To defined “what is experiential marketing” we go back to its roots.
Experiential Marketing – Also known as ” Relationship Marketing”
Relationship marketing was first defined as a form of marketing developed from direct response marketing campaigns which emphasizes customer retention and satisfaction, rather than a dominant focus on sales transactions.[citation needed
As a practice, relationship marketing differs from other forms of marketing in that it recognizes the long term value of customer relationships and extends communication beyond intrusive advertising and sales promotional messages.
So what is experiential marketing and where did it begin?
One blistering hot summer in Australia, Lipton tea company chose to install a sign on a busy city street. The sign did not suggest that customers purchase or even try Lipton iced tea. The sign had three things; an image of a bottle of Lipton iced tea, a “Press Here to Cool Down” call-to-action, and a red button. When city strollers pressed the button, a refreshing wave of mist was released from the sign, cooling down the brave souls who pushed the button.
So what is experiential marketing you ask? This stunt is indeed one of many forms of experiential marketing. Experiential marketing allows the consumer to experience the product and/or brand through creating an emotional reaction. The invigorating mist generated an emotional reaction from the person subjected to it. Now all those city goers who were misted will not soon forget Lipton iced tea nor the positive brand experience they had all thanks to experiential marketing.
Why use experiential marketing?
You may be asking yourself; why bother adopting experiential marketing over other forms of marketing such as magazine ads, television commercials, or social media campaigns? Let’s answer that with another question; do you want to be remembered? According to Jay Walker-Smith, CEO of the Yankelovich, a person could be exposed to up to 5,000 advertisements daily, depending on where they live and what they do in a day. In order for a company to stick in a person’s mind, they must be memorable and the most undeniable way to be memorable is to trigger an emotional reaction.
To prove emotional riveting events are unforgettable, just look back at your life; what are the events that come clearest to you? The day you got your first dog? The Halloween when you watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre and could not sleep for three nights straight? Or maybe it was the moment you and your first boyfriend/girlfriend broke up? All these occasions stayed with you throughout your time because they had a great emotional impact on your life. As a marketer it is your job to make the person exposed to your experiential marketing campaign to feel elated, surprised, fearful, etc., whatever type of reaction you are eliciting.
After the experiential marketing campaign
After conducting an experiential marketing campaign, you are going to want to give consumers an opportunity to share their experience. Promote a hashtag with your messaging so those exposed can share what they experienced. This will create more buzz around the experiential marketing campaign and your brand itself. The feedback will also help you shape your next experiential marketing campaign in terms of what those exposed to it liked and disliked. In the end, as long as your brand was able to evoke an emotional response from the audience, your brand will be remembered and being remembered is key in this overstimulated world.
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