Marketing

Welcome to the Experience Economy

Experiential marketing has been all the rage this year, partially fueled by the growing challenge of engaging hard-to-reach millennials. That said, are branded Ferris wheels really what's necessary to stay relevant? (We’re talking about Snap’s latest ad at Cannes.)

According to recent Eventbrite research, experiences trump things, with 3 in 4 millennials choosing to spend money on an experience rather than a material item. For instance, Americans attend more live events than ever before, looking for that unique authenticity found through in-person engagements.

The millennial generation has effectively changed the game for brands, who have to think more creatively (and authentically) in order to reach consumers and survive. Here are three of the top approaches utilized by brands to make a lasting impression:

  1. Host an event. Putting on your own event is a great way to engage your network. Make sure you know who your audience is in order to communicate with them in a way that’s meaningful - and fun.

  2. Experiential marketing. While social media engagement and the “fun” factor are great, forgo the Ferris wheel and instead, focus on creating an interactive connection with your audience. Experiential marketing is a two-way conversation and can offer an invaluable space to engage consumers.

  3. Guerrilla marketing. Guerrilla tactics are an unconventional, out-of-the-box way to achieve higher impact and visibility at a lower cost. By introducing an element of surprise, guerrilla marketing has high potential for virality, helping to amplify brand engagement both online and offline.

Interested in learning more? Here are 7 guerrilla marketing examples to inspire your next campaign.

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Branding vs. Marketing - What Comes First?

When it comes to startups, entrepreneurs tend to focus on developing a minimum viable product. Once early adopters' minimal needs are satisfied, the focus shifts to marketing the product in order to grow users.

But what about branding?  

A common misconception is that branding is only about the logo and design. While branding does consist of what the public sees, it’s more about how they perceive. Marketing and branding are not interchangeable, and below is a closer look at what distinguishes the two from each other:

  1. Branding is strategic; marketing is tactical. To put it plainly, branding is who you are and marketing is how you build awareness. While marketing focuses on positioning your product or service, branding is the process of building your personality, voice and message into your company’s DNA.

  2. Marketing activates buyers; branding creates loyalists. Marketing’s focus is driving user action (e.g. clicking on a link). Branding goes beyond customer acquisition and focuses on turning customers into advocates.

  3. You drive your marketing, but customers determine your branding. You hold the power over your tone and content; however, the customer ultimately defines your brand - and their perception of your company influences what they share with their network.

Thus, while marketing and branding go hand-in-hand, branding is what ultimately drives your marketing campaigns and shapes how you do business. Before you make the shift from product to marketing, be sure to consider how you want your company to be perceived, what your vision is and why your product or company exists.

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Interested in learning more about the difference between marketing and branding?

Check out this article.