• In Culture

    Creating a Culture That Drives Innovation

    The secret to innovation? Your workplace culture!

     

    Innovation equals survival. Those who are agile and adaptive survive. Those who see the threats before they arrive thrive.

    It’s well documented that in this age of widespread disruption, companies must innovate continuously, creating new markets, experiences, products, services, content or processes. So how can leaders encourage innovation? It’s more than recruiting the brightest minds. While having the best talent is clearly an asset, people need the right culture to flourish.

    A culture of equality—the same kind of workplace environment that helps everyone advance to higher positions—is a powerful multiplier of innovation and growth. This means that building a culture of equality is not just an ethical imperative, but a business priority. If organisations want to thrive, they have to “get to equal.”

    The power of a workplace culture of equality to drive employees’ innovation mindset—their willingness and ability to innovate—is strong. It has more impact than age or gender and leads to an increase in innovation mindset in all industries and all countries. In fact, innovation mindset is six times higher in the most-equal cultures than in the least-equal ones.

    Innovation also equals economic potential. Among the more than 18,000 employees in 27 countries surveyed, we found that people are more willing and able to innovate in faster-growing economies and in geographies with higher labour-productivity growth. And the stakes are enormous:

    It’s calculated that global gross domestic product would increase by up to US$8 trillion by 2028 if innovation mindset in all countries were raised by 10 percent.

     

    No matter who or where they are, if people feel a sense of belonging and are valued by their employers for their unique contributions, perspectives and circumstances, they are empowered to innovate more.

    What does a culture of feel like?

    Bold Leadership = A diverse leadership team that sets, shares and measures equality targets openly.

    Empowering Environment = One that trusts employees, respects individuals and offers freedom to be creative and to train and work flexibly.

    Comprehensive Action = Policies and practices that are family-friendly, support all genders and are bias-free in attracting and retaining people.

    What is an innovation mindset?

     

    Innovation mindset is a new way to measure an individual’s ability and willingness to innovate. It is enabled by six key elements. The more strongly a person agrees that these elements apply, the higher their innovation mindset score.

    As culture improves, innovation mindset improves. For every 10 percent improvement in culture factors, innovation mindset increases by 10.6 percent. The change is underpinned by all three pillars of our workplace culture-of-equality factors, but it’s the empowerment factors that have the strongest impact.

    Innovation mindset is six times higher in the most-equal cultures than in the least-equal ones. The six elements of an innovation mindset are:

    1. Purpose
      Alignment around and support for the purpose of the organisation.
    2. Autonomy
      Being shown a clear mandate for change—and being trusted to follow through.
    3. Resources
      Having the tools, time and incentives necessary to innovate.
    4. Inspiration
      Tapping into inspiration from beyond the organisation.
    5. Collaboration
      Working with other departments or in fluid, cross-function teams.
    6. Experimentation
      Experimenting with new ideas quickly without fear of failure.

    Leadership Disconnect

     

    Nearly everyone wants—and needs—to innovate. Ninety-five percent of business leaders see innovation as vital to competitiveness and business viability, and 91 percent of employees want to be innovative.

    But while 76 percent of leaders say they regularly empower employees to be innovative, only 42 percent of employees agree.

    Why such a disconnect? It seems that leaders mistakenly believe that some encourage innovation more than they actually do. For instance, they overestimate financial rewards (which are nevertheless still important) and underestimate purpose as a motivator to innovate.

    In fact, the impact of improving culture on innovation mindset is 42 times greater than the impact of increasing salary.

    When it comes to driving innovation, increasing pay is considerably less effective than bolstering a more-equal culture. Percent increase in innovation mindset of a 10% increase in pay vs. a 10% increase in workplace culture factors.

    Having employees with an advanced degree or who have studied a STEM subject at college has a less-powerful impact on workers’ willingness and ability to innovate than culture factors do.

    What is it about a culture of equality that matters most to innovation?

