experiential marketing


by Theresa Lütge-Smith – guest blogger for Imaginet

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Different people view the world differently; ask a group of individuals to describe their interpretation of the same event and each will relay an account different from the others. The reason for this is because for each of us reality is a personal phenomenon, shaped by our values, needs, wants, and unique life experiences. Yet for the marketer (especially the digital marketer incorporating social media, content marketing, link building, technical SEO and Brand PR) mastering this mixture is what makes experiential marketing (diversification strategy) so challenging. It’s about relating to customers’ outlook relative to their actions, opinions, buying habits, leisure habits, and so forth, in order to influence them to buy.

Most brands go through a lifecycle of growth, followed by maturity, decline, stagnation or even failure, yet by incorporating “continuous improvement” as a business philosophy it can escape the limits of mortality. Out-of-the-box thinkers like Charles Handy and Tom Peters – both authors of numerous inspiring books about business management – advocate novel theories to rejuvenate a flagging brand image. Their fresh, albeit unconventional ideas, come at a time when trade and industry moguls are worried that the traditional engines of wealth creation are grinding to a halt. They’re urged to re-think the notion of “business as usual” be it the way we market our business; generate service; manage our money, health and happiness; or even envisage future prospects. Change itself has become increasingly challenging because technology and economics are developing at such a pace that outputs are difficult to gauge.

“Diversification Strategy” is a new term for an old idea. Organizations, driven by generating social media, content marketing, link building, technical SEO and Brand PR have been using it for years through sampling (aka “tryvertising”, integrating goods and services into daily life in a relevant way so that consumers can make calculated choices based on their experiences and not purely persuaded by marketing messages), sponsorship programs, exhibitions, and conferencing. This formula provides a mechanism for consumers to interact directly with the brand; audiences today are demanding more meaningful relationships with the brands that they pick and, as a result, look to “experience” brands rather than only receive predetermined information about them. However, some marketing experts assert that many people aren’t getting it right; experiential marketing is not about sending instant messages to cell phones or running TV or print ads, but rather interacting in person and making the brand more tangible, even if the channel is technological. Social Media – through Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and FaceBook – helps to “humanize” a company and its brand identity by simulating plausible face-to-face communication with target audiences, which also makes it possible for marketers to interact with prospects (followers) and identify new leads. This epitomizes why experiential marketing is so appealing, particularly in the current economic climate. Simultaneously, marketers are also in control in that they don’t have to compete with external input that may detract from the customer’s focus on more traditionally delivered marketing messages, and they can monitor the vital input of information exchange between supplier and customer. That’s a great platform for building SEO and long-term brand loyalty.