around the city daily, creating unlimited experiential marketing opportunities.

Neighborhood-specific targeting allows you to connect with desired New Yorkers.

It's a rich and diverse place for exploration and encounters; people welcome engaging brand activations.

Brands need to aim high as New Yorkers are savvy and expect original, creative, and stimulating experiences.

Making a big impact in New York City, and it'll resonate nationwide.



Why work with ALT TERRAIN?

Tap 15+ years of New York City experiential marketing insights, ideas, strategies, and tactics to elevate your brand.

Select activation-ready or custom real-world marketing solutions, proven effective in NYC.

Share your desired audience, brand narrative, timing, and goals.  And, you'll receive a complimentary, strategic proposal within 3 days.

If you have specific brand marketing ideas, we'd love to advise on how best to bring them to life.

Our New York City office is located at Industry City in Brooklyn (237 36th St, Brooklyn, NY 11232 inside Camp David).

The ALT TERRAIN warehouse, for all your marketing fulfillment needs, is located in Manhattan (541 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001).

To kick off the conversation walk on over to We're Here To Help


New York City experiential marketing FAQ

It depends on the brand strategy and goals, although a one-month experiential marketing initiative in New York City is often $50,000 to $500,000 range.

If you activate at festivals, parks, and events, the permissions can eat up much of your budget.

A on-the-street, creative, experiential marketing approach is the savvy way to engage most New Yorkers without a minimal budget.

Share your brand narrative, ideal audience, call-to-action, and goals for a complimentary real-world brand experience strategy proposal.

It takes anywhere from 30 to 90 days to produce an experiential marketing initiative in New York City.

Elaborate, custom build-out, productions take the most time, often 4 to 8 weeks.

Securing New York City permits is the second most consuming activity as it often involves 30 to 45 days from starting from the initial event permit application.

Note city permits are not needed for many street-level experiential marketing activations.

For a production lead-time for a specific concept, please get in touch for an estimate. 

Companies measure experiential marketing effectiveness and KIPs (key performance indicators) in many ways.

The most common are brand impression, engagements, brand lift, and direct sales.

Additional measurements quite often cited by brands are content creation, organic social media posts, newsletter sign-ups, influencer participation, and community growth.

The beauty of in-person brand marketing outdoors in New York City is that it often creates value for every one of the metrics above and many more.

If you want to activate in city parks or on pedestrian plazas, permits are most certainly required.

Additionally, if you'd like to set up a booth, table, or a temporary structure on public sidewalks, permits are required.

Street teams and many forms of guerrilla marketing do not require city permits as it is allowed under free speech laws.

There are ordinances and laws to act within, ranging from blocking pedestrian sidewalk access to sampling unpackaged food items in public to sizeable outdoor gathering limits.

To discuss about what does and doesn't require city permission just connect with us.


Yes and no.

When activating at festivals or on private property (such as a popup shop), yes, you can sell your products directly to people.

Selling outdoor, on-the-street, is super restrictive as otherwise, everyone would be doing it.

There are exceptions, such as securing a one-time event vending license, although they are challenging to secure and costly.

Most companies showcase their brands, offer samples or free trials, and provide people with a unique promo code for incentivize purchases.

For more insights on how increase your sales with experiential marketing, head on over to Connect.

Sharing with people how your brand makes their lives a better coverts people into customers more effectively than any other medium.

Although when compared to digital marketing platforms (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, etc.), experiential marketing may have a higher cost per acquisition (CPA).

We see companies view experiential marketing as an integral element of the marketing mix, contributing to awareness, content, community, narrative, and a way to acquire new customers.

If you have specific key performance indicators or goals you'd like to meet with real-world experiences, please set a time to chat.