Experience Marketing Key to Successfully Weathering the Crisis

10/12/2008 - Grupo Formedia

Experience Management is the key to meeting the challenges of a market in transformation that is currently suffering one of the worst crises in its history. This was one of the most important conclusions of the 1st Customer Experience Seminar held in Madrid on 28 November. Entitled 6quot;Managing Experiences: the new market paradigm", the seminar addressed the phenomenon of experience marketing, its practical applications to corporate strategies, and its efficient measurement.

Organized by CFI, a multinational specializing in strategic analysis and consulting, at the headquarters of Ericsson Spain, in collaboration with the Hispano-Swedish Chamber of Commerce and the Institute of Direct Marketing and E-commerce (ICEMD), the event congregated a group of important experts in the field, who talked about the new experience economy, and its advantages and opportunities.

Elena Alfaro, CFI Group’s director of business development, addressed experience marketing from the perspective of the changes occurring in the marketplace over the last few decades. Alfaro stated that, instead of products and services, what is now being sold are experiences that allow companies to differentiate themselves from the crowd and justify higher prices in a highly competitive marketplace. In her opinion, clients have evolved at the same pace as the market, and now “want to feel important”, which means that it is essential to get to know how they think to design products and services that satisfy their needs and generate memorable experiences for them.

Unique experiences and memorable moments
Examples like the Grand Canyon SkyWalk over the River Colorado, the Mobile Art Chanel Contemporary Art Container, the J&B Castle in Scotland, and the customized offices for Pixar executives prove that an increasingly large number of companies are looking to provide their clients with a unique and personal experience instead of a product that wears itself out through consumption. Present-day marketing has discovered the power of sensations in human processes, and the application of neuromarketing techniques, which are keyed to the emotional brain of consumers to avoid rationalizing the purchase process with the aim of generating rapid impulse sales, is increasingly more commonplace.

In this market context, Elena Alfaro put the accent of the need to apply the keys indicated by Bernd Schmidtt, one of the world’s foremost experts in client experience management. Schmidtt recommends, among other things, improving the experience knowledge of the client, designing an experience strategy, generating unique experiences associated with the brand, and constant innovation. “This last point is fundamental, because experiences also end up being copied,” Alfaro explained. For her, the aim of experience marketing is not to create loyal clients, but ones emotionally committed to the brand, giving rise to real brand fans, as is the case of clients of Apple, for instance.

Involve employees in experience sales
All those present highlighted the importance of involving employees to transmit emotions to the product or service on offer. In the words of Antonio Lopez de Avila, director of the Executive Master Programme in Tourist Company Management of the IE Business School, “It is the experience that attracts clients, and it depends to a large extent on us and our processes. We have to make sure that our employees know which experience we are trying to sell and how to sell it.”

When implementing an experience marketing strategy, the members of the roundtable highlighted the importance of pilot runs and the assessment of financial results as the best way of testing its efficiency. Likewise, they agreed that the top management and the heads of marketing should lead the way in implementing experience marketing strategies, since they are actions that involve the entire organization.

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