The product or service sold may soon be forgotten but what we feel can live long in the memory. ‘Experience marketing’ is a phrase that is particularly prevalent in travel and tourism because ‘selling’ the benefits is much stronger than just selling a bed in a hotel room or a seat on a plane.
Feelings and emotion derive from experience. Start the experience for your customers as you mean to go on and make them feel special.The first touch-point for your customers is more than likely to be a digital channel – usually your website or your social media channels – does this give them the same feeling and experience as they get when they interact with you offline? It really should.Make your customers feel valued and you’re on the right path to giving them a memorable experience.
By giving people something to share you’re helping take your offline experience online. Hashtags and interactive content are a great way of doing this. Interactive content that continues your story online is particularly popular with youngsters and an effective way of building brand loyalty.
Throughout 2014, American restaurant chain TGI Friday’s have been using the hashtag ‘#burgerface’ to encourage their customers to upload photos of themselves enjoying a burger to social media. They promoted the hashtag in their restaurants and the results showcase their product (the burgers), show their customers enjoying themselves and are an example of brand values in action.
We recently ran a similar campaign for Cornish Orchards, encouraging their customers to use Instagram and submit photos of themselves enjoying a bottle of Cornish Gold.
The phrase ‘show, don’t tell’ is drummed into every aspiring writer from a young age and it is more applicable than ever when it comes to experience marketing.In fiction, it allows the reader to experience the story through actions, senses and feelings. The best marketing, digital or traditional, does this too.
Let’s use a spa as an example. I could say: ‘Come and enjoy a day relaxing in our spa.’ I’m telling you that there’s a spa and it is relaxing. There’s nothing wrong with this but we can do better. How about: ‘Cast your worries aside as you unwind in the blissful tranquility of our sanctuary.’ Now we’re showing the benefits of the product rather than just telling the customer what they’re going to get.
To implement this in your marketing, think about how you want your customers to feel and then think about what it is about your product that can make them feel like this.
One of the best ways to market your experience is to let your customers do it for you. Give them something to talk about and…guess what…they’ll talk about it!Word of mouth marketing (WOMM) is a big deal. More than 50% of purchase decisions are influenced by word-of-mouth, 81% of consumers are influenced by word-of-mouth and 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family.
And what we’re seeing now is that peer-to-peer recommendations through social media are having a big impact on purchasing decisions. People will ‘talk’ about their experiences (good or bad) on social media but thankfully nearly 70% of brand posts are positive.
In short, give your customer an experience that makes them want to shout from the rooftops about how positive it is.
Stories are our universal language. They are the birth of communication and the oil that greases the wheel of civilisation. We have moved from drawings scrawled on cave walls to the communications revolution of the 21st century.
We now have more platforms, more ways and more methods to tell our stories than ever before. This empowers us as people, it empowers businesses and it empowers the customer.
Find out what your story is, find out the best way to tell it and see how it enriches every experience your customer has with you.