I recently enjoyed a long golf weekend with three friends from Toronto. One friend is a CFO, another is a CEO and the third is a Director of Experiential Marketing for a golf equipment manufacturing company. He also happens to be a former golf pro. We had a great time watching Barry Wallis hit long straight drives, shaping his iron shots to the middle of the green, getting up and down from the fringe or the sand, and not missing any putts shorter than 6 feet. What an experience this was. I had not personally used the title or created a job description for a “Director of Experiential Marketing “ so I decided to look closer and understand what Barry’s title represents.
As I read about experiential marketing it became clear that it is really all about creating a hands on emotional experience that supports the value your products or services provides. It is the value proposition in actions not words. Too often marketers come up with great phrases and jingles and product positioning that just misses the mark. We buy to satisfy what we perceive as a need. I need a new driver because I need to hit the ball longer and straighter. Forget about my bad swing or poor tempo. The new driver will fix this. The decision becomes emotional. How many new drivers are sold every year because we think it will help us hit longer and straighter? I have a G5 Ping Driver. It works as well as I can make it work. Should I upgrade to the G25, which is several generations better than my G5? Better yet should I switch to the new Callaway Razr Fit Xtreme. I think I still have a couple of Callaway War Birds in one of my old golf bags. I hit them pretty well. The other option of course is the new super duper R1 TP from Taylor Made. We all know that Taylor Made is the number one driver in golf. I am certain I have an old Taylor Made Bubble driver somewhere in my garage or attic. Got your attention? If not, then click here for experiential marketing. If you play golf, you are always looking for ways to improve your score. For most of us that normally translates to spending another $1000 plus to have the latest and greatest equipment.
What can we learn from the very effective experiential marketing that these three golf club manufactures use year-end and year out to get us to upgrade to the latest and greatest? How can we incorporate experiential marketing concepts into our relationships with our customers? Lets look at a definition of experiential marketing that I found at Wise Geek. See below.
“As a unique approach to the task of marketing goods and services, experiential marketing is a concept that integrates elements of emotions, logic, and general thought processes to connect with the consumer. The goal of experiential marketing is to establish the connection in such a way that the consumer responds to a product offering based on both emotional and rational response levels. Here are a few of the basics of experiential marketing, and how this process can often succeed when other marketing strategies fail.
Appealing to a variety of senses, experiential marketing seeks to tap into that special place within consumers that has to do with inspiring thoughts about comfort and pleasure, as well as inspiring a sense of practicality. This means that the marketer needs to have a firm grasp on the mindset of the target audience he or she wishes to attract. By understanding what the consumer is likely to think and feel, it is possible to get an idea of how to steer the customer in a direction that will relate with the product, and entice individuals to act on that impulse to purchase.
In order to engage in experiential marketing, it is necessary to engage as many of the senses as possible. Striking displays with powerful visual elements, such as websites, and visual media such as print ads should not only be visually appealing, but also conjure up daydreams of locales and reminders of sensations that are enjoyable to the individual. When used to create customer experiences of this nature, a sense of rapport between the product and the consumer is established that helps to make the good or service more desirable with each encounter.
Because experiential marketing connects with the consumer on multiple levels, the strategy is ideally suited for contemporary sales and marketing campaigns. Shortened attention spans demand that any ad campaign make a quick impression, or the opportunity to engage the consumer will quickly pass. While thirty second ads on radio and television once had a great impact, many people now use modern technology to avoid this sort of marketing approach.
This means that ads on the Internet, in print media, and on modern billboards must immediately catch the attention of prospective clients and hold that attention long enough to make an impact. Experiential marketing holds the key to making this happen. By appealing to all the senses, and making the connection quickly and seamlessly, this approach to the marketing task ensures that businesses can still attract and satisfy the needs and desires of consumers.”
Start asking more questions from your customers about their experience when they use your products or services. Ask them what they like about the relationship and want to see in an ongoing relationship? Let them know you care about the value experienced when they do business with your firm. With today’s mobile technology and social networks we have the ability to get ongoing instant feedback. Experiential marketing requires relationship building with your customers. What are your competitors doing? Are they creating an emotional tie with their customers? Create a value proposition message that will have an emotional relationship impact. Make it short. 10-second spots can be very effective. Shorten the message on your web site and in you print adds. Drill the message into the minds of your sales team and product advocates. Think about these messages when you are crafting yours. “Taylor Made The number one driver in golf” “Geico can save you 15% or more in 15 minutes or less” “ Wal-Mart: Save Money live better” What is the message your customers need to see to build the emotional relationship?
Brand advocates help create an emotional tie and build a relationship. Do you post blogs from customers? Are you actively building relationships through social media? Do the social media discussions about your company percolate up to the C suite? Should you engage a Chief Outsiders to objectively evaluate what you are doing now and help you craft and implement an experiential marketing strategy?
I hope to hear from you real soon. Please post your comments below and feel free to share this article with your network.