There is a difference between telling people about a product or service and allowing them to experience and discover their benefits. Experiential marketing is a relatively new marketing method that is rapidly gaining momentum because it manages to ‘push the right buttons’ in consumers. As a holistic concept that arouses all senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell), it appeals to the feelings of potential customers and so succeeds in conquering the rationale, which so many times is crucial in putting up resistance and preventing a purchase.
Why Should You Embrace Experiential Marketing?
The abundance and overuse of conventional media channels have led to a decrease in the effectiveness of traditional marketing approaches. Consumers record a TV program to avoid watching ads, block banners on the Internet and ignore the copious marketing messages they are exposed to on a daily basis. Experiential marketing, on the other hand, creates a dialog with consumers that cannot be ignored because it speaks to each one of them individually.
Would you be able to ignore a tempting offer to go on a luxury vacation if you only click Like? Or a cute clown that offers you chocolate if you read an ad? Most probably not! The same applies to your customers. Experiential marketing is the most effective tool to differentiate yourself, grab your customer’s attention, raise more awareness to your brand, inspire loyalty to it and increase your sales. As opposed to mass advertising campaigns that generally appeal to wider target populations, experiential marketing connects with customers at a much more personal level, emotionally engaging them. As such, it enables you to communicate better with your consumers, have an impact on their loyalty to the brand, influence their purchasing decisions and improve conversion ratios – all at relatively low costs.
Studies have shown that multisensory experience encourages interaction with products and services, drives people to try products, and even allows changing the minds of unsatisfied customers. Experiential marketing also helps segment your target audiences more effectively, building ongoing relationships with them, reinforcing your marketing messages, increasing your return on the investment, and mobilizing your company’s employees to achieve your business goals.
Appealing to All the Senses Using All Marketing Channels
The experiential marketing concept maintains that consumers buy an experience, not just a product or service. Therefore, you have to arouse an emotional response among your customers that is not only rational. You must provide information in an experiential and captivating manner that ‘speaks’ to all the senses. Since consumers are exposed, connect and respond to a brand using their senses, concrete experiences arouse in them a passion for it, enabling them to ‘collect’ experiences and memories, reinforcing their bond with the brand, product and/or service, and driving them to recommend it to others.
With experiential marketing you can reach several marketing goals, provided you define in advance what you want your customers to feel about your brand and how you can arouse that feeling in them.
You can create a multisensory sensation among your consumers, arousing high levels of readiness and curiosity not only at business conferences, where they are more prone to listen and absorb messages. You can put experiential marketing to work over any media or format, including social networks, the Internet, email and promotional campaigns, and more. Instead of presenting your product, service or brand in a reactive manner, experiential marketing offers consumers a quality user experience that encourages them to participate in the campaign on the different media.
To proactively accomplish this, you should take some actions:
- Define your target audience
- Select the best methods for interacting with your target audience
- Plan your marketing message accordingly
- Link your marketing activities to a broader marketing plan, strategy or campaign
- Choose the best location and setting (website, social media, newsletter, conference hall. or electronic mailing, to name just a few)
- Provide your employees with detailed information about the marketing program
By the same token, it is crucial to measure the results of your experiential marketing campaigns based on quantitative objectives such as desired number of leads, quality of data collected, amount of purchases or sales, increase in the level of loyalty among brand consumers, synergy with the marketing plan, and more.
Experiential marketing is an extremely powerful tool that should be used in every marketing campaign. To obtain optimum results, make sure that your marketing effort – whether a conference or social media campaign – is properly managed, focused, and that it integrates seamlessly into your company’s other marketing activities.
If you do it right, you will develop great ambassadors for your brand. They will deliver your marketing message and recommend your product virally, becoming loyal customers in the process.