Does Experiential Marketing Work for the Self Storage Industry?

You’re casually strolling down the street in Austin, Texas when you spy a small white party tent. Your curiosity is piqued when you see people outside the tent holding cupcakes. You cross the street and find that Google is giving away free cupcakes. To get the freebie, however, you have to share a picture using their new photo app. Sounds good, right? But wait, there’s more.

Zappos has a huge box set up right next to Google’s tent and they’re giving away free shoes, watches, and other goodies. To take advantage of these giveaways requires a simple, one-time donation of – you guessed it – a cupcake. Talk about brilliant experiential marketing. These two companies worked in tandem to gain plenty of exposure and lots of new customers.

This is an example of product-based experiential marketing at its finest. Two top brands promoting each other. They created thousands of impressions and future customers with this strategy. How, then, can you make this technique work the same way for your self storage business?

What is Experiential Marketing and How Can I Make it Work for Self Storage?

Experiential marketing, also known as engagement marketing, is a marketing strategy that immerses or deeply engages customers in a product or service. It’s typically done with products, but service-based companies can also make good use of experiential marketing. 

The goal is to establish an emotional connection between the consumer and the brand by creating a positive association. If you’re a product-based company, it’s easy to give out samples of your brand. Food and beverage companies do it all the time at grocery stores and pop-up shops.

Many of the same strategies that are used by product-based companies can be modified for use by self-storage businesses as well. All you need is a good marketing company to guide your marketing efforts. Following are some good examples of how experiential marketing can work for self storage.

Host Community Events

Get the word out to school districts that you’re hosting an arts and crafts day for kids.  Parents love having a free activity to keep their kids occupied for a few hours on the weekend. Include several different “stations” with simple crafts. Employees and volunteers can guide the kids in making a cute craft that they can take home. While the kids are creating, staff members can be giving the parents a tour of the facility. Have coffee, soft drinks, and maybe a few snacks available, along with flyers outlining your security features. When the attendees need storage, your facility will be at the top of their list.

Special events can be holiday or charity-themed. You can host “make your own Christmas tree ornament” or “Easter egg” days. You can host a toy, food, or back-to-school supply drive where prospective customers receive a month’s free storage for a donation. School-age children can volunteer to help sort donations. 

Host College Events

If your self storage facility is located in or near a college town, you have plenty of opportunities for experiential marketing.

Look for prospects in the right places. Students gather at sporting events, tailgates, and student hangouts. Set up tables at these events with giveaways that college kids love: gift cards to local restaurants and the college bookstore, baskets of free snacks, and discounts on upcoming live concerts. Team up with a local coffee shop that is also looking for marketing opportunities to have hot coffee available during midterm and finals week.

Attend Local Conferences and Networking Events

Look for local conferences and networking events. Do what all the product-based companies are doing and use handouts: pens, silicone wine glasses, or key chains. 

Set up a photo booth that looks like a self-storage unit. Equip it with an interactive size guide that will help consumers determine the best size unit for their future self storage needs. This is fun and informative.

Collaborate with some of the other vendors at the event to create a scavenger hunt. Provide gift baskets as prizes, and be sure to include discount cards to everyone’s services in the basket. This is a great way to get people involved.


Experiential marketing, though typically used for product-based companies, can work for service-based companies as well. It’s an ideal way to build brand loyalty and meaningful connections with consumers by making good impressions and having fun along the way.