Unlike Advertising, Experiential can’t be broken down into the more traditional elements – Brochures, billboards, newspapers, TV etc. Experiential Marketing is a little more ‘hands-on’. It is a cross-media promotional activity which encourages two way interaction between the consumer and the product. Rather than looking at consumers as passive receivers of marketing messages, the approach is to physically immerse the consumer in an experience activity with the product and thereby develop, or strengthen a relationship with the brand.
Or simply put, it is the art of “expressing a brand’s purpose and proposition through a real world consumer interaction.”
Within motor car industry the experiential marketing approach began to become more evident over more recent times as manufacturers appreciate that this provided the opportunity for them to build a much closer relationship with consumers in a way that ‘ticks the right boxes’. Delivered in the right way experiential interchanges communicate on a more personal level, generating a deeper level of emotional engagement, resulting in better conversion rates and stronger brand loyalty, all at relatively low cost.
SO WHY IS THERE A NEED TO CONSIDER EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING AS A CORE ELEMENT IN OUR MARKETING MIX?
Drop your “Company persona” and think on a “personal consumer” level – you as the customer, what captures your attention? What credence do you give to the messages delivered to you through TV or social media advertising? Do you even watch TV adverts, or do you schedule them out of your viewing?
Think of a salesperson who walks up to you in a car showroom. You tell him/her, “I’m okay, just looking”. But they remain close by, ready to step in and offer unsolicited advice, special offers and generally find ways to insert themselves into your activity, and become general annoyance. That’s what typical marketing feels like: intrusive and disruptive.
The constant saturation of conventional media channels has reduced the effectiveness of traditional promotional methods. Consumers are becoming immune to advertising, blocking or ignoring internet banner advertising, and failing to hear the constant bombardment of marketing messages that interfere with their real-time enjoyment. Experiential marketing, delivered in a manner that engages with the Guest on a personal level, at a time and location of their choice, is a fundamental change of approach and when delivered in such a manner as to leave the recipient feeling proud in what they have achieved, takes on an added factor and remains long in their memory becoming something worth sharing with their network friends through social media.
You will notice I have introduced the word Guest into the script here, in place of Customer, (a little guidance picked up from Pine and Gilmore’s “The Experience Economy”). The ways in which we interact with a Guest differs, albeit in a subtle way, to how we would interact with someone we look on as a ‘Customer’. So Guests it is!
HOW BEST CAN EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING BE USED?
Experiential marketing creates memories and builds relationships that last for the long term.
Possibly use the young girl slide (young girl holding hands with her mother, walking up a forest hill) Long after the event This young girl will remember this minor adventure, the time when she walked up that hill, she will recall that she was wearing her yellow Crocs and that they had to drive through some wooded trails to get there. She will also remember with fondness their Defender that her mother drove in getting them there. All emotion and sentiment, but carrying with it that essence of authenticity – the real thing.
Years later when looking for her next car, this will bring a smile of recollection and in a subtle way work as an influencer in the choices she makes.)
In the short term experiences have a real time effect in generating sales and leads, increasing product awareness and consideration, drive positive promotion from Guests through social media channels and can be a powerful means of informing and aligning internal teams with product capability and business goals. In short, it can be used successfully to:
• Build relationships
• Raise awareness of product feature and performance capability
• Increase loyalty
• Establish relevance
• Encourage interaction
• Create memories
• Stimulate positive social media
• Alter the mind-set of dissatisfied customers
• Create product desire
• Increase return on marketing investment
WHEN EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING EVENTS WORK BEST?
• When there is absolutely no sales pressure on the Guest and the whole event is tailored to maximise their learning and enjoyment.
• When the aesthetics of delivery of the experience are in an attractive and relaxing setting. The location for the excitement of the experience.
• When the delivery team are knowledgeable, engaging and personal.
• When Guests are pre-qualified prior to the experience to permit the event delivery team to make minor adjustments/refinements to the programme so as to maximise relevance to the Guest and deliver it an appropriate ‘bespoke’ manner.
• When the experience is focused upon Guest learning and product capability.
• When it is part of an integrated marketing campaign.
• When the right customer groups are accurately targeted.
ESTABLISH OBJECTIVES AND GOALS
Experiential marketing can be used to satisfy many marketing requirements, but the best campaigns have more tightly defined goals.
• Which consumer groups do you want to target?
• What is the best method of interacting with these customers?
• What is the best location and environment?
• How will the events integrate into other marketing programmes? Adventure Travel, Child Driving etc.
MEASUREMENT OF SUCCESS
Be obsessed – no experiential activity should be put into place without a clear purpose for what it is intended to achieve and some evaluation and reporting of performance. It is not simply finding the best venue or maximising the number of attendees. A sensible business plan needs to be put into play to address the desired business need. What perception do we want to reinforce, or change?
Experiential marketing results can be measured in many ways which must relate directly to the objectives of the business plan.
1. Cost/Investment and projected pay-back.
2. Numbers of Guests targeted / attending / participating.
3. Percentage of Guests, self-sourced by the Experience Operator.
4. Guest satisfaction and impressions.
5. Integration of the drive experiences into current marketing programmes.
6. Increase in product trust, confidence and brand loyalty.
7. Number of resulting sales and leads generated.
8. Social Media reach.
Remember – measurement need not be costly, but failing to measure will be.
Experiential marketing is a powerful marketing tool which should be a core element in any integrated marketing campaign. Ask yourself – “If I were the Guest, what would impress me? Would I see this as a fun thing to do? What would delight me?” – Then set out the Drive experiences to encompass this Guest focus. The setting should be in the best possible location – aesthetics and Guest travel time. Drive Experiences must be consistently delivered in a safe and knowledgeable way – aligned with the ‘Experience Operating Standards’. Instructor teams must be expertly trained, consistently reassessed and always dressed to present a professional appearance. Experience driving events should be targeted and where possible integrated with other marketing campaigns. Performance measured, reviewed and lessons learnt. Guests should leave an event feeling that this was a memorable experience, that they are “The Hero”, but they couldn’t have achieved this – in comfort and style – in any other product than ours!
Do it well and we will create brand advocates who will further spread our brand impressions through word of mouth, social media, and build loyal customers for