Experiential Marketing Trends
Welcome to experiential marketing trends. When an automobile company launches a new model car or SUV they advertise heavily in newspapers, magazines, tv and also put up huge hoardings. They do generate interest, inform the potential buyers and bring the customer to the showrooms. However, purchase decisions may be taken only after they get a feel for the vehicle. For this a test drive is usually arranged in a demo car, accompanied by a staff of the company. Either the customer can drive on his own or experience the features and performance of the vehicle while the company staff drives.
It enables customers to assess the performance, leg space, interior features, the feel and look of the interiors and be in a better position to take a decision on whether to buy or not to buy. This is one of the most common marketing technique that can be observed daily in car showrooms that utilize the look, feel, ride and by principle.
Defining Experiential marketing trends
Welcome to experiential marketing trends. In simple terms, experiential marketing trends is a selling technique or an advertising technique that focuses on the buyer experiencing a product before buying. It is opposed to traditional forms of buy, experience and deciding on future purchases. Most consumer products are packed in such a way that if opened it cannot be sold. Therefore, there is no option for consumers but to buy and experience it.
Experiential marketing trends try to immerse the consumers within the product engaging all their senses with the objective of forming an emotional bonding with the brand that raises customer loyalty and improves buying possibility.
However, there are small business outlets that give the privilege of experiencing before buying. Experiential marketing trends are employed in a limited way even by small businesses. In bakeries, consumers may be allowed to taste a sample of the food product before buying. So does outlets that sell desserts and ice creams. Now textile and garments shops allow customers to try out a new outfit, see them on large size mirrors, examine the fit, features and check whether it matches the buyer’s body size and features before making a purchase decision. A textile outlet with a trial room is less likely to attract more customers compared to
Cosmetics manufacturers set up counters in malls and big retail outlets to help consumers try out a new lipstick color, nail polish, perfumes, and facial makeup. Most often there is no compulsion to buy but it helps consumers get engaged to the product and thereby create affinity with the brand.
According to analysts, experiential marketing trends has grown rapidly in recent years due to increased competition, globalization of business and rise in a number of products and services. In this scenario, experiential marketing brands must try to provide memorable events and engagements to consumers to stay ahead of the competition, according to B Joseph Pine II and James H, in their book, The Experience Economy.
Many companies use experiential marketing trends to enhance or complement their traditional advertising campaigns. But as internet virality gains more and more influence, most brands have used experiential marketing trends as a standalone effort to boost sales.
There are different experiential marketing strategies adopted by the industry ranging from simple sampling to guerilla marketing and Viral marketing. Many surveys indicate that a large majority of consumers want to get a feel for the product or service before buying.
Advantages of experiential marketing trends
- Increases purchasing by existing customers: Existing customers are a captive base for any company to sustain a business. Also, it has been proven that retaining existing consumers is much cheaper than acquiring a new customer. It also may help bring lost customers back to the company’s fold.
- Increases brand awareness: Mass media marketing generates information, attract buyers, generate interest but experiential marketing trends help create a better understanding of the product and its features. This, in turn, would be reflected in sales volumes.
- Increases word-of-mouth, referral business: Those consumers who have a taste or experience of the product and satisfied with it are more likely to recommend it to other buyers and get more business for the company.
- Compensates for falling conversion from traditional advertising: Many companies have seen declining return on investment (ROI) in traditional advertising and hence look forward to experiential marketing trends to compensate a part of the loss. “TV advertising will be only a third as effective as it was in 1990 due to increased advertising costs and a dramatic reduction in viewing figures,” according to McKinsey and Co.
- Increase interaction between company and consumer: In mass market campaigns, the communication is uni-directional but in experiential marketing trends, most often the communication is one-to-one or in small groups that enable a better understanding of product features and clarification of concerns and doubts by consumers.
Some successful experiential campaigns
- Adidas has used experiential marketing trends two years back in D Rose Jump Store to promote Derrick Rose’s sneakers. There was a contest also. Customers should jump 10 feet high to touch a sneaker and win it. It also gave the customers a perspective into the basketball player’ s life. Irrespective of whether consumers walked away with $100 shoes or not, all of them had an experience they will associate and remember with the brand name Adidas.
- Again in 2013 in Las Vegas, USA, beer maker Landshark Lager targeted pools in the area to distribute their beer free of cost. The idea was to prove to the customers that the beer is a refreshing experience, as refreshing as going to a pool.
- Sometimes social and themes depicting peace and international co-operation can be successfully depicted in experiential marketing trends. The unity between India and Pakistan was wonderfully portrayed in a Coca-Cola campaign in malls in Lahore and India. They placed 3D touch screens that enabled people in both the countries to join hands, draw peace signs, dance etc thus taking open happiness concept to a completely different level with experiential marketing.
- Global shoemaker Puma conducted training camps for athletes and trial runs allowing people to try their products. This helped raise popularity for lifestyle products. This, in turn, enabled the company to get 50% of revenue from the sale of such products.
