6 Ways to Win Customer Loyalty Through Experiential Marketing
Do you know why everyone loves a repeat customer? Because it costs your business less to keep a current customer than it does to find a replacement. In fact, 70 percent of companies reported spending less to retain a customer than to create one.
Despite this fact, only 30 percent of companies indicated that they were “very committed” to relationship-focused marketing. It’s not that businesses don’t want loyal customers; they just don’t know the best way to create them.
Experiential marketing gives customers a closer look at your product and brand and can funnel enormous benefits back to your company. According to one survey, 96 percent of customers said these events made them more likely to purchase the promoted products, and 74 percent of event participants left with more positive opinions of the brand. Furthermore, brands that use experiential marketing techniques saw dramatic increases in ROI last year versus the year before.
Experiential Marketing at Work
Experiential marketing goes beyond advertisements and social media campaigns to give your customer a positive, memorable impression of your company. When consumers attend your experiential marketing event, they leave with a newfound affinity for your products and an emotional connection to your brand.
Take Camp Jeep, for example. Jeep invites attendees to participate in a giant obstacle course as they ride in different Jeep models and fight rugged terrain.
A customer — let’s call him Greg — might buy his first Jeep because he likes the design or the functionality of the vehicle. Camp Jeep, however, takes Greg and involves him in the brand’s exciting culture. After this experience, Greg still thinks about his Jeep’s functionality, but his feelings and emotions also come into play. He doesn’t just think about gas mileage and snazzy designs; through his Jeep, Greg expresses his identity as an adventurer, an off-road enthusiast, and someone who goes against the grain.
Before Camp Jeep’s successful experiential marketing program, Greg would have selected his next vehicle based on technical specifications and personal style. After Camp Jeep, Greg really only considers one brand: the brand that identifies with his adventurous spirit.
Deploying a Successful Experiential Marketing Campaign
Every company wants to create that “A-ha!” moment when the brand goes from recognized to internalized in the customer’s mind. But before you can reap these rewards, you need to set the stage for a successful experiential marketing campaign.
Here are six steps to get you on the right track:
- Start with the end in mind. Visualize what successful experiential marketing would look like for your business. What actions do you want to influence? Do you want to push a one-time customer to become a lifelong brand advocate? By envisioning an ideal event beforehand, you can better replicate those results in real life.
- Pinpoint your audience. After you’ve defined success, think about who you want to reach. Would experiential marketing work best for young adults using your product — perhaps technophiles or a specific political group? Understand your client base so you can put the right message in front of the right people.
- Tap into your audience’s lifestyle habits. Talk to your customers, and learn when they’re most open to engagement. This will tell you whether you want to focus your efforts on in-store experiences, such as RFI tagging and on-location promotions, or off-site branding at concerts, sporting events, fairs, or festivals.
- Determine the best way to bring your brand to life. Not all experiential marketing looks like marketing — to many customers, these events are somewhere to hang out, have fun, and explore. You can bring your experience to audiences via mobile vehicle tours with traveling brand ambassadors. Having brand ambassadors walk attendees through the event or frame it in a particular context will shape their brand perceptions and evoke a best-in-class feel.
You could also implement engaging games and experiences in your store or throw a big event and invite everyone to attend. If your priority is quantity over quality, consider mobilizing a street team and doing sampling to distribute product quickly or provide further education.
- Integrate your marketing resources. Bring other marketing methods into your experiential campaign. Broadcast your event through social media, television, and even print media. Aim to gather data on your site and continue the conversation before and after the event.
- Partner with an agency. Find an agency that understands your brand, can realistically handle your event needs, and is compatible with you and your team. Make sure the agency has a defined process to help you through the discovery phase so you can identify where the true opportunity lies and make the most of it.
Experiential marketing isn’t meant to get people thinking more frequently about a brand or product. It’s meant to leave a lasting brand impression on consumers so when they want to express themselves, they choose to do so through the brand that best understands them. And with a targeted, thoughtful approach to experiential marketing, that brand can be yours.
Steve Randazzo is the founder and president of Pro Motion, Inc., an experiential marketing agency located in Missouri. With more than 30 years of experience in the industry, Steve has long-standing relationships with big-name clients, including Tractor...