This week we had the pleasure to participate in the annual BG Site webinar among other presenters who covered a variety of topics: from Your Online Marketing Mix to Оn-site optimization, UX Design, Writing for web and Digital democracy with web tools.
Perceptica’s participation in the webinar was my presentation focused on contemporary tendencies in using Social media for Experience/Experiential Marketing. In this blog post, I will try to outline the key points of the presentation and add visual examples to support the text.
But let’s start from the beginning. Today’s marketing landscape has changed. Period. Gone are the days of outbound marketing when companies generated content (Press Releases, campaigns, TV ads, etc.) which traveled only one way and were passively received by consumers who soaked in the message. With the advance of technology and the opportunities social media offers, the communication tribune now welcomes customers on equal ground with companies. Marketing has become inbound: open to response and active two-way communication between companies and consumers.
In today’s economy the new mantra is I share, therefore I am. People can share as much information among themselves as they want: how happy were they with a product? Why? Why not?And people do share a lot. Companies cannot afford not to listen to this feedback, because it makes a difference to know how to satisfy your clients (or soothe their disappointments). Bob Pearson makes an extensive analysis of this new status quo in his brilliant book Pre-Commerce. The key take away lesson? The best ambassadors of your brand are clients themselves: give them a good quality product and create meaningful content and experiences around it, so that people themselves feel the urge to share their positive impression with others.
The role of experience/experiential marketing is not only to provide engaging, well-targeted content, but to deliver it in a way that appeals to as many senses as possible. Neuroscientists will tell you that the best way to remember something is to include as many of your senses in the moment of interaction. Offering people and adventure, an interaction with your product or another memorable experience will leave a stronger impression than any expensive TV ad with professional actors. Recent discoveries show more and more that the economic mantra of the perfectly rational consumer is simply not true: people get influenced by their emotions, by cultural and social biases and a well targeted user experience can reach effectively to these hidden buttons inside the consumer’s mind.
Red Bull is one of the best examples on how to engage people in this new way and create content that is highly viral. Red Bull Startos (the official mission name for Felix Baumgartner’s 39 km jump into the stratosphere) attracted the attention of tens of millions of viewers from around the world. Co-experiencing the jump, the audience had a unique opportunity to “participate visually” in an adventure beyond limits and even bet on Facebook where Felix will land. In the 6 months after this initiative, Red Bull revenues rose 7% up to 1.6 billion dollars.
These marketing opportunities of cosmic proportion are not to be missed. Recently KLM, the Royal Dutch airlines launched the campaign Claim your place in space: a balloon was sent into the atmosphere with a capsule bound to drop on the ground at a certain point: the user who gave the closest guess to this location won a suborbital space flight. Apart from this being a once in a lifetime prize that attracted substantial amount of likes and engagement for the online game, it also served as a great reminder to consumers that KLM competes with Virgin Galactic for the first commercial suborbital flights that are about to start in 2014. KLM also offers the lower price (around 70 000 euro) and has planned its flight for January 1st 2014.
As long as the campaign is well targeted (or touches basic psychological triggers, valid for larger groups of people) there are no restrictions for the type of industry. In the video above you can see a great campaign by a Belgian internet banking security company which lets certain consumers experience a controversial situation regarding their personal privacy and then other consumers co-experience the whole thing through watching the videos. The moral? Your entire life is online. Be careful how you share it.
Product tests are another popular way to offer users an experience they can later share. Mini adds value to this opportunity by turning the test drive into 1. a short movie script contest 2. exhilarating user experience 3. official ad , documenting all this. And surely a story the winner of the contest will be happy to share.
Despite the fact that these examples included companies with high revenues – a massive budget is not a necessary requirement for successful Experience marketing campaigns. All it takes is a good idea and a knowledge of the needs and interests of your consumers. Adcom, the Bulgarian distributor of Wacom tablets launched the campaign Wacom day in which it visits high schools, art schools and art academy lectures in Sofia and other Bulgarian cities and runs art competitions in which people not only try the product and get a grasp of its features, but also compete with others to show their best skills and ideas. The results? 30% rise in sales: one of the most successful campaigns for Wacom products in the region.
How does it work? The analysis of successful viral marketing campaigns, involving user experience, shows that positive emotions like excitement, amusement, curiosity, etc. attract people’s attention and are more likely to be shared. Negative emotions only have this effect, if there is a twist in the plot, which turns anxiety into a positive experience, like in the famous Carlsberg campaign with the cinema full of bikers., or in cases when fear is in fact part of what you are promoting, like in the remake of Carrie.
However you approach this opportunity, keep in mind the interests of your consumers. Be genuine and creative. Show them what they want to see and give them something to remember. They will return the favor by sharing with others how much they enjoyed experiencing your brand.