HOW TO PLAN AN EX­PE­RI­ENCE

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In April, 2016, the brand gave out 500 sin­gle pink roses to com­muters ex­it­ing a New York sub­way sta­tion. While the fi­nan­cial out­lay was min­i­mal, the im­pact was sig­nif­i­cant. A small sticker with the Glossier In­sta­gram han­dle on each rose also led to shar­ing and en­gage­ment on so­cial me­dia.

It can pay to col­lab­o­rate too, as mat­tress start-up Casper learnt when they part­nered with Stan­dard ho­tels to of­fer cheap deals on last-minute rooms be­fore the SXSW fes­ti­val in Austin, Texas. Every room was fit­ted with a Casper mat­tress and in­cluded ad­di­tional (and so­cial me­dia-share­able!) ex­tras, such as the chance to be read a bed­time story by a stand-in ‘mum’.

Most im­por­tantly, the point is to learn, not to earn! The suc­cess of an ex­pe­ri­ence mar­ket­ing con­cept isn’t about how much stock you shift, it’s about ed­u­cat­ing your­self about your cus­tomer’s likes, dis­likes and how to earn their loy­alty.

In its fourth year, 29Rooms in­sti­gated a tick­et­ing pro­gram for the first time to cut back on wait­ing times for vis­i­tors. They’re also ex­plor­ing con­tro­ver­sial themes, such as pol­i­tics. A part­ner­ship with the Women’s March last year al­lowed vis­i­tors to send post­cards to rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Amer­i­can Congress.

“We weren’t sure if the guests would take the time, but we wanted to try,” says Piera. “It turned out that we sent over 6000 post­cards from our guests. And we heard our au­di­ence say, ‘Wow, that was ac­tu­ally cathar­tic. I want to do that more of­ten!’”

Ul­ti­mately, ex­pe­ri­ence mar­ket­ing is about con­nect­ing with your au­di­ence in a way that in­vites them on a jour­ney of ex­plo­ration and dis­cov­ery. As Piera says, “By be­ing gen­er­ous to your au­di­ence and cre­at­ing a plat­form for them to en­gage with, you make space for guests to share your mes­sage or­gan­i­cally.”

WORDS

Mar­ket­ing strate­gist Steph Barr worked on the award-win­ning Mel­bourne In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val cam­paign, The Emo­tion Sim­u­la­tor, which let movie-watch­ers ‘feel’ a film be­fore they saw it by elec­tro-stim­u­lat­ing their fa­cial ex­pres­sions. Here, she shares her con­cept check­list:

Is it rel­e­vant?

If your goal is to cre­ate buzz, ex­pe­ri­ence cam­paigns are great. They’re also good, if you have a site-spe­cific prod­uct or want peo­ple to trial a new launch en-masse and see how it stim­u­lates a crowd.

Is it nec­es­sary?

You need to ask your­self if the same re­ac­tion could be achieved through any other medium. Or would an ex­pe­ri­ence en­hance un­der­stand­ing, ad­vo­cacy and con­nec­tion? When a con­cept is hard to ex­plain, it can be help­ful to lever­age touch and smell in ad­di­tion to sight and sound.

What’s the pay-off?

How can you drive ad­vo­cacy, or cre­ate leads and con­ver­sions for your prod­uct? Can you de­velop an easy and en­joy­able sign-up process and re­ward for par­tic­i­pa­tion?

Is it share­able?

What ad­di­tions, such as vouch­ers, photo booths or pic­tures, can you in­clude to help peo­ple share the ex­pe­ri­ence on so­cial me­dia and with their friends or fam­ily?

Was it suc­cess­ful?

On the day, ask peo­ple for feed­back with fun, quick ques­tion­naires. Give prizes as a thank-you for their time. Know your aims from the start so you can see whether an ac­ti­va­tion is a cost-ef­fec­tive mar­ket­ing plan.

AMY MOL­LOY

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