In the simplest terms, experiential marketing is a strategy which allows your customers the opportunity to experience your product or service before they purchase it. According to the Experiential Marketing Forum “It’s the difference between telling people about the features of a product or service, and letting them experience the benefits for themselves”.
Though experiential marketing campaigns often include something free for customers to take away after the experience, it is not to be confused with offers which promise a free-trial period. The customer interacts with the product or service and a host such as a brand ambassador, leafleter or demonstrator guides the customer through the experience.
Media and print marketing can be expensive because success relies on volume, and it’s very difficult to track success. This is especially true now that you can mute or fast forward the adverts on TV, and bin the copious amounts of fliers through your letterbox.
Experiential marketing allows customers to engage and interact with brands, products, and services in sensory ways that provide the icing on the cake of providing information. Personal experiences help people connect with a brand, and make intelligent and informed purchasing decisions. When done right, it’s the most powerful tool available to win brand loyalty.
Enormous amounts of time and money go into researching product and brand development. Without strategic marketing the product sits on the shelf hoping to be purchased, and the service just waits on the web eager to be discovered. Marketing strategies create a link between the product or service and the consumer and this link can be created in various ways.
Acccording to MarketingWeek, “customers don’t necessarily follow the lowest price, but return to trusted brands that have proved their worth over time”. Active marketing ensures your brand is noticed by the customer who it’s intended for.
Any marketing campaign will include a brand message which customers can take with them and help them remember the brand, its benefits and features. When the brand message is accompanied by something the customer can feel, hear, see, taste or smell then the chances of remembering the message increase. The experience could be anything which allows to customer interact with the product and may include leafleting, sampling, interactive games or activities, immersive theatre and competitions.
New brands take advantage of experiential marketing because their customers need to be educated on all aspects of their brand. Businesses that are re-branding make use of experiential marketing to equal effect because their existing, happy customers will need to know that the same brilliant product or service is being offered, and less than happy customers will need to know what has been improved.
Likewise, this is a great opportunity to pick up new customers and allow them to experience the brand. Similarly, brands that haven’t seen as many sales as initially hoped for can also use experiential marketing to great effect.
Expert experiential marketing agencies will provide everything from staffing and uniforms to venue hire and an end of campaign report. These are worth the pennies you pay, as Shaz Smilansky, author of Experiential Marketing: A practical guide to interactive brand experiences, explains, “experiential marketing provides better ROI than other marketing activities in use”.
It can however be very expensive, especially if your business is small, and doesn’t have the seemingly limitless marketing budget that large corporations have. Making experiential marketing work for your business can be really simple and affordable. As each business is unique, the way to engage with your consumer needs to be unique too.
Think about the following, and then get creative. Remember that the most important thing is to allow your customer to experience your product or service before they hand over their cash.
- Distribute fliers either in the town centre (permission from the Local Authority may be required), or through letter boxes. The fliers could include a money-off coupon.
- Offer free samples in store. Make sure you display any warnings which would usually be on the packaging – contains nuts, hot content, etc.
- Create a friend referral scheme. This can be as simple as offering a % of both parties’ next transaction for free.
- Offer low introductory rates. For example you could offer 3 services or products for the price of 2 for a limited period.
- Host an open event. Invite customers and their friends to visit your new office or shop, find out about what your business offers. Include light refreshments and a freebee to take away.
Don’t miss out on sales opportunities because your product is unknown or new. Give your customers every opportunity to gain trust, build conviction, and remain loyal. Be creative, engaging and informative. Find out more about the services we offer and other ways to build your brand at www.thecompanywarehouse.co.uk