When Experiential Marketing Works


On a trip to Disney World I had the opportunity to take in the Test Track at Epcot and was able to witness experiential marketing at its best.  The Test Track is presented by General Motors’ Chevrolet and involves the design and testing of a virtual concept car.

In the first stage of the pavilion, participants are given an opportunity to design a concept car. They can customize the shape, color, engine, along with several other features.  Participants have a set amount of time to design the vehicle before moving into the next phase.

The ride portion of the test track is where participants test their concept car.  Each vehicle is assigned a code that is loaded to their magic band or Disney card, so when they enter the ride stage, the code can be loaded and used to test their specific vehicle under a number of parameters like capability, efficiency, responsiveness and power.  This is where the fun begins as participants load into a vehicle and go through a series of test tracks.  Once the ride is complete, they receive information on how their concept car performed.

Following the ride, participants can take part in a number of interactive experiences.  They can create commercials for their concept car, take pictures with other Chevy concept vehicles in a showroom and a take part in a digital driving table that allows participants to drive a mini version of their car around a track.

Experiential marketing is all about helping consumers experience a brand. It’s objective is to stimulate as many senses as possible in that experience and to create a memorable and emotional connection between the consumer and the brand.

As I walked through this pavilion and witnessed the excitement on the faces of many of the participants as they tested their concept cars and posed for pictures, it was evident to see that the Chevrolet Test Track is one of the best examples of experiential marketing that I’ve seen.

Advertising Alone is Not Marketing

If you ask most people to define marketing they usually say advertising. While this may be true, it is certainly not the main aspect of marketing.

Have you heard on the four P’s of marketing?  These include product, place, price and promotion.  Advertising is really only one of many tools available for use under the “promotion” category.

Here’s an example to illustrate why thinking advertising is marketing is incorrect and detrimental to your marketing efforts.   Say you are holding an event and ticket sales are not going well.  People often try to do everything in their power to get the word out about the event, often resorting to a shot-gun approach to advertising (advertising everywhere and through all mediums).  And many times when an event fails, blame goes to the advertising effort.

The reality of it is, you need to have the right mix of the other components (p’s) of marketing.  You must understand your target audience and then define your product, price and place.  If sales aren’t going well, maybe the product or event isn’t a good one, or maybe the price is too high.  Maybe the distribution method for purchasing your product or service is wrong (place).

Companies and non profits need to look at marketing as something much bigger than advertising or social media posts.

Offer something unique and get to really know your ideal customer.  Then work with all of the 4 P’s of marketing to create a complete plan.

My 10 Digital Media Discoveries

Digital Media Summit 2014

Digital Media Summit 2014

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Digital Media Summit in Toronto and I wanted to share some of the key discoveries I made during the course of the conference.  I believe these ten tips can help any marketer steer through the digital landscape.

1. Prepare a team of people who are not like you.  Determine your skills and weaknesses.  Find people who are strong where you are weak.

2. Failure is considered education. Fail forward – pioneer.

3. People’s behaviours are dictated by their peers.  Give your brand over to your consumers.

4. Understand your audience and how they are talking to each other. Let your audience guide your content strategy.

5. Relevance is key to social sharing. Whatever is happening in pop culture, is important.

6. Be clear on objectives.  Always ask, “what are we trying to achieve?”

7. Don’t get comfortable.  Things change and the industry depends on change.

8. Measurement will be different based on the industry.  Know what you are measuring and what it means.

9. Small businesses have the ability to be more agile in the social media landscape.  Research and experiment with new technologies.

10. Tell your story in the day and age we live in.  Most people are still advertising like its 1980.

For more information on the next Digital Media Summit, click this link.