"I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.” -Confucius
Experiences are powerful things. It’s one thing to hear or see something; it's another thing entirely to experience it.
Psychology studies have long found that not everyone can process and absorb knowledge visually or auditorily. The more effective way to learn for the majority of people is for them to engage in some sort of activity. “Learning by doing,” if you will.
One such study is reported in the Atlantic. To sum it up, people who spent money on experiences were shown to have greater satisfaction than those who bought things. Experiences have been proven to provide “more enduring happiness.”
Many marketers today have been picking up on this and applying these principles to their own field. Experience or experiential marketing, has the goal to create larger, more significant points of contact between a brand and its customers.
This will immerse customers in a memorable and positive experience. In an era where traditional commercial marketing seems to have lost its touch, experiential marketing is a breath of fresh air for many consumers.
Why experience marketing works
The goal of experience marketing is not only to connect to consumers in a more personal, intimate way, but also to create brand advocates and loyalists.
If experience marketing is done correctly, a company can even create a zero budget marketing campaign. This is because word-of-mouth advertising is created through Talk Triggers.
Talk Triggers are carefully crafted experiences that trigger conversations. People who enjoy a positive experience with a brand or service will talk about it in their social circles and on social media, causing more people to become keen to jump on the bandwagon and experience it for themselves.
Editor's note: I strongly recommend reading Jay Baer's book. Buy it here!
Experience Marketing conveys legitimacy
It’s one thing to say you’re confident about a product or service. It is another thing entirely to have people actually experience it themselves and give them the freedom to say what they want about it.
This phenomenon has made review sites and services like Yelp and TripAdvisor so popular. Experience also gives legitimacy to what’s being advertised. Consumers will respect a raw, genuine experience over the glossy, scripted scenes that traditional advertising usually favors.
Are experiences changing Advertising?
Advertising has also seen changes of late. We live in a new world of advertising. Product unboxing, influencer 'stories', review videos, paid Instagram and YouTube features are the new norm.
But this is no longer exclusive to online channels. Instead of using actors, scripts and studios, home videos of folks living brand centered experiences has become a go-to for many publicity and advertising campaigns.
Universal Studio's recent "Come and Join Us" campaign was entirely composed of footage of multiple families on vactions 'IRL' (in real life).
Makes you want to live the same experiences, doesn't it?
What’s probably the most important thing about experiencial marketing is that it helps brands and companies understand customers better.
Experience marketing just isn’t possible without a genuine understanding of the customer. And given that the customers of today are much more discerning and fickle, understanding the customer base is essential not only to marketing, but to doing business as a whole.
This will create a win-win scenario for many brands, since better customer understanding leads to better customer satisfaction, which in turn creates greater loyalty.