Experiential marketing focuses on designing a fun or memorable experience between brand and consumer. According to a study done by JWT Worldwide, “72% of Millennials would rather spend money on experiences than products” (Source: Econsultancy), a fact which suggests that the product alone is no longer a powerful enough incentive for consumers. The noted Cornell psychology professor Thomas Gilovich explained that experiential purchases were more commonly associated with identity, connection, and social behavior, meaning that brands that are looking to get ahead need to focus on one thing: how to make consumers feel special (Source: The Atlantic).
But what exactly goes into creating such an intimate experience? Here are 4 tips that are worth knowing before designing your experiential marketing strategy.
1- Define a Clear Target
Consumers want to feel special. In order to create such unique experiences, brands must first begin by asking themselves questions about their audience in order to be able to more fully anticipate their needs. Who is the target audience and how exclusive should the experience be? In which market will it be deployed? In which way can it be enjoyed?
2- Set Your Brand Apart From Competitors
Not only should brands ensure that they create an experience which is tailored to the target consumer, but they should also succeed in setting themselves apart from the competition. A fine example and well-known proponent of experiential marketing is Nespresso, a Nestle owned company specializing in espresso machines. Nespresso sought to distinguish itself from competitors fixated on price points by creating a brand which was devoted to luxury; as evidenced in its unique “boutique” stores. These boutiques offer users specialized tasting areas complete with a beautifully envisioned espresso machine gallery, creating the look and feel of a store in which tasting—experiencing the brand firsthand—is highly encouraged.
3- Build a Best-in-Class Gifting Experience
As a brand, rewarding consumers has always been one the most powerful and successful ways to strengthen the bond, especially if you can create engagement through a unique and memorable gifting experience. By leveraging digital rewards, brands can extend the consumer experience and interaction from in-store to online. McDonalds, for instance, sought out to do just that by launching a campaign that gave away digital codes to in-store customers that could be redeemed towards a movie download available to watch on Google Play. The campaign offered a selection of 50 movies to choose from and up to 13,750,352 total movies to be given out to their customers. Not only was this campaign a great “offline to online” engagement tactic, however the campaign provided invaluable CRM data in the process. Who would not enjoy eating a Big Mac while watching an entertaining movie? (Full case study here).
4- Invite Fans to Talk About the Experience
Brands that succeed in extending the life of experiential marketing beyond in-store activities to online engagement via digital rewards can not only ensure that their audience’s rewards are customized to their interests, but can also then drive virality around a campaign through social media sharing, and exposure to new consumers in the process. Rewarded fans are often happy to share their delight to the world.
By focusing on creating fun, lasting memories with consumers through unique rewarding experiences, marketers can generate positive brand associations with their consumers; thereby building brand loyalty.