How Experiential Marketing Can Supercharge Your Automotive Advertising Efforts
We all know a song and dance when we see one. Today, consumers are pretty much fed up with being made promises that seem too good to be true; by being sent generic mass e-newsletters; and by being not-so-inconspicuously targeted by generic advertising messages.
They’ve seen it all before. And, as their interactions with automated processes rise, consumers are looking for a personal touch to build their trust with brands. Put more eloquently by the Harvard Business Review in it’s article titled Advertising’s New Medium: Human Experience …
“We live in a media-saturated world, where consumers are drowning in irrelevant messages delivered from the web, TV, radio, print, outdoor displays, and a proliferating array of mobile devices. Advertising strategies built on persuading through interruption, repetition, and brute ubiquity are increasingly ineffective. To win consumers’ attention and trust, marketers must think less about what advertising says to its targets and more about what it does for them.”
What is Experiential Marketing?
While there is some complexity to experiential marketing and its implications for marketing strategy, at it’s crux, it is a shift in focus whereby marketers look first at through the perspective of their customers to find ways to insert their advertisements in ways that are contextually relevant and add value. This type of marketing aims to engage the audience’s senses and create a lasting impression of the brand.
Some examples of experiential marketing don’t look or feel like marketing (as we’ve known it) at all. Think of the now infamous Fyre Festival, which was meant to be a luxurious weekend-long music festival that was ultimately intended to be a marketing device for the Fyre App.
An example that shows how inconspicuous experiential marketing can be is the complementary good vibes you’re offered at every Dutch Bros. franchise. The company’s focus on the experience of the customer (over the quality of the coffee) has created a tribalism (or extreme brand loyalty) among its customer base.
When Zappos.com had their logo printed on the bottom of airport security bins, it was an experiential marketing stroke of genius – not at all interfering and contextually relevant. While passengers removed their shoes and placed them into a Zappos.com labeled bin, they considered if they really should buy themselves that new pair they’ve been thinking about.
Examples of Experiential Marketing Strategy in the Automotive Industry
Automotive companies have found ways to use experiential marketing to their advantage and gain customer loyalty in the process. Here are a few examples we hope inspire you:
Audi’s Mini Track Test Drive Pop-Up
Audi Canada’s pop up event in Toronto’s downtown financial district in 2013 is a great example of experiential marketing. The company wanted to find a way to give its target audience a way to test drive its cars that was completely unlike the traditional experience of going to the dealership. Working with a Canadian advertising agency, Audi Canada commissioned the creation of a mini scale slot-car racetrack complete with hairpin turns and mountain passes. Participants raced for prizes and were sent a video of their test drive to share on social media, further advertising the brand.
Check-out a behind-the-scenes of the event:
The BMW Geniuses
Taking a page out from Apple’s book, some BMW dealerships have created a special lane in their service department where you can pull your car in and talk to someone certified to deal with a range of BMW issues. They can listen to your car, pop the hood, or take it for a spin to see if they can diagnose what they think is wrong with it.
This complementary service is a major value-add to BMW owners, who no longer need to make an appointment with the dealership to bring in their car. Each time they get their questions answered this way, their positive engagement with the brand creates that loyalty that all brands are after.
LYFT Car Rental
Lyft, the popular rideshare app, saw a big issue in the marketplace: what about people who want to do their own driving? Maybe they need a car to run a few errands, or just want to visit a friend out of town and don’t want to pay an expensive cab fee or stay overnight? They also know buying a lot of new cars doesn’t make sense for their company. They introduced a car rental portion of their business that allows people to rent their cars out to other drivers and doesn’t make them responsible for the fleet. It’s a fun life hack to corner a portion of the market and it shows LYFT was truly seeking to understand the needs of its customers.
How We Can Help You Leverage Experiential Marketing Strategies
Over the last 15 years, we have worked with several automotive companies like Ford Motor Company on all types of marketing campaigns. We too, have had to learn to think about advertising for this industry differently – as consumer expectations and attitudes have changed.
Experiential marketing is a trend that’s here to stay, which is good news – because it works! We are thrilled to share our expertise with you to help you use experiential marketing to your advantage. We can’t wait to hear from you.