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  • Writer's pictureBrook Jay

What’s Experiential Marketing’s Version of Spotify Wrapped?

Updated: Mar 10, 2020

Over 80% of consumers crave personalization. Is your marketing giving it to them?

Ask yourself this question: When was the last time a brand sent you an email that started “Hi [Your First Name Here],” and you actually believed that someone manually typed in your name?

Personalization, across all of marketing, continues to be a bigger and bigger deal. Consumers are shunning the typical mass messaging we’ve become accustomed to — but more importantly, consumers aren’t dumb! Personalization needs to be done right… meaning it’s authentic, relatable, conversational and actually personal.

Consumers crave it.

Over 80% say they’ll give their business to brands that can offer them a personalized experience. We see that in the prominence of brilliant companies that are prioritizing personalization — take Stitch Fix and Spotify as two great examples.

Spotify’s end of the year Spotify Wrapped campaign each year is the ultimate personalization — self-expression based on hard data. Year after year, it never ceases to please, disappoint, and shock consumers with their music preferences. And we see it everywhere, Instagram Stories, Facebook posts, pledges to listen to better music in the next year, the next decade.

Stitch Fix isn’t a timely personalized campaign, but a brand promise. Personal styling done virtually, and arriving at your door? That hits on many of the top trends of the year. Done right, it fits the consumer’s lifestyle, the consumer’s budget and most importantly, the clothes fit!

These two companies have been able to capitalize on individual consumer needs and wants with powerful data, rather than demographics and user personas.

CMO of Mastercard Raja Rajamannar said it well:

“Consumers want a brand to understand their likes, dislikes and the things they are most passionate about.”

So the question is: how do we bring this level of authentic personalization to experiential marketing?

It’s more challenging, on the surface. Events aren’t designed around individuals, but rather around the target audience a company and brand want to reach. And a particular event only happens once. It’s not possible to keep inviting users back to the same event to gather more data or to create a more individualized experience. We seemingly only get one shot…

But what people fail to realize is that’s enough. Experiential marketing is the only form of marketing that is inherently personal, because how each person participates is innately different. We create the elements of an experience, but participants create their own experience within that.

Any experience designed well can never be the same twice. It is always colored by the people taking part. It’s a multi-faceted experience versus a one-size fits all event.

How do we create that differential?

The answer often lies in another one of 2020’s top experiential trends that I recently discussed: the five senses.

Experiential marketing based on sensation is a unique and reliable way to bring personalization to any event, for any target audience. Like I said, consumers aren’t dumb. They know their data is being collected at experiential marketing events…experiential marketing is opt-in. The difficulty is convincing them it’s worth opting-in. And guaranteeing a personalized sensation is a key to getting that YES.

Nike has Shoe Labs, where users can personalize a sneaker on the spot and have it shipped to their home. A few years back I slapped my company logo on those bad boys, and rock my All Terrain Dunks all the time! It can’t get cooler than that.

Louis Vuitton did something similar last holiday season, with unique images painted onto their classic travel cases, while you stand and watch! An LV that no one else has? It’s not hard to sell that idea!

If you’ve heard of these activations already, it’s because they are still rare, and pop when they happen. Users are hooked, and always have something to remember the brand by, bringing them back time and time again. As personalization across marketing shifts and becomes something new and more powerful, experiential marketing can’t fall behind.

As more and more brands do these hyper-personalized events, we can expect to see experiential’s profile rise within the marketing mix.

That’s because brands are going to get more bang for their buck — quantitative data from personalized experiences leads to more effective marketing.

Take our activation with Penfolds Wine targeting key customers. as a model. Each guest of the event had an RFID tag that they carried throughout the evening. These were prefilled with demographic data, gathered from RSVPs. Each time you went for a new glass of wine, you tapped into that station with your tag. That immediately sent live data to the brand, about who is drinking which wines, what varietal they preferred and plenty more! This information was utilized by Penfolds’ sales teams to provide thoughtful outreach to their customers after the fact. It also helped them not hit but surpass that quarter’s sales goal.

Think about all of the ways this personalization can be built into other brands’ sales cycle.

Activations like this will bolster experiential marketing as a strong, strategic platform for data and as a primary platform for personalization.

In fact, experiential marketing is a gold mine for marketers; a triple threat:

1. It’s very personal. We design it that way, which allows the consumer to do what they are comfortable with, creating “their” best experience.

2. It’s shared. In the age of digital, we are sheltered and not interacting with anyone. Not so with experiential. It builds relationships between consumer and consumer, and between consumer and brand.

3. It’s collectable. With live and actionable data that can’t be beaten.

Personalization in marketing is here to stay, and brands need to capitalize within all aspects of the marketing mix. The trend is catching up to All Terrain. Within the industry, we are in a unique position to harness both the cravings for the personalized and the shared. In other channels, they seem contradictory and at odds with one another; in experiential marketing, we can cater to both.

Consumers are expecting personalization at all points in their user journey. Experiential marketing offers a perfect platform to combine personalization with real-time data and unique, individualized, tangible takeaways to remember a brand by.

When are you going to opt-in?

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