When it comes to experiential marketing 101, there can be a lot of confusion. However, most of us have probably experienced “experiential marketing,” but never really grasped what it is. And, that is really the point: Great experiences with products or services, when done right, become so pervasive that you don’t really know it’s marketing. However, you know something is missing when you have a bad experience with a service or product. The fact is, most companies plan for great experiences, whether or not they call it experiential marketing. But, it is a key ingredient in the marketing mix that drives referrals and advocacy to create customers for life.
Experiential marketing is not just “event marketing.” It goes much deeper than single, siloed events that are sometimes out of context with consumers. Instead, it is a way for people to engage with your product or service by using as many senses as possible. It encourages experiences, first hand, of your services within the context of their daily lives so they can see how it can work in their daily lives. As a result, they are more likely to buy, because they are better able to grasp what is different about your product.
Examples of Experiential Marketing 101
Two Day Buick Test Drive
Buick has struggled with their perception among Generation X and Millennials as being a car for older people despite updating their vehicles with luxury comforts and redesigning many of their models. So, they have encouraged a no-obligation two-day test drive program to allow customers to get behind the wheel and use it in their real life over a period of a couple of days. Take it to the store, use it to drop the kids off at school, use it in your daily commute and more. Then customers can truly experience the new Buick brand, buy the car and hopefully tell their friends about their experience.
Share a Coke
You may have noticed all the Coke cans and bottles with personalized names on them. Coke has always promoted the idea of friends and family coming together and sharing. With this new experience, you can go online and seek out your name on a can of Coke and virtually share one with a friend, which creates fun digital engagement and social sharing. Further, you can look up and see what stores are carrying your name or a friends and seek it out and, well, share it with them.
Dinner on Us
If you have ever had work done on your home, whether it is a new kitchen to new floor, it can be disruptive. So, our team suggested to one of our clients in the home-improvement industry an experiential marketing program to give their customer a dinner out on them during the construction. A simple gesture that can go a long way and is unexpected, but can make all the difference while dealing with your home being in a state of chaos.
Broadmoor Name Policy
If you have ever stayed at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, you may have noticed that hotel staff goes out of their way to greet you by name. In fact, they hold daily and nightly meetings with the main staff to review names of guests in the hotel and who is checking in. Again, a simple gesture that they practice daily, but it immediately makes guests feel welcome and provides a little unexpected surprise that is part of their hospitality efforts.
Mercedes Benz of Littleton V-Plus Rewards
This local dealer created an entire ongoing experience for their customers called V-Plus Rewards. After all, when you buy or lease a new or used Mercedes, customers should feel special and the dealership crafted an entire program around providing special perks for their customers. This included things like free car washes at any time, manicure Mondays, automatic pick up of your car for scheduled service (while bringing you a loaner), as well as free shuttle rides to and from the airport.
All these experiential marketing programs have some commonalities that provide some wonderful tips when you are think about your programs:
- Something Novel or Unexpected – All of them have a surprise and delight factor to them. Whether it is surprising a family with an offer for free dinner or simply greeting a customer by name.
- Deeper Engagement – While you may think the engagement ends after the sale, it really does not. Mercedes Benz of Littleton found their engagement continues well past the sale and it is that engagement that kept customers returning for service and brought in new customers via referral.
- Opportunity to Experience Your Service – The best experiences are those that allow for customers to experience your service (or product) in their actual context. After all, that is exactly the contextual experience Buick is encouraging.
- Get People Sharing – Fine tune the experiences around opportunities that call for sharing, especially with social media. That was a big driver for Coke. But, it can also be just having people want to talk about you and tell friends.
How to Use This Information
When it comes to experiential marketing, we can help. We can put together a full plan for your unique experience and help put it into action. Call us at 303-300-2640.
What are some of your favorite examples of experiential marketing?