Consumers, moreover, are no longer only interested in a quality product. The experience becomes more and more important, whether in physical points of sale or online. This leads professionals to bet on experiential marketing.
Experiential marketing: what is it?
Experiential marketing refers to the theatricalization of the point of sale and the marketing process.
Experiential marketing was born out of the realization that consumers have different needs. The mentality of these consumers changes over the years. As mentioned earlier, quality products are no longer enough to satisfy them. Consumers demand a complete and unique experience when they buy.
Companies are making a change in their business and marketing practices. The product is no longer at the center of the strategy (product centric), and the consumer is taking its place (user centric). The customer is the priority of the merchant.
The theatricalization of the point of sale goes through sensorial marketing, using one or more of the 5 senses of the visitors. This allows to create a hyper-reality, in logic with experiential marketing. This notion refers to an improvement of the real world, of our reality as we know it.
This strategy is used today by 77% of marketers (source: EventTracker), who observe an increase in consumer satisfaction and loyalty.
How to apply an experiential marketing strategy?
Most brands use event communication to create a customer experience. The goal is to bring customers into the hyper-reality and thus implement their experiential marketing strategy, according to 93% of event marketers (source: The Event Marketing Evolution).
This logic is applied by the merchants during the theatricalization of the point of sale. It allows to create emotions in the consumer. This helps to create customer loyalty and competitive differentiation for the company. These two elements are very important to create a relationship with the visitors, and create a relationship of trust.
In experiential marketing, the use of the 5 senses of the consumer is very important. These senses represent the entry point into hyper-reality. This quasi-alternative reality can also be created by cutting the visitor off from the real world. In a physical store, this can be done through the sacralization of the act of selling and the offer.
When developing and implementing an experiential marketing strategy, one doesn’t just engage the senses of the consumer. In addition to sensory marketing, we use the emotions of the latter in an emotional marketing logic.
Fusion of senses and emotion to create the optimal customer experience
Experiential marketing therefore takes up the two notions of sensory marketing and emotional marketing. Therefore, applying an experiential marketing strategy involves multiple elements. Let’s first address the different senses:
Online or physical, colors are widely used by marketing professionals. Stimulation of the sight is particularly practiced online, since not all senses can be stimulated in web marketing.
Whether in an online store or in a physical store, the colors used are very important. Indeed, the sight is one of the only senses that we keep, which is still used, between the physical and digital worlds.
The first stimulating element in the discovery of a store is color. This is how we learn about the psychology of colors, and how we take all its elements into account. The psychology of colors is entirely part of experiential marketing, since it will allow you to direct, very indirectly, the consumer towards moods or emotions. Thus :
- Red: represents passion, hunger;
- Blue: represents security, confidence;
- Green: represents nature, balance;
- Yellow: represents innovation, optimism;
- Orange: represents energy, celebration;
- Purple: represents authority, spirituality;
- Black: represents sophistry;
Be careful, colors do not represent the same things in all cultures :
Red : this color is very popular among the Chinese, who use it a lot, unlike the Middle Eastern countries, who see this color as a color indicating danger, and evil ;
Blue: This color is a color everyone agrees on, it is seen in the same way in all cultures;
Green: this color is globally associated with nature, but in some cultures, such as Chinese culture, we see infidelity, or eternal life. Green also represents corruption in North Africa, and many others depending on the culture;
Yellow: this color represents happiness in North America, unlike in South Africa, where it represents death and mourning;
So pay attention to the emotions you want to convey with consumers.
Hearing plays a very important role in the implementation of an experiential marketing strategy. For example, no noise in a store can make the customer uncomfortable, or nearby work plays an untimely role in the consumer’s mind.
The classical solicitation of hearing is mostly through the use of music. Music plays a very important role in consumer behavior. It has already been shown that certain genres of music slightly influence the behaviour of the listener. For example, the tempo influences the heartbeat, which is why “sport” or “work” playlists can be found on streaming platforms.
The use of upbeat music genres, such as pop music, in online and offline commerce helps to put the visitor in a positive frame of mind.
Depending on the desired mood, choose the right music.
The sense of smell
The smell of a place creates an atmosphere conducive to sales, this is called olfactory marketing, part of the logic of experiential marketing. Unlike the other senses, smell is directly related to the areas of the brain that manage emotions, memories, and affectivity.
Smell is therefore one of the senses that should not be left aside. The objective is to link a product to a smell. When you see or hear about a brand product, you will be able to imagine the smell, thus showing a link between the consumer and the brand, as well as its products.
There are few companies where taste can be part of a buying experience, directly related to the products sold. Some industries therefore use taste as part of their experiential marketing.
In industries related to food and therefore taste, they allow consumers to taste the product before buying it, both to test it and to associate taste with the brand and its products.
Touch marketing is totally interrupted by digitalization. It is indeed difficult (for the moment), to touch objects from a distance, when buying on an E-Commerce store. On the other hand, the experience can be provided post-purchase, with a pleasant or original touch packaging.
Two objectives can be achieved through touch :
- Instrumental: allowing to get more information about the desired product (for example, the hardness of a material) ;
- Autotelic: obtain satisfaction (for example, the softness of a fabric).