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Could all advertising campaigns benefit from experiential marketing?

18th Aug 2014
Editor MyCustomer
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Advertising spend is set to reach a record high of £14.8bn in 2014, according to various reports.

However, Richard Edwards, managing director of marketing agency, Quatreus argues that many businesses are failing to get a fair return from their advertising campaigns, as they often lack an element of experiential marketing.    

Edwards believes that ROI is near-on impossible to achieve without some form of associated experience, as customers are now far more attuned to contextualising narratives behind products and services thanks the volume of marketing they are regularly exposed to across different channels.  

He believes incorporating an element of sensory, emotional, cognitive, behavioural and relational experience is now vital in persuading people of buying into the value of a brand, and suggests marketers should be ask the following questions before signing off certain advertising campaigns:

  1. Feeling – What will it feel like to use your product or service?
  2. Sensing – How do customers physically sense your product?
  3. Thinking – How obvious can you make the benefits of your product through demonstration? Can you hint at an untapped ocean of potential behind the short demo?
  4. Acting – Changes in behaviour can be highly motivational and empowering. What behaviours will your product help to facilitate?
  5. Relating – How does your product or service link the customer to others, to things or even to a projection of their future self?

This is the "holistic experience", and Edwards gives perfume as an example of how certain industries are able to deliver on experiential marketing:

“Perfumes are, functionally speaking, a mix of ingredients that produce a pleasant smell to be sprayed in liquid form onto the skin. But people don’t wear perfume for the constituent parts; they buy it for the experience, they buy it in the hopes that they will feel attractive and desirable, and they buy it to give them a sense of confidence.

“It starts with the advertising. Perfume ads always feature a model sauntering around looking sexy; there is usually a husky voice saying abstract words like “adored” or “eternal”; and there is either a lot of colour, for fun and adventurous brands (think Joop!), or black and white, for brands that focus on being sexy and powerful (e.g. CK).

“But then comes the in-store experience. The bright lights of each perfume shelf, the imagery displayed around the perfumes – all are meticulously planned to continue the experience.

“The bottle is a key part of the experience, from store to home. Some are rough and jagged, others are sleek and curved. And every time the customer uses the product, they live that vision whether or not, the perfume can do any of these things.  They are not just opening a bottle of chemicals; they are unleashing the hypnotic power of scent from something resembling a mystical carafe!” 

Some innovative recent examples of experiential marketing include Milka’s manufacturing of 10m chocolate bars with one piece missing in each. Customers that bought Milka bars learned that their missing piece had been set aside for them to choose whether they would want it mailed back to them or mailed, with a personalised message, to a friend or loved one.

Another example came from Coca-Cola in 2012, when they created an interactive vending machine in a train station to tie in with their collaboration with the film Skyfall:

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