The other day, I received a J. Peterman Company catalogue in the mail. I did not even realize I subscribed to this catalogue; however, this time it caught my eye. As I began to flip through the pages, I realized how unique the premise really is. Despite all of the Seinfeld jokes, there really is something proprietary to this method of business. J. Peterman makes excellent use of experiential marketing techniques and it made me smile.
The idea of experiential marketing is not new, and has been until now, widely underutilized. Although many of you already know, experiential marketing is built on the idea of helping consumers experience and engage with a brand by giving them a consistent message they can touch, feel, view or participate with (sorry to end with a preposition). In our ever-pervasive digital world and increased online shopping, do consumers still crave a tangible brand experience?
As it turns out, they do! Companies that use experiential marketing techniques and strategies have had major success. J. Peterman is able to create an experience around his brand through the hand drawn images of the clothes (versus standard photography) and exotic, story-like descriptions of each item he sells. The consumer can instantly envision the brand’s story – and more importantly – their role in it. They even refer to the catalogue as the “Owner’s Manual” versus a standard or generic “Spring Catalogue,” thus further differentiating themselves from the other brands in the industry. It’s like reading a collection of short stories, each description more interesting than the last.
Whether you engage your customer on large or a small scale, there are many benefits to experiential marketing. Here are a few:
It saves time. Time is valuable (but you already knew this!) Traditional marketing relies on putting out advertisements, commercials, and promotions and hoping that they snag someone’s attention. Consumers have grown accustomed to this and have learned how to tune it out. They are just too busy. Experiential marketing takes a different approach. Creating a brand experience, whether it is through an event, sponsorship, or other method, entices consumers to willingly spend time with your brand. Viewers become engaged and opt in on their own time. See the difference?
Engages through storytelling. Storytelling is everything. Having a story to tell, whether it relates to your mission statement, company culture, customer service beliefs, or organizational values, makes you much more attractive to a potential customer. Having a story makes you memorable and consumers can identify more easily with your brand. Your brand becomes so much more than a product or service, it becomes the experience.
Strengthens value through personalization. Allowing consumers to engage and take part in your brand is very personal and unselfish. The experience is different for each and every person, which makes what you are selling more valuable. Let’s say you and your team decide to embark on a ground tour where you travel the country and distribute samples of your product to consumers. The act of personal engagement with each and every customer creates a memorable and meaningful experience that they will remember. Research shows that customers are far more likely to buy a product if their experience with the brand is both memorable and meaningful. It’s quite simple – experiential marketing is more personal than a widespread advertisement.
Allows for interactive conversation. Communication is no longer a one-way street (as it was in the past with traditional advertisements and commercials). Marketing is now interactive with both sides actively participating in their roles. Experiential marketing allows for this two-way conversation to happen. Consumers feel as if they have a say and a voice in the process, and in turn, brands show they care about their customers and their feedback. This conversation is also amplified through the use of social media, where consumers have the ability to follow and communicate directly with brands online.
The marketing game has changed. Today’s consumer expects so much more from brands when it comes to delivery, product formulation, mission, and marketing practices. In order to compete, we need to think outside the box and start creating experiences for our consumers to engage with. Experiential marketing builds trust, and trust builds repeat purchase and loyalty.
What are some of your favorite experiential marketing success stories? Has your company used any of these techniques? Share your insight with us in the comment box below!