Grow to thrive in the new ‘experience economy’

The Internet revolution didn’t just change the way we communicate, socialise and consume entertainment, it changed the way we experience things.

Today, experiences no longer live only in moments, but along a time-line from their first happening to their broadcast and then well beyond as they’re shared.

This shift in human behaviour has seen experiences become a powerful form of social content and currency and affirmed for most brands, the value of experiential marketing (EM).

The following are some handy tips for thriving in the new experience economy.

A promise is a promise

Brands commitment to consumer-centric marketing is a commitment to delivering rich and relevant and continuous brand experiences. Why? savvy consumers expect brands to meet, or ideally exceed experiential promises – and they are quick to oust those who don’t.

Digital is crucial – but real world interaction still rules

It’s true. Digital and social make it easy to achieve many of the same things we used to do in the real world, but with a lot less effort. The downside however is that digital and social media have become victims of their own incredible success. People have maxed out their friends’ circles, online advertising has become wallpaper and brands’ online ‘engagement’ tactics now often fail to deliver. Digital strategies that integrate and encourage real world participation provide crucial context.

Experiences have become a powerful social currency

We know people now live equal on and offline lives. Experiences new, old, good and bad – are immediately broadcast and shared. Experiences have become a powerful vehicle for social expression, conversation and earning status amongst online friends.

Take an integrated approach to maximise reach and ROI

The most effective EM strategies are integrated and deployed through a mix of live, online and in-store channels. This ensures experiences are anchored in real-world interaction, whilst being geared to achieve maximum reach and are measurable against hard business objectives. An integrated approach also reflects the media and entertainment consumption habits of today’s consumers.

Be crystal-clear about your core objectives

The evaluation of any EM campaign relies on the clarity or single-mindedness of the campaign objectives. There are many metrics available for measuring EM campaigns, from awareness to sentiment and sales. Ensure activations are geared to succeed by focusing your expectations on no more than two key measurables.

Design robust, ROI-focused experiences

Derived from traditional user-experience design, choice architecture and experiential marketing principles, rigorous experiential design processes ensure equal consideration is given to tracking return on investment and return on engagement. Identify objectives, activities, outcomes and measures (rational and emotional) at every stage of the experiential campaign.

Identify the core emotion you want to elicit

Identifying a specific or core emotion you want your EM activations to elicit from your target audience is critical to the experiential design process. Remember, the primary role of your experiential agency should be to create and develop emotional connections between you and your target audience.

Embrace the new experience economy, because it’s here to stay

As a consumer-centric marketing discipline, EM is inseparably linked with, and shaped by, constantly evolving media consumption behaviours.

While markets and economies will continue to fluctuate, shifting the balance of consumer influence from ‘value’ to ‘experience’, one thing will prevail: ‘experience’, as a key consideration in brand and campaign strategies, is here to stay.

Gavin McDonough
BY Gavin McDonough ON 30 May 2013
Gavin co-founded URBAN in 2002. In the 10 years since, he has developed multi award winning experiential and promotional strategies and ideas for Coca-Cola, Parmalat, Logitech, Havaianas and Samsung.