The Four P’s of Experiential Marketing
Marketers that have been in the business long enough can recite the “Four Ps” of marketing off of the top of their heads: product, price, place, and promotion. These Four Ps refer to a marketer’s responsibility to create the right product, price it correctly, distribute it to the consumer, and promote it to the target audience. But according to Scott Schenker, a senior-level executive at Microsoft, there are four other Ps that marketers need to consider when planning an experiential marketing event. Here are the four P’s of experiential marketing:
Anyone who attends your events should know that your brand is sponsoring the event the moment that they walk through the door. This is true of all guests, even those that are not extremely loyal customers or very familiar with your brand. But, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the space should be filled to the brim with logos and branding. Of course, every event should have branding, but guests should still be able to tell it’s your event even if the logos and slogans were all removed.
For example, imagine walking into an Apple store. If the products were no longer on display, would you still be able to tell you were in an Apple store? Most people would immediately recognize the clean, all-white aesthetic and associate it with the Apple brand. Try to do this at your event so guests feel as if they are immersing themselves completely into the brand experience that you have created for them. If you can pull this off, then you will have mastered the first P of experiential marketing.
The second P of experiential marketing according to Schenker is purpose. A successful experiential marketing event serves some sort of purpose. Many brands make the mistake of assuming the purpose of an event is to reach a goal that will benefit the company. For instance, they may define the purpose of an event as “raising brand awareness” or “generating leads.” But, the purpose of an event should be defined with the consumer in mind. What is the purpose of them being at the event? What are they getting out of attending the event? They don’t care whether you are successful in raising brand awareness or generating new leads, so define their purpose instead of focusing on yours.
Schenker suggests that it doesn’t take much to give guests a sense of purpose once they arrive at the event. In fact, he mentions that even displaying the brand’s tagline throughout the event is enough to help guests understand their purpose. For instance, the international cosmetic company L’Oreal has a tagline that states “Because you’re worth it.” Posting this tagline throughout an event would make it clear that guests are there to explore ways they can pamper themselves with L’Oreal’s products. This isn’t the only way to create a sense of purpose, but it may be the simplest way for brands to master this “P” of experiential marketing.
Everyone who represents your brand, from your employees to your brand ambassadors, should show pride in what they are doing at the event. Guests will be able to tell when someone who is representing your brand doesn’t truly care about the event or its purpose. This indifference will rub off on anyone who this person encounters, which could affect the atmosphere of the event.
Make sure the brand ambassadors that are working your event know how to greet guests, engage in friendly conversations, and give off positive vibes. Brand ambassadors should also be warned that they are always “on” even when they are not talking face-to-face with a customer. This means they should know it’s never acceptable to roll their eyes or give off a bad attitude when they think no one is watching. In today’s world, someone is always watching, and if it’s a guest, they will pick up on the brand ambassador’s lack of pride for your company. If you want guests to be excited about your brand, then the people that are working for you should be excited, too.
You may think that this “P” has to do with promoting the event to ensure that people attend, but that’s not the case. When Schenker refers to promotion, he means the opportunity to cross-promote. As you are planning an experiential marketing event, look for opportunities to cross-promote other products or services that you offer.
However, make sure you keep the audience in mind when deciding how or if you should cross-promote other products or services. In order to master this “P” of experiential marketing, the cross-promotion must feel natural. You should only choose products or services that the guests at your event will benefit from, otherwise they’re not worth cross-promoting.