Where does XM fit in the Marketing Mix?
Stop trying to do backflips and somersaults to make your marketing work harder.
Why is experiential marketing getting invited to the table last?
It’s 2020, and we’re still not in an age in which a brand will immediately think of experiential marketing when they sit down to discuss their marketing mix and determine what partners they want to utilize.
Experiential marketing still doesn’t have an automatic seat at the brand owner’s table. It should.
So often in an age of digital overload in general, experiential can be the killer act that adds oomph throughout the rest of the marketing mix. XM platforms are often the marketing pillar that will engage with a consumer first, before commercials, social or digital ads.
Sure, I’ve seen progress. But it seems many brands still do back flips and somersaults to make their marketing work harder, when a backflip and somersault may be exactly what’s missing.
Our agency, All Terrain Collective, has been around for over two decades and we are still regularly pulled into last minute projects; often to either dig another agency out or pull off a stunt that had been pitched months ago, just now got approval and needs a team to execute immediately.
Contrary to this behavior, XM agencies are not order takers. We are very strategic and experienced brand marketers.
2020 is the time to put experiential marketing on the main stage.
The key is to view a live experience as the fire-starter to a cross-channel campaign, not an add-on or an afterthought.
When you can marry experiential and programmatic content together, you not only extend the lifespan and reach of an immersive live experience — you boost the digital programmatic content. Consumers judge a brand more than ever by what you do, not just what you claim you are. Strategic experience design, when done right, carries clout for consumers.
What’s more, putting experiential first allows a series of events powerfully impacting say, 500 people, to be purposefully designed for an exponential digital afterlife to be built-in. That can be via on-going episodic video, social or other audience-driven content. All of which provides cumulative buzz and a springboard for Live Event II.
From one experiential campaign your brand can have weeks and weeks of content. Extending the lifeline of experiential events maximizes its ROE — Return on Experience. You will see this realized in a recent project we have done with D&G and Stacy’s Pita Chips. [LINK]
Sometimes, if you do it really well, you can even have years and years. Just look at Dove’s Real Beauty campaign, one of the best XM-turned digital campaign strategies ever.
After partnering with female photographers for the exhibit “Beyond Compare: Women Photographers On Real Beauty” in 2004, the brand launched Real Beauty, turning the exhibit into a digital marketing campaign. Billboards and videos are still being launched today — 16 years later.
Dove was able to turn a singular exhibit into a continued conversation by capitalizing on their experiential platform and sharing that through the other areas of the marketing mix. Talk about longevity and reach!
The digital content that experiential marketing can produce is also more meaningful than the recycled, overused language and strategies we see all across the internet.
Because once again, it’s real! It’s generated from real users, active participants and human touch. It’s an extension of the most powerful form of marketing — word of mouth — into digital content.
Social media lends itself perfectly to this, and relatively “new” social platforms and features are great tools for this experiential amplification. IGTV is a hub for videos and episodic experiential content, while Twitch (the streaming platform) can be combined with video games, AR and VR XM events — which as I’ve previously written about, will be more popular than ever this year [LINK] — for live feeds, which will allow virtual participants into events.
There’s no reason why experiential marketing should not be the center point of your content strategy. Done right and invited early, experiential marketing drives the longer tail of decisions you’re making in the marketing mix.
So don’t think of experiential as an afterthought or a one-off or a side-show. It’s more than just an event; it’s a campaign and a strategic marketing plan.
Make it the fire-starter and killer act for lots more content and a joined-up, experience-fueled strategy.