     

    Again, a culture of equality is anchored by three pillars: An Empowering Environment (one that trusts employees, respects individuals and offers freedom to be creative and to train and work flexibly), Bold Leadership (a diverse leadership team that sets, shares and measures equality targets openly), and Comprehensive Action (policies and practices that are family-friendly, support all genders and are biasfree in attracting and retaining people).

    It turns out that of those three, an Empowering Environment is by far the most important when it comes to enabling innovation. In fact, eight of the 10 strongest factors underpinning innovation are about empowerment.

    Ready to build a culture of equality where people can thrive and create? Companies should have an inclusion and diversity (I&D) strategy in place, one that is aligned with the overall business plan. An I&D strategy will form a critical foundation on which leaders can take action and drive progress.

    Here we’ve identified complementary drivers of a culture of equality and of an innovation mindset to help you focus your efforts. The three broad recommendations reinforce each other in a virtuous circle, meaning that their impact as a whole is greater than the sum of their parts. Leaders should keep in mind that some actions have a particularly strong effect on an innovation mindset.

    Training, greater flexibility and commitment to work-life balance are the most powerful drivers of an innovation mindset. This area is where there is the greatest opportunity for impact, as it accounts for 70 percent of innovation mindset gains. Employees are empowered by a shared sense of purpose, paired with autonomy, which helps them reach their individual potential.

    1. Get clear on purpose:
      Ensure that employees know the purpose of their organisation and how their work aligns with it.
    2. Fiercely promote flexible working:
      Have the leadership team set a positive example around work-life balance. Use technology to enable people to have more say over where, when and how they work.
    3. Train effectively:
      Offer employees engaging and flexible training programs so they can acquire skills for the future.
    4. Let people be themselves:
      Don’t ask them to conform when it comes to appearance; encourage inclusion in every way.

     

    Bold Leadership + Experimentation + Resources

     

    Culture starts at the top. Setting and publishing diversity targets, holding the leadership team accountable and measuring progress are critical steps. Leaders must give employees the resources they need to innovate and the freedom to fail.

    1. Prioritise diversity and equality:
      Establish diversity, equal pay and advancement goals.
    2. Encourage risk-taking:
      Ensure that employees know they have the freedom to experiment and help them learn from their failures.
    3. Set up to innovate:
      Design in the necessary time, space, resource and technologies needed to innovate and continually encourage and reward innovation.
    4. Make leaders accountable:
      Track progress, make leaders accountable.

     

    The 40 factors that create a culture of equality:

     

    1. Gender diversity is a priority for management
    2. A diversity target or goal is shared outside the organisation
    3. The organisation clearly states gender pay gap goals and ambitions
    4. Progress on gender diversity is measured and shared with employees
    5. Leaders are held accountable for improving gender diversity
    6. A diversity target or goal is shared inside the organisation
    7. The leadership team is diverse
    8. Progress has been made in attracting, retaining and progressing women
    9. The company has a women’s network open only to women
    10. The company has a women’s network that is open to both women and men
    11. Men are encouraged to take parental leave
    12. Employees trust that the organisation pays women and men equally for the same work
    13. The proportion of women in senior leadership has increased over the last five years
    14. The organisation is fully committed to hiring, progressing and retaining women
    15. Progress has been made in improving gender equality in senior leadership
    16. There is a clear maternity policy in place
    17. Women are encouraged to take maternity leave
    18. There is a clear parental policy in place
    19. The organisation hires people from a variety of backgrounds
    20. Leaders take action to get more women into senior roles
    21. Employees have never been asked to change their appearance to conform to company culture
    22. Employees have the freedom to be creative and innovative
    23. Virtual/remote working is widely available and is common practice
    24. The organisation provides training to keep its employees’ skills relevant
    25. Employees can avoid overseas or long-distance travel via virtual meetings
    26. Employees can work from home on a day when they have a personal commitment
    27. Employees are comfortable reporting sexual discrimination/harassment incident(s) to the company
    28. Employees feel trusted and are given responsibility
    29. Employees have the freedom to be themselves at work
    30. Leadership has a positive attitude toward failure
    31. Leaders set a positive example around work-life balance
    32. Networking events with company leaders take place during office hours
    33. Employees can decline a request to work late without negative consequences
    34. Employees can decline a request to attend early morning/late-evening meetings without negative consequences
    35. Sexual discrimination/harassment is not tolerated
    36. The company has made progress in reducing tolerance of sex discrimination or gender-biased language
    37. Company training times and formats are flexible
    38. Supervisors respond favourably to flexible working requests
    39. The organisation respects employees’ needs to balance work with other commitments
    40. The organisation has made progress on building a workplace where no one feels excluded

