While there’s no doubt that the viral videos we’ve seen on YouTube are amazing, they do create the impression that experiential marketing is something that requires a big budget,and that they’re out of reach of small and medium sized businesses. This simply isn’t the case.
To understand how experiential marketing can be applied to small and medium sizes businesses its’s best to understand what the term actually means. The predominant concept of all experiential marketing is the establishment of relationships between customers and businesses without focusing on sales transactions.
To break it down it even further it’s helpful to have a look at the definition that marketingpedia.com provides “Experiential marketing is the art of creating an experience where the result is an emotional connection to a person, brand, product or idea”.
Once we understand that the core concept involves creating a positive experience that encourages an emotional bond with a company or brand we can start to see how relationship marketing can be applied to small and medium sized businesses without a large budget. We can also identify the core values in the practice.
So, how would a small business create a positive perception of the brand in the customers’ eyes?
The easiest way to start building a positive perception around your brand is to start focusing on customer service. This isn’t even an advertising initiative, it’s just good business sense and can be applied to any size of business.
So, how do you start providing good client service? Well, it’s pretty easy in this day and age, as people have become accustomed to terrible service in most industries. Great communication is a service which can be ingrained into a company culture, regardless of size, with minimal increases in operational costs. For instance, if you run a local grocery store, teaching your till attendants to great customers with a smile as they come in will dramatically improve your clients’ experience in your establishment. In a similar fashion, banning cellphones while your employees are in roles that require them to serve clients will ensure they’re never preoccupied with their personal affairs while they should be focussing on your clients.
In a more formalised business setting similar principles can be applied. For example, making sure that your office phone is answered quickly and establishing a protocol that ensures that all incoming emails are answered within 24 hours creates the impression that your company is efficient, professional an client orientated.
Making clients feel special doesn’t take a huge budget. Creating a positive experience around your company and your brand doesn’t necessarily require the assistance of an established advertising agency to accomplish. It simply takes a few protocols that’ll improve your clients’ actual experiences. For small businesses the benefits are exceptional. In this day and age it’s very difficult for an SEM to compete on price with multinational companies who can cut production costs wherever possible.
However, small businesses are uniquely positioned to provide unparalleled customer service, which in turn creates a positive client relationship that helps SEMs retain clients and offer a USP that not only makes them competitive but also creates a perception of quality that spreads by word of mouth, enabling the company to secure customers without investing huge client budgets.