For the experiential marketing world, July and August have a tendency to be the busiest months of the year. Summer programs are in full swing, fall programs are in development, and everyone is hot on the business development trail for 2014. With all of the overlapping craziness all around, we still have to remember to focus on doing the little things that make face-to-face interaction so effective. With that, I am taking this opportunity to regroup for the betterment of my clients and my clients-to-be. Amidst it all, I am writing my Experiential Marketing Manifesto. Admittedly, a Manifesto is probably most useful at the beginning of something – a political election, a revolution, or a marriage. But I’m sure there are organizational and motivational experts who would side with me and shout, “IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO DECLARE YOUR VISION.” So with that, here is my Experiential Marketing Manifesto, my decree as we push through the chaos:
Don’t just tell people about your product, SHOW people your product
Better yet, let them try for themselves. Anywhere from 65-75% of the population is made up of visual learners. Throw in the constant noise of advertising today, and it’s no wonder you can practically see your message go in one ear and out the other. Hands-on learning is where it’s at. Trust me – I’m marrying a teacher.
Constantly monitor real-time results and respond accordingly
Results are coming at us in real-time, and with that we have the ability and responsibility to take full advantage. We should be tracking quantitative data about impressions, trials and, of course, purchases. We should also be tracking qualitative data about awareness, intent and overall feelings towards the brand. Tweaking our approach based on this information gets us to optimization.
Be more productive while we are sleeping than while we are awake
Social and digital media should be our most productive salespeople. Let’s work hard and smart to set up the dominoes during day, then let our digital elves knock ‘em down while the rest of the world continues the conversation.
Maximize effectiveness, minimize cost, optimize experience
Let’s face it: the events schedules are maxed out. In-house resources are working as hard as ever. Social media assets are in constant communication with fans. We all need to figure out how to get more out of these things by seeking quality over quantity.
Show your current customers how much you love them
Your current customers are the reason your brand exists, and sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of that when we are all after the next transaction. Showing the love to an inherently influential group will generate the loyalty that every brand aspires to find, leading to a much tighter community of brand advocates.
Don’t just bring your product to people, bring people to your product
Showing off the benefits of your product at a festival or sporting event or trade show is great for reach. But doing so may be unrealistic of the actual brand experience. We should also bring people to where they can be hands-on in your brand’s true environment. The brand experience will be more relevant, timely and memorable when placed in a real situation.
Always employ practical creativity, with a focus on results
“Cool for the sake of cool” ain’t cool. In order to stand out, creativity must be behind every idea, but it has to be practical, and it has to lead to something measureable and useful.
People expect your brand to be in certain places, and it is important to continue meeting those expectations. But when you surprise by showing up at unexpected times or in unexpected locations or by doing something unexpected, the memorability factor goes up. The element of surprise is our friend.
Create a memorable experience every time
Good or bad, people will share a memorable experience. Pay attention to the details, and treat every brand experience as though it’s the only one that guest will ever have.
You might be busy now, but the brand experience must be as stellar as it was when you planned it a year ago.