What an Experiential Product Is and Why You May Already Sell One
Large organizations and big-name brands spend thousands of dollars on experiential product ideas. It could cost you… nothing!
The word experiential means that you’re delivering a multidimensional experience for your customer. With your product or service, you’re engaging your customer by prompting thoughts and feelings that allow them to better understand your brand and enjoy themselves. Take a look at this guide as it brings you through ways you can construct a more meaningful interaction through your brand.
Traditional and Nontraditional Marketing
Traditional marketing includes mass media formats such as television and print media and one-on-one sales. Think billboards, mail-in marketing efforts, business cards.
Nontraditional marketing is a growing area; new formats for promoting are exploding. You can read about nontraditional marketing tactics from Marketing-Schools.org, but here’s a list for reference:
These newer tactics bring novelty to your offering but aren't necessarily experiential.
If you haven’t established digital marketing basics for your small business or you’re thinking of filling out your marketing channels, take a look at social benge’s current service offerings. We can help you find scalable content solutions for your needs.
Experiential: Beyond the Nontraditional
An experiential product is a way that your company actively engages a consumer through a live, multisensory encounter with your brand. This is an active mode of stimulus that allows the customer to participate in the purpose of the brand.
The Prospectory, a talented group of research psychologists in the UK, released their findings about the experiential product. Their main finding was that experiential products go beyond nontraditional. The value exchange occurring is spontaneous and doesn’t primarily take tangible form.
Can You Answer This Multiple Choice Question?
Which dimension of an experiential product does your small business offer?
Stimulation - I offer a sensory experience
Individual Expression - I let my customers create
Social Bonding - I help my customer share
Don’t know yet? Let’s get into it.
Stimulation and the Five Senses
Stimulation refers to the physical senses being engaged. If you remember from grade school, that means sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. A product geared to create an experience around stimulation often engages imagination, emotions, or even dreams because stimulating many senses at once can have an immersive effect on the consumer.
Personality and Individual Expression
Individual Expression is when a product experience offers the consumer ways to interact by exercising individual skills, creativity, personal views, or personality. This dimension means you’re allowing the consumer to express or do something original. Usually, the offering has some structure to it but provides “hooks” that prompt customers to engage themselves further.
Share in the Fun With Social Bonding
Social Bonding is just that - you’re giving your customers the experience of sharing. This can be in the collaborative sense or even the competitive sense. Your experiential product involves an environment enabling people to share their experience with others, in the moment.
Still Lost? Let’s Reframe - Literally
Whether you’ve come to realize how your product can be immersive and provide a stimulating, expression-based, or shareable experience, or not, it’s time to redefine how you communicate your value propositions.
Experiential framing is a communication strategy in which marketers reveal the experiential aspects of a product or service. The functionalities of the product become less relevant. Instead, the ways that the product allows the customer to have their senses stimulated, express themselves, or share their ideas becomes the message.
Let’s Apply Experiential Framing to Your Small Business
Now that you have some idea of what experiential framing is, let’s use the three dimensions of the experiential product to generate ideas for how to pack your marketing messaging with this style of value proposition.
Let’s get to brainstorming!
Stimulation - I Offer a Sensory Experience
Let’s go through the senses and figure out how you’re able to awaken each in your customer. Consider the following questions:
Walk through the steps of consuming your product or receiving your service. What is the customer emotionally feeling at each step?
What sights, sounds, materials, etc. are you actively allowing your customers to sense? For instance, what’s in their direct line of vision, or what does consuming your product feel or sound like?
Overall, what thoughts do I want my customer to have as they move through these sensations and actions?
Individual Expression - I Let My Customers Create
The operative word, “create,” simply refers to the customer’s ability to express their inner world to gain experiential benefits. For instance, do you let people customize their product with you? Do you let customers draw or write somewhere in your store? An example of individual expression could be that a store allows customers to vote on which local charity they’d like proceeds to benefit.
Social Bonding - I Help My Customer Share With Each Other
If you’ve determined that social bonding is the primary dimension of your experiential product strategy, consider how you...
Create structure around prompting customers to relate to each other
Keep the conversation going, and
Direct the conversation to generate a spontaneous connection
Sometimes this can extend to the digital world. Many small business owners can identify a part of their store where people like to take pictures - even the bathroom! Where is that for you?
There’s Content on Your Company Online Already
If you’re noticing that customers are taking pictures of the table or against a certain wall in your brick-and-mortar, be sure to engage with them. Customers might be creating media of your product or service that you don’t have time to create yourself.
Stop by the social benge Services page. We offer Social Media Management that can save you the trouble of managing the photos and video that may be featuring your brand.
What Everyone Can Take Away From Experiential Marketing
Whether you intended to create an experiential product from the beginning, are just finding out that this is a marketing angle for you, or you’re not sure how to use this article to inform your small business strategies, I’ll leave you with this: Experiential marketing is about spontaneity, actively engaging your customer, creating novelty, and inducing an emotional reaction to your brand.
Use the dimensions of experiential marketing to inform your marketing materials. What do your customers feel? What do they think? How do they share?
The more you consider your offering an experience, the more you’ll notice ways you can tweak your customer’s journey to be more exciting and fulfilling.
If you’d like more guidance in creating branded content, please let us know how social benge can help at our contact page. Bring your brainstorm from this article and we can get started on helping you communicate your vision.