While brands have more access to their audiences than ever before, it’s arguably never been more difficult to engage and convert customers. If you’re finding this to be true, it’s likely that you’re approaching your customers in the wrong manner. Instead of selling products, you might benefit from selling experiences.
What is experiential marketing?
Experiential marketing, as defined by those in the industry, is a form of advertising that focuses on helping consumers experience a brand. Instead of being sold a product or service based on features, they’re directly involved and engaged.
“While traditional advertising (radio, print, television) verbally and visually communicates the brand and product benefits, experiential marketing tries to immerse the consumers within the product by engaging as many other human senses as possible,” according to Attack! Marketing. “In this way, experiential marketing can encompass a variety of other marketing strategies from individual sampling to large-scale guerrilla marketing.”
While experiential marketing typically refers to in-store marketing techniques, live events, and other hands-on activities that directly involve customers, you don’t have to go this far to garner a return. Sometimes it’s as simple as refocusing and realigning your digital marketing efforts around a brand experience (as opposed to an isolated product).
If you can focus your content, social media, web design, and other marketing efforts around an experience, a new world of opportunities will emerge.
Tips and techniques for selling experiences
What can you learn from experiential marketing and how can you start to connect with customers on this front? Let’s take a quick look at a few tips and techniques:
1. Use the right technologies
It’s hard to sell an experience when you’re just relying on the written word. Blogging and traditional content marketing have many valuable uses and benefits, but they’re limited in how they engage the senses.
If you want to become an expert at experiential marketing, you’ll want to pay attention to virtual reality (VR) as a media platform. There’s a reason more than half of consumers say they’re more likely to buy from brands that offer VR experiences. This immersive technology gives the viewer a sense of autonomy and allows you to put customers in environments they wouldn’t otherwise experience in a typical setting.
RELATED: Virtual Reality Is Finally Here—Is Your Business Ready to Benefit From It?
2. Identify what sets you apart
Are you just like everyone else, or is there something that differentiates your brand from the competition? Typically, there’s something unique about what you do. Identify this and expound upon it.
Jimmy John’s, the popular sub shop, is an example of a company that understands what makes it different from the competition—this includes dozens of other successful brands, like Subway and Blimpie. The company’s unique selling proposition (USP) is “freaky fast” delivery. In fact, it has created an entire customer experience around the concept of speedy delivery, one that includes a blog and strategic marketing spots.
What sets your brand apart—and how can you use this USP to create powerful, experiential marketing?
3. Prioritize repetition and consistency
An experience is far less powerful if it only happens once or is directly contradicted by something else. In order to maximize your experiential marketing efforts, you must prioritize both repetition and consistency.