“The customer is always right.” While this adage is not literally true, it has served as a motto for service professionals to keep customer satisfaction as their number one priority. Although we don’t hear those words used quite as often in the modern marketplace, the putting the customer experience first is more important than ever.
As previously discussed, consumers are inundated by an endless number of product choices. For brands to make an impact, they have to create memorable experiences. In fact, according to this Entrepreneur article, “customer experience will soon trump both product and price as the key brand differentiator by the year 2020.” Delivering a brand experience is a team effort, from the customer service associate to marketing department. The article lists three examples of companies who have mastered the customer experience as a method for new customer acquisition.
Neuromarketing, a subdiscipline of psychology, looks to understand consumer behavior and the reasons that drive purchasing decisions. Neuromarketing is a powerful tool and is often the basis of market research campaigns. In fact, in more recent years, it is the method that taught marketers about the importance of eye gaze (placement of product), explained decision paralysis (and how to avoid it), and educated us on the power of color.
In a recent blog post, Sparks breaks down neuromarketing related to event marketing, and how we can use the science to create successful experiences. They discuss how relieving consumers’ pain points is more impactful than creating a fun experience. They also explore the importance of visuals in making an impact. Check out the full post here.
Pop-Up Shops are the “Uber of Retail”
Experiential retail is all the rage right now, and that is inclusive of retail spaces both temporary and permanent. Gone are the days of thinking of pop-up shops as mere marketing stunts. Now these limited-edition retail and restaurant locations are a key part of many brands’ sales strategy. And not only are companies seeing a boost in sales, but consumers are loving the chance to have shopping experiences that are out of the ordinary. In fact, pop-up shops have grown into a $10 billion industry, with growth expected to be so great that 2018 was predicted to be the year of pop ups.
As we see more and more brands create pop-ups both to sell products or promote services, we are also starting to see varying pop-up approaches. As this Forbes article lays out, there are different “categories” of pop-ups. These can include events that are more focused on activity, and nomadic events, which we are seeing more ecommerce brands execute.
Millennials are not easily impressed. And even though they have unprecedented shopping choices, they are not quick to jump into purchasing from a new brand. In order for companies to resonate with this demographic, they have to speak to their priorities. This group is looking for brands that have a unique proposition and a compelling company culture that aligns with their own values. Because of this, brands are looking to experiential marketing to help them communicate core values and key differentiators to consumers.
Success within experiential marketing is not exclusive to certain industries either. Most product and service categories can use live brand events to reach consumers face-to-face, from clothing to banking. Yet, according to this post by Top Right Transformational Marketing, caution needs to be taken when planning out the type of activation your brand should execute. Here the company lists three ways to ensure your events are reaching their full potential.
Virtual reality (VR) is a powerful tool for use in brand activation. VR immerses consumers into a custom world. This type of unique, brand-designed experience transports attendees and reinforces brand messaging in a way that consumers can’t encounter in “real” life. Providing a memorable experience is especially important in helping brands stand out amongst the constant stream of advertising that consumers admit they are actively trying to avoid.
While these benefits are a strong argument for incorporating VR into an activation, designing an event around a VR experience requires considerations. In a recent interview, GPJ Australia designer Chris Hogben speaks to these challenges, going into detail on how to realize the power of VR at events. Check out the full interview here.
Friction Free Experiences Are Must-Have Amenities for Travelers
It is widely understood by marketers that to find success, the general rule of thumb to meet consumer expectations is to create experiences. The more targeted to the individual, the better. This is due largely in part to younger generations, and no industry is impervious to this rule. Consumers need to be enticed beyond the product or service itself.
One industry that is rarely discussed within the experiential marketing realm is travel. This article published on CMO encourages travel brands to pivot their marketing methods towards creating experiences. In addition to experiential marketing, the author encourages travel brands to embrace other methods such as artificial intelligence and dynamic personal tailoring.
Oath Uses Experiential Elements to Show Brand Value During Upfronts
Brand activation is often thought of in terms of consumer interaction, with the goal of increasing sales of a product or service. Yet, over the past several years, B2B brands have been embracing the tenets of experiential too because, after all, buyers within a company are people too. Brand activations that engage and inspire can be effective in a large number of formats.
This year, Oath, a new company formed by the union of Yahoo and AOL under Verizon, decided to throw experiential into the advertising world. To stand out and make an impact, the company transformed its traditional upfront and newfront events from typical to extraordinary. Generally speaking, these events are formulaic, filled with presentations and sales pitches. Oath instead created an event that blended business deals with a festival feel. This included parkour dancers, bucket drummers, and food carts aplenty. The goal was to grab attendees’ attention, encourage social media engagement, and build brand trust.
American Express Canada Pop-Up Seeks to Connect Values with Consumers
In this age of experience, consumers want to connect with brands, and vice versa. Many companies are looking for the most efficient way to connect and build consumer relationships. As mentioned above, for many brands pop-ups have been the answer.
To help highlight the importance of work/life balance, American Express Canada created a pop-up art exhibit. The event featured a series of rooms that showcased several local Toronto artists. The goal was to create an event that was social media friendly, which in turn, would spread the company’s brand messaging and values. “American Express has its customers’ backs—whether that’s in travel, adventure, dining, or entertainment,” explained David Barnes, vice president of advertising and communications for American Express Canada.He went on to say that the pop-up messaging was targeted towards communicating the brand’s core values.