Experiential Marketing – Create Customer-Centric Memories


    by AMA Michiana member Aaron Charles

    Think back on the last five years of your life. What are the moments you remember? For me, I’d highlight my wedding day, hiking to a beautiful waterfall with my wife on our honeymoon, going to the Super Bowl, my college graduation and watching my beloved Cubs win the World Series. All of those things have stories associated to them. Why? Because they were unforgettable experiences.

    Even experiences that aren’t as momentous as your wedding day are memorable, though. For instance, just the other day I was reconnecting with an old friend. As we were talking, I reminisced about a time that we had sung “Hanging By a Moment” at a karaoke party. There wasn’t anything particularly significant about that day, but it was fun. It was a small moment that stuck in my head because it had been a positive experience.

    It’s easy to understand why the big experiences are memorable. They changed our lives. But why do we remember random experiences that don’t seem so monumental? It’s because our senses are engaged. We’re moved or impacted in some way and we’re physically interacting with the moment.

    Experiences are important to me, and it sounds like most consumers agree. According to a Walker study, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by the year 2020. And this article from SuperOffice.com cites research that says 86% of buyers will pay more for a better experience.

    To capitalize on this, marketers have begun to push more resources into experiential marketing. Undoubtedly, you’ve heard the term. Experiential marketing seeks to tap into the senses to create a memorable connection with consumers.

    As with any marketing discipline, however, it’s difficult to succeed with experiential marketing if your focus is on yourself. It’s a fine line. Obviously, you’re trying to grow your business by marketing it to consumers. So the temptation is to think, “How can I create an experience that’s centered on my brand that consumers will enjoy?” But to truly succeed with experiential marketing, you need to change the focus. Instead, the thought should be, “How can I create a truly memorable experience that consumers will enjoy that ties in our brand?” It’s a small nuance, but you’ll notice that the second one places more focus on the consumer.

    If you’re looking for more information about experiential marketing, I’ve provided three helpful resources at the bottom of this article. However, if you’re looking to dive a little deeper, AMA Michiana is hosting a luncheon on February 7 at Granite City in Mishawaka where a panel of marketing executives from Simon Properties will discuss how they use experiential marketing in malls and stores across the country. You won’t want to miss it!




    Post by AMA Michiana member Aaron Charles of Villing & Co.

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