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Experiential Marketing: The Experience Consumers Crave

Experiential marketing is the act of creating an experience so that a person feels an emotional connection to a product, brand, company, person, or idea. While the name itself is relatively new, the concept behind the technique is much older. Companies have always used things such as publicity stunts, special events, and product placement to elicit an emotional connection with their market. In more recent years, however, the concept has enjoyed greater prominence in the marketing world and has become much more specialized.

...experiential marketing allows the consumer to test and experience the product for themselves. If done correctly, these types of campaigns will create a sense of rapport between the consumer and the product that will grow with each exposure.

The rise of experiential marketing can be attributed mainly to the fact that traditional media is just not connecting with the public the way it did in the past. Experiential marketing, however, has proven extremely lucrative for certain brands.

In today's world, where attention spans are short and distractions high, the most effective marketing campaigns are ones that connect quickly with a consumer. The marketing must make an immediate impression and hold the attention of the consumer long enough to make an impact. With experiential marketing, this is achieved through interaction and creating a memorable experience. Unlike traditional marketing that seeks to sell the consumer on a product or service, experiential marketing allows the consumer to test and experience the product for themselves. If done correctly, these types of campaigns will create a sense of rapport between the consumer and the product that will grow with each exposure.

This rapport is developed by focusing on the consumer's whole experience rather than a certain individual marketing piece. The goal is to tap into the emotional part of a person that makes them feel comfort, pleasure, and a sense of practicality. It seeks to appeal to the whole of a person – their emotions, senses, and logic.

In order to do this effectively, a marketer must have a strong grasp of the mindset of their target market and what will elicit these types of responses from them. By understanding how a consumer thinks and feels, it's possible to create a campaign that pulls them toward a certain product and entices them to act.

For instance, Samuel Jackson's movie, Snakes on a Plane, had an interactive feature on their website. A person could enter the name and phone number of a friend, and they would receive a pre-recorded message inviting them to see the movie. It worked. Opening night for the movie was a huge success.

When using this type of marketing technique, it's important for the consumer to have a seamless experience. This means that the marketing and the product must match. Marketing is not effective if it doesn't reach a company's target market. For instance, a luxury car maker holding a surfing contest where the majority of folks in attendance are too young to purchase the product would yield no positive results.

Likewise, an event that has a clear brand but no intended result will not be productive. For instance, a kiosk set up for a company that doesn't have a clear plan in connecting with its consumers will end up being a place where people simply stop to browse. It will fail to make the emotional connection necessary to elicit any action from the consumer.

Experiential marketing is the act of engaging a consumer in an interactive experience that creates an emotional connection to a product or service. It's not just a sales pitch, it's a user experience. For wary consumers who are bombarded with ads and marketing ploys, it's a refreshing change of pace. Businesses that employ this method are creating strong connections with their target market, and seeing profitable results.