     

    Article by Accenture.

  • In Customer Experience

    Welcome to the Future: Nordstrom Co-Creates Activewear with their Customers

    Before I left the US for Australia in 2007, Nordstrom was one of my favourite brands and one of the companies I purchased from on a regular basis (the other being Zappos). I loved online shopping and Nordstrom made it easy and fun – easy to buy, easy to receive, fun collections to browse and easy to return. And they didn’t hesitate to throw in free gifts and show me how grateful they were for my loyalty. I felt heard, seen, appreciated and respected so I shopped with them.

    And in keeping with their commitment to providing a superior customer experience, they have listened and learned from their customers to form Project 18, an invite-only group of 800+ of their most engaged customers in Los Angeles co-creating new offerings. This group helped build one of the newest lines for one of their Nordstrom Made brands that recently launched, the Zella Community Collection.

    Customer-centric, location inspired – Nordstrom started the creative process by inviting around 100 of the Project 18 community members to build the collection. It was a diverse group who all shared a passion for fashion and an active lifestyle. The design team met with them to gather feedback on each piece to make sure what they created was reflective of what they were looking for in an activewear collection.

    Nordstrom provided the initial product ideas and then worked in close collaboration with the members on features such as pockets, length, zipper placement, colours, fabrication and more. Member feedback also validated their hypotheses that selection, convenience and service on their terms was important.

    The collaboration was far more than just a focus group – there were numerous iterations with the members to ensure everyone remained aligned. Members also had the chance to test the products during workouts and provided additional feedback to ensure everything looked, felt and performed well.

    This partnership with customers culminated in a collection featuring nine styles across activewear apparel and accessories available in multiple colours, which are inspired by the landscape of Los Angeles with pale pinks, greys and blues as the anchoring colour themes of the assortment. An added bonus for the eco-conscious: all of the pieces are made from recycled polyester.

    By partnering with customers to create an assortment that is reflective of what they’re looking for in an activewear brand Nordstrom redefined what it means to be customer-centric.

  • In Customer Experience

    2019 Customer Experience (CX) Trends

    Customers still want the same things: simplicity, convenience, and personalisation—but the way in which these expectations are being met grows increasingly sophisticated.

     

    1. Omnichannel the Customer’s Way

     

    A few years ago, tying together various channels to create one unified customer experience was considered disruptive. Today, it’s a differentiator. Offering omnichannel services that are tailored to customers’ specific needs and preferences give a brand a competitive advantage.

    Leading brands are:

    – Enabling real-time data synchronisation across channels.

    – A banking customer, for example, could begin filling out an application online and complete it at a bank branch, over the phone, or another channel without starting from the beginning.

    – Facilitating various methods of fulfilment, such as buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS), buy-online-return-in-store (BORIS) and buy-online-ship-to-store (BOSS).

    – Investing in the infrastructure and logistics to allow buyers and consumers to track shipments at any point in the supply chain, anytime, anywhere.

    9% of customers who use four or more channels spend 9% more than single-channel shoppers.

     

    2. Prioritising Data Privacy

     

    As more people welcome voice assistants into their home and office, brands need to think about how they’ll connect with consumers in a way that’s authentic but not intrusive.

    Giving users the option of personalising voice assistants —enabling the assistant to recommend in-network doctors or nearby clinics, for example—will transition assistants from being just a device to an integral tool in people’s lives.

