July 28, 2015
When you ask a champion how he made it to the top, what do you think he’ll say? Would a golfer tell you that he practiced only one swing and used only one club? Would a boxer tell you that she only practiced jabs? Would basketball star explain that he made his way to the championship by only practicing free throws?
The obvious answer to these questions is no, of course not.
In order to become a champion in any field, you have to put in work. But not just any type of work, you have to be able to function in every scenario. You have to practice and be prepared for every outcome. You need to be able to respond to your opponents’ strikes and prepare for the ones yet to come.
In sports, coaches and trainers throw different drills at their athletes. They expect them to know different moves and build a variety of skillsets. In finance, the titans of industry have always passed on the knowledge to diversify any portfolio. They come at you, explaining that it’s always best to spread your eggs out instead of place them all in one basket.
It’s no different in marketing. Every brand is competing against another. Every brand wants to win over consumers and gain the loyalty that they think is deserved. And because of that, every brand should prepare itself in order to win the championship round, or more commonly thought of as the competition that lies in the number of sales in any given quarter.
But wait – what skill set does a brand need in order to be successful on its path toward becoming a champion? The obvious answer here: a varied one.
When it comes to a marketing mix, monotony is a near certain way to fail. Even within the traditional marketing mix, you’ll want to diversify and allocate your resources toward what best reaches your target market. Regardless, including the five main types – print, media, broadcast, direct mail, and telephone – is a better way to invest your money than simply throwing everything you have into only one of those mediums.
But champions know that they need to step outside of the conventional. They know that they have to create their empire based on their own techniques, an experience unique to their physique, their intelligence, and their style. Champions tailor themselves to become the best version of who they are – not a better version of the past champion. They bring in their secret weapon and trademark it.
Experiential marketing serves as the secret weapon for brands. It allows brands to trademark an experience and target it toward consumers who will have a hard time forgetting the great time they had with each brand.
People always wonder where experiential marketing fits into the conventional marketing mix. And although it’s not such a simple questions to answer, the simple answer laid below should at least give you a general gist of what experiential marketing can bring to the table and how it fits into a conventional marketing plan.
Think of experiential marketing as the “test drive” for your product. As you know, it focuses on the experience that the consumers are promised. Consumers will want to try a product before they purchase it. Experiential marketing provides a fun and interactive way for this to happen.
The traditional marketing channels all work together to capture some interest in consumers. A billboard will send a subliminal message, an email title will lead to a click, and so on. These marketing channels will consequently set up an interest base for the experiential marketing campaign. The consumers that swing by a footprint may already have a general knowledge of the brand due to its other marketing channels, and will now be engulfed in an experience that can be provided nowhere else.
In this sense, experiential marketing can be thought of as the knockout punch. Traditional marketing channels are all of the jabs and body shots, tiring the opponent along the way. Experiential marketing comes into play on that last round, where both opponents are still standing and the judges (consumers) are eager to make a decision but are still waiting for that giveaway of who the champion will be.
Of course, there are other scenarios to consider. Maybe a grandiose experiential marketing event doesn’t exactly fit your brand, or maybe the budget is tight and an event of that caliber is out of reach. In that case, experiential marketing can still play a crucial role as a complement to the other marketing channels. In that case, excellent street teams can do the trick. Here, brand ambassadors will be able to play on the consumers’ brand knowledge from the other marketing channels just as they would in the big event. The experience will still be memorable and experiential marketing will still drive sales by enveloping the consumer into a brand experience, no matter its size.
So what will you be? Another competitor or the next champion?