Customers want their voices heard like never before. They want to know that their concerns are acknowledged. They want to know that their wants are being met. And, they want to know that they are an active part of their chosen brands, digitally or physically.
Experiential marketing is the delivery method to meet these "wants." It is a necessity because consumers demand to be "in" on what is going on or they are "out" and moving on to another avenue.
1. Listen & Communicate
There have been a few big stories on casual dining in the last few weeks that bring the strategy of engaging with customers to light.
Fast food chain Chipotle realized that the GMO issue was a hot button for their clientele. This spurred the chain to become the first to cut the controversial ingredients. And it seems that listening to their customers is paying off for Chipotle as its stock rose 1.65% with an upgrade to "outperform" status.
Another company putting customer experience front and center is Avis, with its, "What Drives You" Campaign, which tells the personal journey of 7 accomplished professionals. According to Jeannine Haas, Chief Marketing Officer," [It] is a cutting-edge approach to advertising and brand-building that is right at the forefront of how leading companies are communicating with their customers today."
The campaign also included a social element that let followers communicate by submitting their own personal achievement story for a chance to win a BMW and a mentoring session with two of the seven executives featured in the campaign.
2. Acknowledge Needs & Deliver Innovative Solutions
Amazon knew that its customers often ran out of needed products.
To acknowledge this need and offer a solution, the company recently launched "Dash" a Wi-Fi enabled physical button pre-programmed with a specific replenishment order for 18 major brands. One push transmits the order directly to Amazon. Talk about innovation!
3. Offer Opportunities for Involvement
Consumers like to be in charge of their own brand experience. And,Target gives consumers the opportunity to vote on available Cartwheel savings offers. Whether, as a tie in to holidays, or for its one year Cartwheel anniversary, Target has come up with ways for consumers to get in on the action by scrolling through a rolling banner and clicking on the vote button to make their opinions heard. The offer with the most votes becomes a valid cartwheel offer.
Since its launch, over 7.7 million users have used the app to save over $84 million. Additionally, its integration with Facebook enables users to share their favorite offers to with friends. Casey Carl, president of omni-channel at Target noted, "...we listen to feedback from guests and act on it to continually..."
- Consumers have strongly felt concerns and opinions that can positively or negatively influence and impact perception of your brand. When you actively align with consumers and engage in open communication, you define your brand as responsive and caring.
- 2. Listen to your employee feedback and customer comments to fully grasp pain points so that you can develop value-based experiences that demonstrate you are listening.
- 3. Create ongoing strategies that enable you to react and respond in a timely manner with omnichannel updates or upgrades that provide customers with a high quality experiences in every channel of your business.
By listening, acknowledging and involving customers you are inviting them to incorporate your brand into their life. Mastering this critical type of engagement is the essential ingredient that sparks successful customer experiences.
Ernan Roman, President, Ernan Roman Direct Marketing Corp., (ERDM)