It's time for everyone to reassess the marketing mix and take a closer look at the full range of marketing disciplines - including experiential marketing, which works in any economy.
Across the ad world, experiential marketing is a discipline that is talked about a lot but is still misunderstood. When utilized strategically (yes, experiential marketing is very strategic), it is increasingly successful in building brand success and engaging meaningfully with consumers. And it can be significantly more cost-efficient than other media. Bottom-line: Experiential marketing makes more sense than ever in these recessionary times.
Five Essential E's
One of the few marketing competencies that can literally influence consumer behavior immediately -- right there on the street, in the stands, or at the store -- experiential engages the consumer to interact "live," with the brand, thus making him or her part of the learning process. There are five essential "E's" critical to an effective experiential campaign in any economy:
1. Experience the brand: This is what experiential marketing is all about and a key differentiator from other elements in the marketing mix. Through relevant "live" involvement marketing, this brings the voice, the sound, the personality, and the taste of the brand to life. Make the brand the experience. Be true to what the brand represents in every aspect of experiential delivery. The brand "is" who it partners "with." The marketing must bring emotion to the brand and the brand closer to the consumer's heart. Any brand can have a rational relationship with the consumer, only the best have created a lasting, emotional relationship.
2. Engage your audience: Break out of the norm. Be different. Do something, make or say something that consumers have never heard before.
3. Economize the experiential solution: One of the many strong aspects of experiential marketing is the opportunity to create programs at any scale. Regardless of level, and whether built up or down, everything within the effort, i.e., the structure, the vehicle, the schedule, should be as efficient as possible.
4. Evangelize your audience: Give your audience a unique and interesting experience to talk about and they will spread your messaging to a friend, a co-worker, relatives, etc. Develop that emotional connection and the tremendous power of word-of-mouth that results from it. Experiential marketing can incite perception and behavioral changes as few activities can.
5. Evaluate your effort: Increased attention and support is being paid to experiential marketing and other marketing components such as promotions, retail incentives, couponing, etc. - all of which can be more greatly tied to analytics which are especially critical in today's environment. And so achievable. Experiential marketing can be measured. And in today's environment it must be.
Consumer packaged goods marketers today know that along a brand's retail purchase path "every point of contact is a selling opportunity." There is a point in that path that can offer the consumer an opportunity to actually engage with the brand. Positioned at the right time, this singular point allows the consumer the opportunity to better understand and connect with the brand through touch, taste, smell, etc.
Experiential marketing can help meet that challenge, surrounding what has so rightfully has been termed that "first moment of truth."