    At the same time, the security of emerging voice assistants and active listening technologies are under increasing scrutiny and may face restrictions that could impede further development.

    Despite the growth of the connected market, reports show that 41 percent of Australians are more concerned about cybersecurity than last year and 61 percent are concerned about their private information being exposed online, up five percent from the previous year.

    At the end of June 2018, it is estimated that 1.5 million Australian households owned a smart speaker. It was less than 10,000 in 2016. That figure should hit 3 million by 2022.

     

    3. Supporting an IoT world

     

    In an increasingly IoT world, artificially intelligent devices are beginning to act on behalf of human customers. What happens when the customer is a machine?

    From cars and refrigerators to smart speakers, more and more devices are acting on behalf of humans.

    Google is allowing certain Pixel phones to make Duplex AI voice calls, such as to book a table at a restaurant.

    HP’s “Instant Ink” service automatically orders ink when it senses a shortage, and LG has created appliances that can communicate with each other.

    In fact, 85% of consumers say they already use at least one of six devices or services (e.g. navigation apps, music streaming, virtual assistant) that feature artificial intelligence, according to a Gallup poll.

    By 2020, 5% of all digital commerce transactions will come from a smart machine.

     

    4. Balancing humanity and automation

     

    Sensors, cameras, and algorithms are altering customer interactions with human staff. More companies are using digital technology to automate tasks previously handled by humans and speed up transactions.

    Amazon has opened a handful of cashier-less stores and is considering opening as many as 3,000 such stores by 2021.

    Insurance companies are deploying drones for damage inspections and fraud monitoring.

    As traditional roles get automated, consider whether customers would value speaking with associates in other roles, such as nutrition experts or insurance specialists for nuanced situation.

    Drones could replace $127 billion worth of human labour and services across several industries over the next few years.

    Tips for companies who want to create customer-centric cultures:

     

    – Quick CX wins don’t work long0term. To stay ahead of the competition, truly customer-centric organisations must commit to a long-term transformation. Customer experience is not a department – it has to be a way of thinking. Leaders can promote this notion with accountability systems that tie rewards and compensation to the customer experience.

    – CEOS must take responsibility to CX. 42% of CEOs whose companies have a digital initiative underway indicated culture to focus on CX changes are necessary versus 37% of CEOs without a digital initiative, reported Gartner. CEOs need to make the culture of their companies more proactive, collaborative, innovative, empowered, and customer-centric.

    – Ensure employees have the necessary talent, knowledge, and mindset to drive transformation and in light of the skills gap in technology, invest in re-skilling and retraining programs. A lack of available or appropriately-skilled personnel are one of the largest obstacles to digital transformation, according to industry reports.

    – AI integration becomes the norm as customers expect support services to be available anytime, anywhere, and from multiple channels. To keep up with demand, companies are doubling down on automation, AI, and knowledge tools to help associates increase efficiencies, reduce costs, and improve the customer experience.

    This information was gathered from CX Trends, 2019 Edition by ttec.

  • In Story

    The Power of Stories

    Stories are powerful. They allow us to experience and feel, to empathise and engage with the subject. Emotions create connections. A story gives your brand context, differentiation, value and meaning.

     

    Context paints a picture. It provides facts, conveys feeling, provides interpretations and understanding. This establishes how people perceive your brand.

    Differentiation is the defining factor. How is your brand different from other brands? Difference gives people a reason to choose your brand.

    Value is priceless – but we’re not talking about money, we’re talking about feelings. If your brand is perceived as having more value than other brands, then the battle is already won.

    Without meaning we have nothing. If your brand tells a story (not it costs less or offers more), people will emotionally engage with your brand. No decision is logical, emotions rule.

    According to an article in Psychology Today about a storytelling experiment, when someone tells a story, the experience is transferred directly to the listener’s brain.

    The listeners feel what you feel. They empathise. What’s more, when communicating most effectively, you can get a group of people’s brains to synchronise their activity. As you relate someone’s desires through a story, they become the desires of the audience. When trouble develops, they gasp in unison, and when desires are fulfilled they smile together.

