“If you have a visual product, then you should be showing it visually,” Mick McCarthy, creative director at ZehnerGroup, said in the company’s new report titled, Science Behind the Art of Experiential Marketing.
That mindset is the theme of the report that focuses on how marketers can magnify their customer engagement/customer loyalty efforts through an effective use of experiential marketing.
“To cultivate brand loyalty, particularly as consumers are tuning out conventional advertising, marketers need to combine data with live customer engagement and reap the data from that combination to inform future business performance,” the report notes. “From pop-up shops to cutting-edge augmented reality (AR), the newest approaches to experiential brand marketing harness hypothetical and demographic information. The combination of online and real-world consumer behavior starts to form a complete user experience for retailers. Nimble businesses are seeing data inform the whole customer experience. It’s paying off by offering a deeper understanding of the consumer.”
What’s more, the report points to the following:
“IKEA lets you transform your space with their augmented reality experience that helps you put their furniture right into the action while gathering information on popular color options,” the report says. “Mod romances you with their charming pop-up shops across the country while gathering key persona information to inform their future online buying choices.”
If customers are drawing on available product information to make purchase decisions, companies should be collecting data on these behaviors to connect the dots between the first spark of interest in products and the final sale, wherever and however it occurs, the report states.
“By tracking how customers shift gears between virtual and in-person encounters and ultimately decide on a purchase, merchandisers can offer better options for speeding inventory into their customers’ hands,” the report says. “For the long haul, retailers must develop informed strategies for improving pricing, inventory, payment and delivery options, outlet expansions, and individual store success— as well as driving repeat business. Marketers have to worry about far more than simply enticing customers to points of entry; they must also consider the journey to eventual points of sale, too.”
ZehnerGroup cites another retail example in its report:
Retailer Outerknown leveraged first-hand data from its marketing efforts and turned them into real-life experiences. Email marketing is a core part of its strategy and the company alternates between sharing products and stories from its Journey collection – a collection which shares consumer stories that reinforce its brand experience. The success of this campaign, the report notes, informed Outerknown’s next in-person experience for consumers: In-store Instagram-like highlights of the stories with the clothes that helped make it happen. As a result, sales soared.
Marketers that combine behavioral data with real-time insights from first-hand data sources, they can bring the consumer into the brand experience.
“As retail marketers, we need to walk a fine and nuanced line when it comes to brand stories to stay genuine and avoid being dismissed,” the report says. “The key to retailer success will be to infuse that brand story into every touch point along the way that shows the consumer that you hear what they’re saying to you. Are you listening to your data? Savvy brands will take that hum of data and combine it with flexible visual media and memorable live customer engagement to create a complete brand experience. When you tap into customer emotions, relevancy, and deterministic behavior, you have a recipe for conversion, online or off.”