Newsflash: your target audience feels no urgency about your marketing communications because they know they can find the information they want when they need it.
Consumers have famously time- and place-shifted. They now dictate when they encounter your messages. But they’ve also information-shifted. They now own the flow – what they see, how long they see it and on what device they see it. This begs the question: how do you connect your brand with target consumers? In an overwhelmingly loud marketplace, how do you engage and activate them? Put simply, what the heck is a marketer supposed to do?
I believe all good marketers are closet anthropologists. Despite our new found love for data (and boy do we love it), our instincts are usually correct about what will resonate with an audience, plus or minus a small amount. Why? Because we’re communicators. We know how to read a room, turn dialogue on a dime, and present to varying audiences. We often use data to enhance the trust we have in our gut.
I submit that’s why so many marketers are turning to experiential marketing programs. The anthropology of them makes sense at a gut level: done well, experience campaigns create emotional bonds with brands by providing a series of tactile moments that connect, energize, inform and entertain. That’s manna from heaven for marketers because it builds brand affinity while generating awareness. That’s what Super Bowl commercials are supposed to do.
But good experience marketing campaigns are also measurable, creating a wealth of actionable customer intelligence that feeds customer relationship programs and accelerates the sales funnel. The best include a halo effect that creates an impact well beyond the physical (or digital) event. The press coverage and market buzz are worth many times the cost of the program in these cases.
Wondering what an experience marketing campaign is? You’re not alone. Chance are you’ve seen them or participated in them, but didn’t think of them as a marketing program. They usually seem like a simple sponsorship. Often these campaigns are low on sales pressure (urgency) and high on fun. Here are some examples.
Pepsi – Free Soda for a Small Town: Pepsi created a viral hit with this down home, feel good, put a smile on your face program -
MINI – Rooftop Party: MINI created a massive buzz in fashion, design and music circles, elevating its brand to new heights within valuable demographic segments -
Apotek – Blowing Hair in a Subway: As part of a launch of new line of hair products, a subway platform in Stockholm featured an enchanting video display -
As you can see, experience marketing programs can take many forms and utilize budgets of all sizes. The important takeaway is this: you can still break through and connect with consumers on their terms without artificial urgency. You just need to unleash your inner anthropologist, apply the right creativity, and prepare to leverage the valuable customer intelligence that will be generated. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that these campaigns are fun to develop and produce, too!
Branding in an Era Without Urgency