03.02.2020

Experience marketing is the new kid on the block

In July 2018, a giant statue of American actor Jeff Goldblum appeared in London, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the film Jurassic Park; and yet very few people remember the astonishing sight of a 25-foot long statue of Hollywood royalty, laying on the grass in the centre of London. It's not Jeff Goldblum's fault, nor is it the fault of the movie Jurassic Park. So, who is to blame? Millennials of course.

Millennials love to share what they're doing. Millennials love travelling and millennials love an experience. They use social media to find out about experiences and then repost those experiences for others to see; and often post photographs of themselves doing the exact same thing as they saw in the photo that attracted them in the first place.

It’s all about sharing

The Coca-Cola ‘Share a Coke’ campaign helps us highlight this. We (statistically most of the world are millennials now) see a photo of our friend, or friend of an acquaintance, or whoever, holding up a can of Coke with their name on it next to their pouting faces.

That can of Coke, with your contact's name on it, becomes the celebrity and as viewers, we think: 'OMG, I need to do that, I need to get a Coke with my name on it'. And we end up going to the coke machine to try it out. Then, after months, we finally get one with our name on it, and we post the exact same thing. People reply joyfully and comment things like "Lucky you! I'm still searching for my name."

But it's a can of pop, not a life calling.

This activity is offered to us as an experience; something to be shared with friends and the rest of the world. In doing so, we're acting as an extension of Coca-Cola’s sales team.

As marketers, we need to understand that we should be offering experiences to drive users online and guide them all the way to purchase. The more we personalise experiences, the better they will be for consumers.

The new world of marketing is better than ever before, thanks to millennials.

Previously, television, radio, billboards and newspapers would suffice to catch the eye of customers. We used to see people arriving at work with a heavy briefcase in one hand and a broadsheet in the other. Now it's a Starbucks and a phone. So let's use that phone to offer some form of incentive so that the cup remains a Starbucks one, or offer a recycled, reusable one to make Greta proud.

Selling just got interesting

We need to sell the experience, not the product. Most modern consumers (be that a millennial or not) know what Coca-Cola tastes like. They don't need a giant billboard reminding them of its refreshing flavour. What they want, and deserve, is to be provided with rewards, incentives and experiences. They want to be enthralled, excited and involved in something new - only then will they remember your brand, and share their experience of drinking it on social media.

A personalised and connected experience proves to customers that marketers are tailoring products or services to them. We should be putting the work in on our side so that the customer doesn't have to. From there, we can easily add an option to share the assets via WhatsApp so that others can see their experience. The best way to secure repeat sales is to get more of the same customers through leveraging the network of customers you already have.

Connected experiences

We must focus on customer experience; products come and go, but there will always be a market for truly remarkable experiences. New technology, augmented reality, image recognition, videos, great photography, and engaging copy available in an easy-to-find format helps any marketer stand out.

Great mobile experiences should be the norm. While relevant news can be shared on social media to increase loyalty among customers and promote that sense of exclusivity. Today's advertisers should offer engaging experiences and then reward their consumers for using it. This is a win-win for both parties. Not only do they meet objectives of engagement, awareness and increased sales, but with seamless back end dashboards, all the rich engagement data of location, time of day, day of week, can be optimised to inform brands about how their users are behaving too.

We can ask our users to do a lot of advertising for us - albeit with a clean conscience. By sharing their experiences or through creating user-generated marketing, new clients will be drawn to the brand because they can rely on the customer's experiences that they have genuinely shared.

Companies that provide their creative and technical teams access to cutting edge technology are most likely to thrive. Customers are digital savvy and no longer want to settle. It only takes a quick Google for them to find an alternative if they're happy with a service. Connected experiences will set you apart, catch the attention of new users and potentially even create new influencers for your brand without the need for additional costs.

Jenny Stanley, founder and managing director at Appetite Creative.

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