Beyond Marketing. Create Experiences Customers Remember

Photo courtesy of : Jakub Mosur Photography

Every business must have a marketing strategy in order to get customers and build a brand. However, creating experiences customers remember goes beyond marketing.

At Dreamforce, Salesforce’s big, annual event for customers, partners, and media, Ramon Ray, founder of Smart Hustle, attended an information-packed session about experiential marketing.

Panelists included Tony Hawk (famed skateboarder); Lauren Gores Ireland (co-founder, Summer Fridays); Megan Runser, Dell; and Clayton Rubensaal, American Express.

Here’s a play by play rundown of how to create experiences customers remember.

Experiential marketing is not just for big brands.

Every business can put thought into what they can do to go beyond traditional marketing. It’s not enough to put a logo on an exhibit table.

Small is ok.

Lauren shared how, instead of doing “big” marketing campaigns, they’ve seen success in hosting intimate events, with 50 or so fans of their brand and having one-to-one conversations. Of course, Summer Fridays loves the power of social media. However, in an age when “everyone is online”, it’s refreshing and memorable to connect in real life.

Community feedback is key.

A panelist suggested the importance of simply asking the question “what do you want from us?”, and watch how your community responds and gives you their advice. Instagram polls are also a great way to get feedback from your community.

Authenticity is everything.

Tony shared that authenticity is absolutely imperative to great experiential marketing. He said you can’t fake being a great skateboarder. You are or you aren’t. Tony and his team ride with the community and the kids. They’re a part of the experience. Tony’s a huge fan of social media and loves how it enables him to get immediate results from his community.

Innovation from a blank slate.

Meagan said that she encourages her team to innovate, not by doing what everyone else is doing but by doing some fresh and different and new. She shared several examples of Dell’s success in experiential marketing in particular at SXSW. For example, Dell created a line of motherboards, in partnership with Nikki Reed. The computer motherboards were created from e-waste and showcased at SXSW.

Information Overload.

Lauren said that we are all overloaded with so much information. Businesses must work hard to gain trust and keep trust in their community. Clayton explained that as people trust your business, purchase intent goes up. As as they lose trust in your business, purchase intent goes down.

Risk-taking is essential.

You will not get all of your marketing right. In fact, if you’re not failing and making mistakes you’re playing it too safe. Meagan said that it’s important to make gambles and take strategic risks.

Failure Happens.

I asked the panelists about failure. How do you know when to stop something? Tony said that skateboarding is all about failure. He said you give up when you’ve tried every angle but things are still not working. Lauren’s advice was to remain flexible and adapt to change. She said that things they did a year ago, just don’t work today. And things that might not have worked earlier, might work just great today.

Measuring success.

Experiential marketing is super challenging and it's an evolution. Meagan said that marketers should become more quantitative and not just qualitative and make sure your marketing is part of a broader.

video marketing - Photo Credit Jonsar Studios

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