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Building Customer Relations Through Experiential Marketing

Nov 21, 2007
As against traditional forms of marketing that are focused on benefits and features of products or services, experiential marketing attempts to form a connection between brands and consumers in ways that are more memorable and relevant personally for the consumer.

It seeks to establish a stronger relationship through one-on-one interaction between a consumer and a brand and, so, has to be based on personal interaction. It, therefore, tends to have a bias towards the brain's right side, as it is based more on feelings than rational thought.

This is in contrast with traditional forms of marketing that seek to promote a brand, against the competition, employing factors based on rational thought. This, however, is against the findings of contemporary research, according to which feelings and emotions tend to influence decisions to a larger extent than was previously known about. So, it should be fair to conclude that marketing of the traditional type was biased more towards the left side of the brain i.e. thoughts derived from a rational basis.

Therefore, the strategies for experiential marketing have a lot to do with the sampling of products, combined with event marketing, as well as management based on factual information. These are, then, blended with experiential data gathered from reactions obtained from prospective customers or clients. The planning and execution of events has to be carried out, after data integration, so as to ensure that the interaction with customers turns out to be quite sophisticated.

A very significant part is played in companies' experiential marketing strategies by event marketing, even as it is blended with database and one-to-one marketing principles. Sampling of products by potential consumers, obviously, also forms an integral part of it.

For instance, if a new product is to be introduced, samples of the product could be sent to journalists who have a considerable amount of influence in the space of which the product category in question is a part, in accordance with a product sampling strategy. On the other hand, an event for the launch of the product could be held with invitations being sent to members of the press and some of those who form part of groups of users that are key for the product. The invitees could not only try the new product out, but also meet up with executives of the company.

Product introduction is taken to a whole new level by experiential marketing.

The following could form part of an effective strategy:

1. Gathering data about potential customers:

The company could search its databases to come up with the details of those who could be the most likely ones to purchase the new product. For instance, by determining how often its existing customers are likely to replace its products, the company can find out about those who are likely make a purchase in the near future. Also, it could identify its leading markets, through analysis of reports of retail purchases. Subsequently, the company can invite prospective purchasers from these markets, to sample the new product.

2. Event planning and organization:

This is meant to provide as much relevant information as possible, besides showcasing the brand and allowing the potential consumer to experience the product first-hand. Those who are business customers, especially, could be set up to meet with an expert from the industry, so that they could gain some information about trends that are likely to impact their businesses. They could also be provided demonstrations on a private basis. An event for launching the product could be held in each of the leading markets.

3. Optimizing the list of invitees:

A sufficient number of customers have to be invited, so that not only do they experience the new product, but qualified leads are also generated for the company, while keeping the event as intimate as it should be. For this purpose, business associates or friends of the invitees that are existing customers, who are likely to be actively interested in the new product, could be encouraged to come along. Also, partner companies could have lists of those among their own customers, who are likely to be prospects for the new product, and they could also be invited.

4. Collecting feedback from attendees:

Those who attend the event should be asked to provide feedback on the event as well as the product, besides information on the likeliness of a purchase.

5. Follow up:

After the databases have been updated, following the event, the list of prospects should be passed on to the company's sales team.
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