Lifebuoy Kumbhmela: The campaign sought to promote cleanliness among Indians and used the opportunity of Kumbh Mela to propagate the message. About 1.1 billion children die due to diarrhea and washing hands regularly before eating could prevent this from happening.
During 2012 Olympics, Samsung created brand experiences at various destinations around London including St Pancras International, Stratford International, Westfield Stratford, One New Change. The Samsung studios focused on demonstrating the new Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note.
Strategies in Experiential marketing trends
Companies need to employ the right strategies to get the best results in experiential marketing trends. It should be tuned to the needs of the buyer and based on product features.
Sampling is a straightforward approach to experiential marketing trends. When Maggi noodles were launched in mid-1980’s in India, they gave a sample packet of noodles with masala maker to all children in selected schools across the country. That helped create a noodles eating culture in the country backed by its 2-minute noodle campaign in TV and newspapers. Lavazza’s Black Friday campaign is held at the doorstep of New York mall provide a pick-me-up to the cold and sleep-deprived shopper waiting for the doors to open. According to experts, such attention to detail makes such experiential marketing campaigns result oriented and powerful.
Live and digital events
Companies employ a combination of physical and digital experiences. Experiential marketing tourism and hospitality industry promote itself through digital experiences that consumers connect at the personal and emotional level. Tourist places and resorts can’t be brought in front of the consumer physically but with the help of digital technology, companies can create near real-life experiences on screen. Marriot Hotel, Texas Tourism has been doing this activity for almost a decade. An eco-tourism project can hold miniature physical and digital demo of the project in trade fairs for the public to feel the experience of being there. Home theatre systems, interior designers, modular kitchen makers can create near-live experiences in showrooms, malls or trade fairs that help the customer get a feel of how it would appear when setting in their own premises.
Virgin Air held an out of home campaign across six cities by adding a sleek branding to the generic bus shelter. They put a giant touchscreen window for visitors to take a 360-degree tour of the aircraft- or a Google maps inside a plane. The digital view of the flight cabins and facilities provided a simple, functional and visual clue for the traveler.
Guerilla marketing is centuries old and dates back to 4000 BC when Egyptians used papyrus to make sales messages and wall posters. The term Guerilla marketing was coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his book Guerilla Advertising published in 1984. It is an unconventional marketing strategy that uses high energy and imagination. It takes the consumer by surprise, making an indelible impression on them. It strikes the consumer at a more personal and memorable level.
Even large companies have been using Guerrilla marketing effectively across industries although it was originally intended for small industries with low budgets. The 2007 Boston Bomb Scare caused by Turner Broadcasting Company on January 31 is a case in point. It was intended to promote a new film featuring a Cartoon Network show called Aqua Teen Hunger Force but turned into a citywide bomb scare.
Coca-Cola five years ago created the Happiness Machine video which featured a Coca-Cola vending machine that dispensed a lot more than just a cold beverage. The film was shot at St John’s University in Queens, New York, using five strategically placed hidden cameras. And the reactions from the student were totally unscripted.
Mountain Dew Energy conducted a 43-day Guerrilla tour targeting consumers at festivals, transport hubs and in city centers. About 5 brand ambassadors in the UK drove the Mountain Dew Truck, hosting various competitions and giveaways. Free samples were also distributed.
Future of Experiential Marketing Trends
The future of the experiential market is bright in view of the recessionary trends in most markets, tighter and spends and the need to keep the brands floating. According to Calum McGuigan, President of Fervent Events, an experiential marketing agency based in Toronto, the year 2016 could witness increased budgets for such promotions, a combination of PR and experiential marketing strategies and witness integration of sales as it was shaped in the modern marketing age compared to traditional media. Experiential marketing will increasingly use a mix of both physical and digital experiences to influence customers, experts said.
A recent study by Event Marketing Institute revealed that 96% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product after participating in a live branded event and 74% will have a more positive impression of the brand. However, the cost of experiential marketing trends has been found to be higher than traditional marketing through mass media. This indicates that right kind of imagination, thought and planning has to go into such unconventional campaigns.
According to Phil Boas, a marketing expert, the experiential marketing year 2015 witnessed several experiential marketing campaigns as brands continue to innovate strategies to get noticed in the market place.
Meanwhile, professional Golf player Jordan Spieth, who won the 2016 Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua has been announced the brand ambassador for Coca Cola’s sports marketing campaigns. He will be featured in television advertising, digital, social media, point-of-sale, out-of-home, experiential marketing among other activities.
According to some experts, 2016 could see the exciting use of virtual reality (VR). Return on investment was a concern in using VR by marketers but the cost of producing content will fall as new production technology emerges. Google/GoPro’s Jump camera will significantly help bring costs down through a quicker stitching process. Experts pointed out that creating memorable VR experience, basically an installation in a box that can travel from place to place is a way for brands to both streamline and maximize their experiential efforts.
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