04 Jun Social Experience Marketing: An Innovative Way to Communicate
Beyond Experiential Marketing
Experiential marketing was a term that used to explain the process of handing out free stuff to people to get them to notice you: bumper stickers, t-shirts, goodies and the like. Fast forward to today and you’ll find that businesses are now easily conveying experiences that go way beyond the effectiveness of any traditional marketing effort. They’re achieving this with — you guessed it — social media, guerrilla marketing tactics, and digital technology. You see it happen every day: a retail store offering buy one get one free deals with a “like” on Facebook, a restaurant promoting a contest for a free meal for those that share a picture of their latest dish with a hashtag shout-out on Twitter. All of these things promote brand awareness yet in a free, fun, socialized environment.
Experiential marketing benefits both sides: customers, especially Millennials, feel included and engaged, and businesses get free advertising. But this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to experiential marketing as more and more consumers are doing everything from obtaining product comparisons to creating business presentations on their smart phones and tablets. The growth in this area is exponential. Why?
Social experience marketing, quite simply, connects people in ways they otherwise wouldn’t. People in general seek to be involved in something worthwhile, connecting with others having the same purpose. This is a relatively new way of thinking. Previously, consumers made a purchase and perhaps wrote a review on their experience. End of story. Not so today. Take Jane for instance. She is sipping on a new coffee drink from Starbucks, posts a pic of it on Instagram and tags it. Starbucks sees it, likes it and shares it with thousands of its followers. This gives them free advertising in the best way possible — a regular Jane enjoying her mid-afternoon flavored latte — and the consumer gets her profile shared with thousands of other people.
Social Local Mobile. Let’s Go.
Think it ends there? Nope. Enter SoLoMo (social, local, mobile): this can enhance the relationship between brand and consumer thanks to mobile apps that distribute data received by brands who filter and respond within just seconds. Combine this with a mobile point of sale app and you get a real-time customer profile that stores consumer experiences such as with Jane above. Thus, experiential marketing helps brands and consumers communicate, paving the way for more meaningful interactions. In addition, brands play a crucial role in conversations that can potentially influence thousands for free with little to no work.
Millennials are generally placing more trust in the businesses they interact with. That trust had eroded up till now with so many companies abusing email privileges that would annoy recipients. Email spam had its time but there’s a better way now. Reaching out to people in smarter ways leads to a more trusting audience because consumers are trusting the brands they’re associating with. This mutual trust benefits both parties in exponential ways. One way is voice. Consumers want to tell others about their experiences, good and bad. They take to social media to make their voices be heard, sharing their opinions on anything from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram. Companies that provide an exceptional service or product will reap the rewards of this type of free advertising. Companies who don’t will learn the hard way that the consumers’ voices matter. In either instance, companies have the opportunity to respond in real time to comments made about them. By publicly addressing negative concerns, for example, the company is putting out a fire that would otherwise spread and get out of control. At the very least, the company earns the respect of its followers and even possibly earns forgiveness from the consumer who wrote the post.
Companies and consumers both benefit from social media and experiential marketing, or as we call these campaigns — Social Experiences. If you can’t make your voice be heard and engage your audience through participation, you risk being overlooked and forgotten.