June 18, 2015
Big posters. Flashing lights. Colorful signs. Millions of screens. Millions of views. Millions of shares. Millions of this and millions of that. When it comes to big business and their marketing strategies, it’s always in “millions” and maybe even “billions.”
But what about the little guys? In what place do small brands come when it’s time to compete with the titans of the industry in the race to win consumers’ loyalty? Yep, that’s right. Most of them come waiving a small white flag, already worn and crumpled, way out in the far horizon looking like a spec of dust as the big guns are already sipping on their celebratory champagne after crossing the finish line.
Sure, these things are all in relative terms. Small business can be and a lot are very successful in the small business world. They cover their costs, maximize their revenue, and manage to stay afloat. However, small businesses are aware, or at least they should be aware, that they’re not going to compete head to head with big businesses and come out on top – at least not in most cases. But what if there was a way that small brands could compete with these large brands by using some sort of ripple effect instead of direct competition to win over consumers?
After all, a small pebble thrown at the water can cause a bigger ripple than a large pebble simply placed in the water.
Now that you have that picture in mind, let me contextualize it in an experiential marketing scenario. What truly matters when it comes to experiential marketing is that a brand is able to create leads during the event and then transform these leads into consumers after the event. Think of the number of leads as the size of ripples and the quality of the event as the force at which a pebble is hurled into the water.
Social media allows this ripple effect to be carried out even further. Another way to look at this ripple effect is by noticing the number of leads generated that share their experience on their social platforms. This should be thought of as how far the ripples go and how much of the lake (population) it affects. Again, what matters here is not necessarily how big the event was, but how successful it was in generating quality leads for your brand, consequently increasing exposure – that’s how ROI should be measured.
Small brands should take advantage of experiential marketing. Experts have said that experiential marketing is one of the top ways for similar brands to differentiate themselves from one another. For small brands, it’s also a way to avoid getting into the never-ending invincible spiral of price competition.
Let’s face it: big brands produce at a level of output that is just infeasible for small brands. Since they’re better financed, they have more money to throw around and can generate steady revenue even while operating with higher costs.
This means that big brands can usually sell at lower prices than small brands can. If the small brands try to keep up, they end up going out of business. Instead of trying to gain consumer loyalty by butting heads against a concrete wall, it seems obvious that small brands should take advantage of creating experiences for their consumers.
In this way, they’ll be able to show consumers that they’re different than those big brands in a positive manner. They can win their hearts over through their memories and reap the benefits of their loyalty as time goes on.
But won’t an experiential marketing campaign cost way too much, leading a small brand into bankruptcy?
One of the great things about experiential marketing is that it can be implemented in a customizable mold that best fits the brand’s marketing strategies. A big event that has high costs may be the best event for a brand with a large budget, but it may not be for every brand, especially small ones who have little to no money to dedicate to extra marketing efforts. Small brands may create a positive experience for consumers using very little money by applying innovative, resource-aware, and creative ideas.
So this is a call to all small brands out there: don’t be that little spec of dust waving your beat up white flag on the horizon. Take charge of your brand and revolutionize your marketing strategy. Create experiences that inspire your consumers to not only come around once or twice but to stick around for good.