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Experiential Sales and Marketing
December 21, 2011

Experiential Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing nowadays is not about your product(s) and services(s), rather about creating an all-out and all-consuming brand (new!) experience for your customers!


Thinking about how sales and marketing methodology has developed over the last few decades since the rise of modern commercialism in the 1950s, there are some basic blueprints on how this has evolved that most professionals and business owners agree on. We have gone from a sellers to a buyers market in that it is no longer about creating a great product that people will then flock to buy. Increased competition and quality has led to innumerable product and service choices for consumers for most brands. We have gone from one-way marketing that is more or less a general announcement about how great you are. Rather, customers want to interact with you and, ultimately, now control both the message and media that your brand lives on (think channel-surfing and the Internet!). Lastly, business can no longer talk about features without connecting these directly to - tangible and quantifiable, ideally! - customer benefits.

It is not a stretch to say that social media and the Internet in general have turned traditional sales and marketing on its head and that paradigms that worked in the past are not only ineffective, but can damage your brand today (think: endless sales and marketing pitches that consumers have heard 1000s of times before!). Your customer controls your brand and when and how to interact with you. Instead of the hunting mentality of sales, you need more of the farming mentality of marketing whereby you plant seeds and water them with your promotional and business activities, hoping to engage customers. You can no longer find and engage customers as easily as you could; it is not just about what channels to use in order to deliver your brand message, but how to create mindshare and become an item of importance on your customer’s mindset.

A lot of your success boils down to the simple luck of saying the right thing to the right person at the right time! This is why both numbers - sales! - and consistency - marketing! - are key ingredients in your new sales and marketing strategy. Along with this, we have to accept a new paradigm which states that business sales and marketing is not about communicating but rather about interacting with customers. This is a very important distinction because, while interaction does include communication, this is only one part of the bigger picture of how you are trying to engage your customers. Think of ATM machines: are they a sales and marketing tool? Of course! However, they also serve multiple business functions and are hands on. Using an ATM machine is an experience and, by the way, you are sold on the quality of the brand through the service you receive (not to mention the marketing messages these machines display).

Everything about your sales and marketing should be like an ATM machine. This means that your website not only has information but all of the bells, whistles and gadgets that consumers have come to expect on a modern e-commerce site. Shopping carts, downloads, sign ups, pop-ups, videos, you name it. By adding all of this functionality to what in the past was simply a glorified electronic brochure, you are not only creating new avenues of income, but selling your customer on how great your business is. Think about it: if you tried a self-checkout computer at your local supermarket and it provided great service and saved you lots of time, wouldn’t you want to do it again? In fact, is it not conceivable that you would go out of your way and make sure that this grocery store was on your way home when it was time to pick up household supplies? I would! I would also say that this is a subtle way of “selling” me on how great this particular supermarket chain.

Think about your store or business location and the actual experience your customer has in doing business with you. What about your packaging, or using your product(s) and service(s) themselves? Thinking about every aspect of your business this way allows you to picture and perceive your total brand experience from the point of view of the customer. By having an integrated and interactive on and offline sales and marketing program, you are placing breadcrumbs “out there” for your customer to pick up and nibble and follow on and on into the heart of what makes your business tick! In order to do all of this successfully, it is also necessary to study the lifestyle and values of your ideal customer; these ultimate aims and objectives, as associated with your brand, are what you need to key into and play on. You are not representing a product or service but a way of life!

Sales and marketing is not about communication but rather engaging your customer in as many ways possible in order for them to become as passionate about your brand as you are!


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