Experiences, not more ads, are the way forward with consumers
Marketers have spent decades relying on the 30 second TV spot, but have you ever wondered why 9 times out of 10 people rave about a great experience vs. a TV ad?
Why is it that brands such as Red Bull rely almost exclusively on experiential marketing (XM) and how did West Jet get 36MM views with their Christmas Miracle campaign…and a Cannes Lion?
For a brand’s existing customers, the best way to drive advocacy is to provide a great experience at every touchpoint. However, a paradigm shift is happening in how marketers engage non-customers.
Marketers are shifting more & more funds to Experiential Marketing because it..
- Allows for new product trial, and results in better conversion rates at a lower cost
- Creates real conversations: brands can hear feedback & address concerns. Finally, dialogue vs. monologue
- Can generate high quality leads when you sell on site as well as help attract lapsed customers
- Inspires, strikes an emotional chord & can help you develop deeper/more genuine brand relationships
- Drives positive word of mouth, action and advocacy
- Can move people through the customer journey/funnel quickly v.s “rule of seven”for traditional ads
- Captures great digital content for above the line so it can live beyond the campaign period
- Creates rich opportunities for data capture e.g. brand perception, purchase intent, likelihood to recommend
Still not sold? Consider these recent research findings…
84% of marketers say that Experiential Marketing is considered “very important/critical”or “important”.
95% said that participating in an event made them more inclined to purchase the products promoted.
7 out of 10 shoppers say they’ll share a brand experience via social media and other means of sharing
70% of consumers leave events and experiences with a more positive opinion of the brand, company or product showcased.
71% of consumers felt more positive about the company/brand following the event experience.
58% said they purchased the product after the event, and 86% said they subsequently became a regular customer.
So, which brands are doing it right?
Red Bull executes XM in a phenomenal way e.g. Red Bull Crashed Ice Series, Red Bull Stratos Jump
Heineken Departure Roulette videos have over 6 MM views (& counting)
So 8 things to evaluate tomorrow?
- Review your brand’s marketing plan & ask yourself what’s being done for engagement & to provide an impactful experience customers will want to talk/advocate about?
- Take a hard look at your current marketing team – do you have the expertise to kick off an XM program in house or do you need to hire or consult experts in this space?
- Compare yourself to competitors – are they in this space? What are they doing well? What could you do better?
- Beyond XM, think about the path to purchase & the overall experience at every touch point – what’s working well? Can it be improved?
- Integrate Social Media from the start – from pre-event to post, it’s not about the few thousand people you reach at an event – it’s about the incredible number you have the potential to reach sharing it after.
- Take a cross functional approach – don’t put your program together in a silo, the best XM efforts are strengthened by input from marketing, channel, sales, and customer service.
- Pay attention to the feedback – The greatest thing about experiential marketing is that you get customer reaction immediately and can adjust and refine your message in real time. Take risks & experiment!
- Measure the long term impact of your XM programs – Did your events persuade shoppers to switch brands? How does purchase frequency compare before or after the campaign?, How did it impact basket size & more?
The classic objective of “breaking through” is getting harder & finding ways to truly connect/engage with your consumers & develop brand advocates remains a critical task.
My point is not that ads go away but rather to consider the marketing challenge you are trying to solve..if it’s awareness-ads still have their purpose but if it’s engagement with non-customers, experiential is the way to go.
It can be the difference between winning/losing & we all know which side we want to be on.
A senior marketer & strategist with 15+ years of experience at Nike, Kraft, Wright XM & more. My mandate is forming great partnerships/activations between clients, agencies & technologies from New York, London & Asia to drive buzz, earned media and engagement.
Follow Christina at @crahej