Maybe it’s because I have spent close to thirty years in a variety of marketing and sales roles both as senior executive in a multinational Fortune 100 company and, more recently, as owner and founder of an internet based marketing company…but, whenever I am asked to speak to a business audience on any topic related to marketing and consumer behaviorism, the question of experiential marketing almost always pops up in the Q&A section. I’ve heard as many definitions as there are new wave marketers pitching their “esoteric pitch” to unsuspecting potential clients.
The nouveau wave marketers are flocking to experiential marketing in record speed. Large companies are “re-visiting” their battered marketing budgets and shifting money away from media advertising and into the experiential sphere. Marketing power houses like McDonald’s, GM, TD Bank, Coke, and Nike…just to name a few… have started or are seriously considering shifting huge piles of coins to experiential marketing. A virtual revolution of sorts!
But what really is experiential marketing… in real terms?
Hint:…The meaning of the term is spelled out in its name. Experiential marketing (or XM) is a form of promotion that involves experiencing the product or service being promoted. It is, among other things, an intelligent alternative and much more creative than another boring and MOST ANNOYING television commercial. (You know the kind that MUST have been designed to shock you by insulting your intelligence…makes you long for some good old fashioned subliminal advertising! One more “Schticky” commercial and I will commit to television celibacy forever!)
XM happens when advertisers connect with you at a totally different level and give you that “instant gratification” we have all learned to crave…or offer you the “experience” of their product or service so as to make an emotional link with you…a connection…as if YOU were the only customer they care about…(sort of…). That connection is often made by providing YOU with real value for your time…like initiating you or teaching you something you would normally desire but wouldn’t necessarily sign up to do “just now”. The experience, the service and the actual product all become one and leave you with a positive and appreciative after taste about the advertiser. Et voila…XM in a nutshell.
Although XM is still a relatively young phenomenon, there are some brilliant examples of experiences and accompanying mementos to help you remember the memorable experience in question…a very important vehicle for sustaining the positive mindset long after the experience is done. Here is an amazing story about what a South African fast food chain, Wimpy, did to their menus that illustrates both creativity and exceptionally good will.(http://devour.com/video/wimpy-braille-burgers/)
In a pleasant turn of events, our elegantly packaged wine aroma kits have grown in popularity with wine appreciators, those who are interested in learning about wine, but also with many experiential marketers alike. Our uniquely presented kits help identify the various aromas found in wine. Scent, being the closest sense tied to memory, is a key avenue targeted by experiential marketers. Experiential marketers have used our kits to create a pleasant experience for their customers, and then allowing them to keep our kits as a special keepsake or gift for participating in their event. This gives their customers true value for their time, a unique and memorable experience, as well as a memento for them to keep; the trio for a perfect and long lasting experience. What better way to one’s heart than through the nose: truly the ultimate “connection” and an “awakening” of one’s senses.