Think of a salesperson who walks up to you in a store. You tell him thanks, you're okay, you're just looking. But he hovers and looms, finds ways to insert himself into your activity, and is a general annoyance. That's what typical marketing feels like INTRUSIVE and DISRUPTIVE. Experiential or Engagement Marketing is the opposite. It's a salesperson who hangs back and engages you if/when you need help. Who can sense what you want to do, and help you arrive at that decision. Who will contact you directly with exclusive sales information, if and only if you request it.
Engagement Marketing, done well, means connecting with consumers who want to hear from you, in relevant, meaningful, interesting ways. If you can pull that off, everything changes.
Companies that succeed with this strategy go beyond giving consumers attractive offers and Samples. True magic happens when brands put individual customers or groups of consumers in an immersive branded experience. Brand must put themselves in the mind of the consumer to successfully engage them, doing so will foster brand ambassadors – brand warriors who promote your brand just as well as (sometimes even better than) your top salespeople. The easiest way to increase brand loyalty among your customers is to put yourself in their shoes.
The most rewarding benefit of this marketing strategy is the way in which it drives word-of-mouth advertising; research conducted by Google, Ogilvy, and McKinsey shows that consumers are influenced more by word-of-mouth when making purchasing decisions than they are by other media marketing options. In fact, "experiential brand experience is the most powerful form of word-of-mouth driving activity for 50 to 80% in any given product category." Thus, one of the best ways to gain a competitive edge is to steer marketing efforts toward building strong connections with customers via experiential marketing.