The biggest challenge facing entrepreneurs today might not be finding effective sales strategies, falling profits or scarce financing but a lack of marketing know-how to brand their company, differentiate themselves in the eyes of their customers and predict the kind of business needed to grasp the economic moment. Why? It’s an area where they don’t really spend a lot of time, effort or money. Social media and experiential savvy marketing professionals are scarce or nonexistent in most small to medium businesses. And SMBs need to know that their brand does not need to be massive to become ubiquitous.
The New Social Media
So what does experiential marketing imply? People, your customers, live an online life. Experiences new, old, good and bad are immediately broadcast and shared. Their experiences have become a powerful vehicle for conversation and earning status amongst their online communities. Like it or not your brand is becoming part of the experience. Simply said, the experiences you provide your customers become a new and powerful opportunity for your brand and a clear road to profitability.
Cold Calling is Dead
The most effective experiential marketing strategies are integrated and deployed through a mix of live, online, social media and in-store channels to get your customers to participate. Your strategy should be derived from user-experience design best practices, solid architecture and experiential marketing principles that extend communication beyond intrusive and old school silo’d advertising and static sales promotional messages. Tailor an experience that will fulfill these needs and connect meaningfully with your customer.
The goal is to have your customer associate a positive emotional, educational, physical or cognitive experience with your brand and choose it repeatedly over your competitors. To achieve this you need people who are strong on product, strong on design and coding, and strong on development and strong on mobile marketing. Here are some general principals to help guide the process:
- It is key that any campaign builds relationships with your target audience; moreover these relationships should be long lasting.
- Any campaign should have a predefined target audience, not just “your average or historical buyer” but in accordance with specific market research and customer profiling.
- The campaign should encourage your target customers to interact with the product or brand.
- As a branding exercise it should increase the awareness of the brand. However it should not just purely increase awareness but create relative awareness amongst the predefined target audience.
- Your campaign should be targeted at improving customer loyalty to that brand by providing them with a sense of involvement.
- Lastly, it should create long lasting, positive memories that will remind the customer of your brand when they are looking to purchase products.
You need know your target customer intimately, so the research tools you use will need to be highly quantitative such as measuring emotional effect of your marketing through social media. Companies such as Crimson Hexagon http://www.crimsonhexagon.com/ can provide your marketing team with business intelligence from Big Data & social media. And don’t forget the follow-ups including direct emails, Facebook groups, special offers and customer loyalty programs. A good measure of how well you succeed is how well you have succeeded in changing your customers buying behaviour.
We should be seeking an informed public, using new tools to make them better informed with greater relevance and more efficiency… Here is a good blog highlighting the value of engagement: http://buzzmachine.com/2013/10/06/maybe-news-is-just-more-efficient/