When I began my internship at Department Zero, I had almost no idea what this company did. Little did I know that I was going to learn about a kind of marketing I never knew existed. In marketing classes in college we talked about all of the traditional marketing strategies, such as TV, radio, billboard, print, etc. We never discussed guerilla marketing, brand activation or experiential marketing.
Working here, I have realized that experiential marketing is going to be the direction more companies are going to need to go to stay competitive in today’s market. I say this because I have started to notice how much I avoid commercials and advertisements on a daily basis.
I have Pandora One on my phone that I listen to when I am in my car and while I work out, I have a DVR that allows me to fast forward through all of the TV commercials, I click the “Skip Ad” button as fast as I can on YouTube, and I see people too busy playing with their phones while they drive to pay attention to billboards. The only time people purposely watch commercials anymore is during the Super Bowl. Consumers are getting better at avoiding the marketing and advertising messages that are constantly bombarding us on a daily basis.
In this ever competitive market, I feel that the companies that are going to stick out ahead of the competition are going need to do one of two things: 1) Get very good at effectively using social media to reach the target audience and 2) Start going out into the community and engaging the target audience through experiential events.
As I think back over the experiential events I have seen in my life, I find that I can recall most all of them. I did not know that it was a kind of marketing at the time, but now I can see how it has resonated with me over the years, especially when I hear or see another advertisement by that same company. Experiential marketing forges a relationship with the consumer, and makes them more likely to pay attention to the rest of a company’ marketing messages.
Guest post by Department Zero fall intern Eddie VanBuskirk, who is completing a master’s degree in Kinesiology at the University of Central Missouri. In his free time he enjoys working out, playing doubles sand volleyball, and reading.