At some point in your professional career at a networking event or tradeshow, I am sure you have asked someone what they did and they responded with “marketing.” That is just about as generals as a college degree in business. My recent goal in my career is to transform the way I do marketing for my clients. In the past, I titled my unique approach “progressive marketing.” However, I feel that the most appropriate title is experiential marketing. This new wave of marketing is taking a holistic approach to marketing, yet being very specific in its goals. In this post I hope to clarify and define experiential marketing and what it means for your business.
Experiential Marketing Definition
There are three steps to the experiential marketing process as I will explain below. The big idea and underlying goal of this method is to create an experience for the customer that is worth Tweeting about, or at least worth sharing with their friends.
- Phase 1: Entice your target audience.
All marketers want consumers to love a brand. This is the essence of traditional marketing. From developing a logo to core competencies to product design and campaign strategy, marketers have always tried to lure in their target market. However, unlike traditional marketing, this is simply the first step of the experiential marketing process.
- Phase 2: Create a remarkable sales experience.
This area is the most crucial area in experiential marketing. Getting a customer into your store or to your website is the easy part. Creating a sales environment online or in person that is “worth Tweeting about” as Dan Cathy of Chick-fil-A says, is the hard part–but it is pivotal. Fostering a memorable experience is what will get customers to return and bring their friends or even better still, brag about their experience on the spot to their friends via social media channels and as a result their friends will come on their own. If you go to a restaurant and love a dish, you are going to return to that restaurant and get that same dish. It is simple classical conditioning. It is the same way with experiential marketing. You need to design an atmosphere that the customer can interact with, an environment that is fun and geared towards your target market to lay the foundation for a successful customer experience. Phase two of the experiential marketing approach focuses a lot on what has traditionally been labeled as customer service.
- Phase 3: Strengthen and maintain customer relationships.
Of course, any form of progressive marketing you will need to include some social media marketing techniques. While creating an experience worth remembering is important, continually feeding and strengthening that customer relationship is also key for the ongoing success of your brand. This is the idea of running ongoing promotions, creating new products and launching new campaigns and strategies to get customers to constantly interact with your brand.
The three phases above are the general categories that define experiential marketing. There is far more depth and detail to the concept, but in a nutshell hopefully this post clarifies the idea of what experiential marketing is. I will be writing some more posts in the near future of experiential marketing examples and companies that are doing it well whether or not they know they are even following the approach.