    For as long as you’ve got your audience’s attention, they are in your mind. When you hear a good story, you develop empathy with the teller because you experience the events for yourself. This makes sense. Stories should be powerful.

    With a good story behind your brand, you capture the audience’s attention and hold it in your hand. Read about the power of stories in a great article from Aeon Magazine.

    “Across time and culture, stories have been agents of personal transformation—in part because they change our brains.”

    Proving the Power of Stories

     

    Stories are hundreds of thousands of years old. This Aboriginal rock art from Emily Gap outside Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, tells the story of the caterpillar and how it formed the East MacDonnell Ranges. In a sense, the Aboriginal people “branded” the rocks with their stories just like we brand our websites today.

    The Australian Aboriginal people painted symbols from stories on cave walls as a means of helping the storyteller remember the story. The story was then told using a combination of oral narrative, music, rock art and dance, which bring understanding and meaning of human existence through remembrance and enactment of stories. – Wikipedia

     

  • In Creative

    How Experiential Marketing Gets Customers Excited About Your Business

    Today’s customers don’t just want to buy products; they’re looking for memories.

     

    A study from Harris Group found that 72% of millennials prefer to spend money on experiences rather than material things. For those retailers that sell products, you may find this news unsettling. But product-focused retailers just need to shift your thinking and your delivery to give customers those memories they desire.

    Retailers that want to take advantage of changing preferences can use experiential marketing to engage consumers, make connections, and boost sales. And while you may be new to experiential marketing, here, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of this tactic, explain the benefits, and go through you retailers can implement it for their own business.

    What is Experiential Marketing?

     

    As the name suggests, experiential marketing is a campaign that directly engages customers, inviting them to experience your brand live and in person. Instead of traditional marketing, which puts the consumer in the role of spectator, experiential marketing uses hands-on activities to create personal interactions. It includes everything from free classes to food and beverage tastings, pop-up shops and parties.

    More and more brands are incorporating offline events into their marketing strategy, inviting consumers to come and try them out. Three out of four brand marketers rated experiential marketing “very or somewhat” important, according to a study from Crossmark. And a study from Freeman Research predicts that one-third of chief marketing officers will dedicate 21-50% of their budgets on experiential marketing over the next three to five years.

    The Benefits of Experiential Marketing for Retailers

     

    There’s a reason why companies are putting money into this form of marketing. When done right, experiential marketing can be powerful. Seventy-two percent of consumers say they positively view brands that provide quality event opportunities and experiences, according to the Event Marketing Institute’s EventTrack 2016 study. And 74% say engaging with branded event marketing experiences makes them more likely to buy the products being promoted.

    Experiential marketing also drives word-of-mouth marketing. Consumers often talk about the experience with friends. More importantly, they post on social media. Seventy-three percent of consumers post pictures, and 49% share videos of the events, according to a study by Event Marketing Institute. The chatter helps create a buzz around your brand and the products you’re promoting at your event.

    Also, offline events give companies a chance to get immediate customer data and feedback. Not only will you be able to observe how consumers interact with your products and services, but you can ask a live person questions to get insight on existing and future offerings. Events also give you a chance to collect customer information for traditional campaigns held after later, such as direct mail or email.

    This engagement loop helps build a customer community as well. Offline events help retailers plug into the community where they do business and bring together customer who have similar interests.

    Great Examples of Experiential Marketing

     

    Target

    Fortunately, you don’t have to look far to find some great examples of experiential marketing. One of those is Target’s “Back to College” event, held in an effort to boost brand loyalty among young millennials. The company bussed 95,000 college freshmen from 70 schools to its stores for an after-hours shopping spree during “Welcome Week,” when students are getting settled.

    Focusing on experience over product, the stores had DJs, the school mascot, games, text-to-win contests, freebies, and incentives delivered via smartphone.

    “Heading off to college is a pretty pivotal life moment,” Target spokesperson Joshua Thomas told the (Minnesota) Star Tribune. “We see it as an opportunity to establish ourselves in new ways or deepen our affinity with them.”

