What is Experiential Marketing and How it can Help Brands Build Social Presence?

    Experiential marketing

    “Tell me and I’ll forget,

    Show me and I may remember,

    Involve me and I’ll understand.”

    -Benjamin Franklin

    Remember the last time you went to your Mom’s favourite saree store? Possibly not! But let me help you recall the experience a bit. Right as you entered the large store, you saw some extremely excited faces (possibly waiting to trap you).

    One of them politely asked “Madam, what exactly are you looking for?” “No, Just Having a Look” was not an acceptable answer there. She had to specify the category and also, in most cases, the sub category. “I want to buy a saree for my cousin’s engagement ceremony” indicating mid range party wear saree without saying in so many words. Assurances like “Trust Us, If you wear this, nobody will even take notice of the bride in the ceremony” would flow free.

    If your Mom chose a couple of sarees, you could also be lucky to get a free cold drink from the non-stop smiling sales people. Oh and you should not miss the sales people draping the saree on themselves and even blushing.

    Pushy? No.

    Your Mom happily walked out of the store with a sales person assisting to drop the three sarees she bought to your car, promising to visit again with more relatives.

    Coming Back to 2014

    The World has changed and how. If you need a saree now, the first thing you do is Google “Online saree stores in India”. You open top 4-5 sites that show up in various tabs. Select your filter of Price Range, Colour in all the sites.

    You browse through the options fetched by the website. Enlarge a couple of them. Check more details like material, work etc., enlarge and zoom more. Consider shopping offline. Recall the ease of returning if you don’t like the product.

    Ask a couple of your family members and finally order from one of the websites. If you buy above a certain range, you could also be eligible to get a discount voucher or a freebie. What was missing? Is it too difficult to guess?

    Enter Experiential Marketing

    You see a plethora of ads on an everyday basis promoting the best of products, the best of prices and the widest of ranges. This surely is one way of getting attention from your prospective customers. But a customer will only and only come back to you, if she/he is “happy” coming back to you.

    This encompasses each and every element of your brand including your positioning being in the comfortable space for the customer, your website experience to genuinely help the customers make their purchase, the checkout experience, your product experience and the most important of all, what was the attitude of the brand towards you all the while.

    This is where Social Media for brands steps in. They “connect” with the consumers, help them understand your positioning, brand values, benefits, features of the products and essentially build a rapport with the prospective customers. This is where experiential marketing begins. But there’s more to be done here.

    You Talked, But Did You Listen?

    Social Media in many ways can be a one way traffic. You can tell the customers everything about yourselves, ask them to react and comment on what you say. But remember, the saree shop person knew that you also had to attend a “Baraat”!

    The limitation on social media essentially is the limited personalization that you can do with all your fans. But think of this.

    Everyday, if you target to visit the pages to some fans of yours, see what’s happening in their lives and give them personalized comments (may or may not be selling your products), do you think that your fans will feel more “connected” with your brand? They sure will love the interaction.

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    Your Product is not about what you sell, but what they want to buy!

    You may have developed the best phone in the world which works as a camera, projector, alarm clock, scanner, pedometer, refrigerator…oops, sorry!

    So ok, you may have developed the best product in the world, but until that fits the requirements of your consumers, you product isn’t worth it. Therefore, it is extremely important to understand what is there in your product that a particular customer wants to buy.

    Do you think promoting the pedometer feature of your phone to the health freak groups will make them take notice of your product? Can you advise students to set study alarms on the phone? Can you target small business owners for the projector feature in your phone?

    Addressing the individual needs of the customers with special packages only meant for them further enhances their brand experiences.

    And now for the Technology

    Technology is evolving so rapidly that one shouldn’t be surprised to soon smell the favorite flavor of pop corns through laptops. But till then, 3D apps work in a very effective way to give a virtual experience of your product. You may also like to create videos to educate the fans on the benefit of your products.

    Through digital medium, one can get houses painted, faces beautified and garments fitted. But again, unless you trigger the emotional chord here, technology will overshadow your key message.

    The secret is to attack the mind of the consumers to assure, that this will be their best purchase and they must not worry about their decision at all. A single message saying “Perfect Fit” while the app is getting tested by fans, will do the trick. The draping of the saree by the salesperson and blushing while reassuring the beauty of the saree, made sure that the sale was closed.

    You need to do exactly the same. Digitally.

    And so, Finally

    In this age of digital, humans have lost the emotional touch that they got from their favourite salespeople. When Deepikaji had her favourite ‘kirana wala’ keep her monthly shopping bag ready, she had no reason to move on to some other competitor ‘kirana wala.’

    There is no end and will be no end in evolution of technology and that can be used very well to market your product. But the key in Experiential Marketing, is to strike the right chords, emotionally.

     

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