Marketers need to always think outside the box. Every means of creating an impression of their products in the minds of their intended clients must be exploited. As a result, several marketing techniques were born. One of such is experimental marketing. This is a form of marketing that allows consumers become and active participants in the marketing campaign. It is a form of delivering information to an audience through an experience. It is not about product sampling, PR stunts and live events. If well planned and implemented, it has the potentials of yielding great results, creating fondly memories. This form of marketing is usually associated with consumer activities, thus allowing users to have a practical hand on session with the products instead of just reading or being told about it.
Experimental marketing is important for the following reasons.
1. It provides consumers with a wider product variety.
2. The environment becomes more competitive thereby leading to increased product quality.
3. It provides a unique experience, linking consumers to a particular brand.
4. Through the one on one communication, the relationship with target audience is strengthened.
5. The brand creates an increased awareness leading to an enhanced image.
6. It allows brands to do things that cannot be done on television.
7. For brands engaging in this form of marketing, their products are differentiated from that of other products.
8. It provides a platform for product developers to meet with consumers in person and relate with them productively.
13 Examples of Experimental Marketing
The Coca-Cola brand has always been on the leading innovative path with respect to marketing. In its search to promote it’s teem of happiness, it unveiled a product vending machine in Singapore. This machine was unique in the sense that it dispenses a free can of the drink when it is given a tight hug. The machine was placed in the campus of the National University of Singapore,. It was not long after this that sponsors saw long queues of students in front of the machine waiting to hug it. The brand believes that happiness is contagious and the vending machine is just a way of spreading its happiness delivering a dose of happiness to a large audience.
2. Ann Summers
Direct customer interaction has been the anchor on which Ann Summers has built its brand. This has led to the institution of the Ann Summers Party. The brand in a bid to connect more directly with its clients hired an agency to act a “sexy undercover” road show in different shopping centers. Aspiring Ann Summers models were to catwalk before the shoppers. Consumers were allowed to attend the pop-up Ann Summer private party pods and attend a special questions and answer sessions with professionals on lingerie. This event engaged up to 550,000 shoppers in each location surpassing the expected target of 9,800. About 15,000 face to face interactions were held.
3. Ben & Jerry
One company that has been so successful is Ben & Jerry. Most of its experimental campaigns were successful. In one of such campaigns, the company simply tweeted; “We are in Burlington, Who wants ice cream?” this led to a huge rush for followers of this brands as they always looked out for updates from the brand. Scoop trucks, if asked nicely also delivered to offices and homes.
4. Ford Motors
For Auto companies who want to engage in experimental marketing, they can take a cue from ford motors. The auto giant in a bid to allow more consumers test drive their vehicles launched the “DRIVE ONE 4 UR SCHOOL INITIATIVE” this was aimed at schools test driving cars and raising funds. For every test drive conducted by each school, the ford company donates $20 to the school to a maximum of $6000. This scheme has risen over $10 million since 2007.
5. Western Union
For over 160 years, Western Union has been wiring money. In a bid to promote the idea that sending money remains important in the digital age, they reinvented the idea of sending a “Singing Telegram”. This allowed consumers to perform a duet with stars like Justine Timberlake, Snoop Dogg and others. Through Face mapping technology, the face of the user is combined with that of the artist. The video can then be emailed or shared on video sharing sites like YouTube. The campaign was run on 180 Amsterdam for about six weeks. It reached over 50 markets and was covered by the New York Times, Forbes and Rolling Stones. This is an equivalent of 50 million pounds in advertising.
“Whispering Window” is a pioneering technology which is used by FeONIC to get customers to stop by show glass and browse displayed products. This technology turns wood, glass or plaster boards into music speakers. This was installed on display glasses, making passers-by wonder where the music is coming from. It can also be installed in show glasses to attract the attention of consumers.
7. Stella Artois
Stella Artois has been searching for new ways of dominating the drink market. To this end, it promoted its Cidre drink through The “Le Président” TV campaign during which it delivered refrigerated bottles of Stella Artois Cidre to consumers who made use of their social networking website. These bottles came in specially packaged boxes containing the Cidre chalice, a bottle of Cidre and an apple. A personal letter from Le Président was also included.
Agencies for gay dating can take a cue from Gaydar. In a campaign for increased brand awareness and the introduction of existing and new clients to their premium product, it introduced a custom built vending machine stocked with men during the Queen’s Jubilee Festival. In the exact words of the product manager, he said, “Our custom built Vending Men machine was stocked with five of London’s finest hunks. Those with a sweet tooth can pick ‘n’ mix with their favorite model who hands over a voucher to upgrade new or existing Gaydar accounts to our premium unlimited membership.” The ticket also entered them into a prize draw to win an 11 night stay in Cape Town, South Africa. In a response to the aim of this, he said, “Vending Men covers all bases from photo opportunities that we hope will be shared on social spaces and ROI is tracked by monitoring redemption of trials and in turn conversion to paid subscriptions.”
Desigual offered free outfits to clients; however, this comes with a small price. Consumers would have to come to the party wearing just underwear, and then they qualify for a free outfit from this brand. This was meant for just the first 100 persons.
Fiat, an Indian vehicle brand in a bid to give consumers the true experience of this brand decided to combine the café culture with the vehicle dealership in India. It opened two cafés, one at Delhi and the other in Pune. The café is in conjunction with Lavazza coffee. In addition to the café services there is a library and a space for relaxation. It also has brochures on cars and vehicles which could be test driven if any client wants to. According to Tarun Khanna, who is the head of marketing at Fiat India, he says “We are trying to give the true Fiat experience to our customers, potential customers and consumers in general. We want more and more people to be touched by the Fiat brand in different ways. Fiat Café is a unique concept where we bring the brand alive in various manners – be it in terms of a product demo, or browsing through information about the brand – on digital devices or books, or just quietly absorbing the brand experience while lounging and having an Italian coffee.”
11. Musion Systems
Holographic projection specialist Musion Systems was hired by General Electric to develop a 3D holographic jet engine and allowed members of the public to go on stage and attempt to virtually assemble the engine while they watched the part float around in the air. It was an engaging experience as people stood watching thousands of engine parts float in the air and then being assembled together in one piece. The company was hired when General Electric saw they developed a holographic projection of murdered rap artist Tupac Shakur performing with real life Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre for about 15 minutes at the Coachella rock festival in California.
12. Hammer Nutrition
Hammer nutrition is an endurance product that is used by athletes for better performance before, during and after long hours of work. The company’s representatives showed up at competitions and hands their products to participating athletes at the middle of the competition. This made runners able to use the product when they actually have need for it, experiencing the benefits first hand. Most of them reported enjoying the product and referred it to friends.
Your car is in a bad need for repair and it is at the point of breaking down. You take it to the local dealership auto repair store and it would take more than a day to fix it. During the time your car is being repaired, the management of the auto shop is kind enough to give you a Toyota Camry to use during the period your vehicle is with them. This provides you with a hand on experience with the car. All the details that cannot be explained in an advert would be experienced during this few days. This is a great way of advertising the Camry.
14. Furnished Hotels
Manufacturers can furnish hotels with their products. These can be tables, Sofas, utensils, kitchen ware, bed and anything that clients would be interested in. This would provide a live experience with your products for a few days. This is preferred to just touching it for a few minutes at the show room.
In other to be a successful experimental marketer, marketing campaigns should deliver a true experience and this should be done at a time when the product is meaningful to the target audience.