    Casper

    Another great example of experiential marketing is from Casper. The mattress company teamed up with Standard Hotels’ “One Night” app to allow attendees of the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival to reserve a “refresh room” for 45 minutes at the nearby Austin Motel. SXSW attendees could take a nap, charge their phone, or simply get away from the hectic festival schedule. Casper made it even more memorable by taking it a step further — they provided milk and cookies, as well as a “mom,” who would read you bedtime stories.

    How To Cash In With Experiential Marketing

    If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to consider jumping on the experiential marketing bandwagon. No matter what type of business you own, you can likely create a campaign to connect and engage with consumers. The key is to create an activity that evokes a positive experience — one that customers will remember so it ultimately drives their business to you later. Here are six of the most common experiential marketing campaigns retailers undertake.

    Classes

    You can start small by hosting in-person events at your brick-and-mortar location. Perhaps teach customers how to use your products or a lifestyle-focused workshop on a skill relevant to your niche. One great example is athleisure brand lululemon, which hosts free yoga and fitness classes in many of its stores.

    Pop-Up Shops

    If you sell primarily online, consider hosting a pop-up shop or partner with a complementary business to hold an event at their store. For example, the subscription box retailer Birchbox creates pop-up stores to allow customers to try their products.

    Community Events

    Tie your product into an event, like Casper did with SXSW. Become a sponsor, host a booth or offer samples of your products or services. You can also host your own event, like lululemon’s SeaWheeze Half Marathon.

    Event Series

    Host an event series or start a monthly club. Literati Bookstore, for example, has a Poetry Book Club, Eco Book Club and Comic Book Club that meet monthly. You could also invite a guest speaker to your location each month to educate your customers on a topic that relates to your business.

    Guerrilla Marketing Campaigns

    Display your product in an over-the-top way to gain attention and boost brand awareness by using guerrilla marketing tactics. GoldToe outfitted the iconic Wall Street bull with a large pair of briefs, which attracted lots of attention. The sillier or more outrageous the idea, the better.

    Tours

    Take your business on the road by organizing a tour that stops in a variety of locations. Or be a destination of a tour. Backpacker magazine holds its Get Out More tour, stopping at 45 outdoor equipment retailers and offering talks about experiences and gear.

    More Tips to Run Your Own Experiential Marketing Campaign

     

    Whatever experiential marketing campaign you choose, know that it’s not enough to just entertain consumers — showcase your products in a way that will motivate them to make a purchase. As we mentioned, classes are popular methods of experiential marketing, allowing customers to use your products while they learn a new skill. You can also offer a discount on select products after the class.

    Be creative; it’s key when it comes to experiential marketing. Your event needs to be fun, unique, and even unusual. Originality or extreme value will prompt attendees to get excited, talk about it with their friends, and record the event with pictures and video that they post on social media.

    Create a hashtag and invite attendees to talk about their experience online. While it will likely happen organically, provide a subtle reminder that social posts are welcome and encouraged by sharing your hashtag on all promotional materials as well as banners and slides visible at the event.

    You can also incentivize sharing by asking attendees to use your hashtag in posts as part of a contest. Hashtags organize conversations, and they can help you track social posts about your event. If you have enough staff, dedicate a member of your team to leveraging social mentions, retweeting or sharing them on your own pages.

    If the thought of running your business and launching an experiential marketing campaign sounds like too much for you, hire a marketing firm that can create and promote it for you. Event Marketer magazine offers its 2017 list of the top event agencies, or you can browse through Shopify’s database of marketing experts.

    Moving Forward With Experiential Marketing for Retail

     

    The time and effort you put into your experience will be worth it. In addition to being a growing and welcome marketing method, experiential campaigns are a lot of fun. They help you interact with existing and prospective customers and get you out from behind a screen. Think of them as the way to create lasting relationships well beyond the experience.

    Article by Stephanie Vozza for Shopify.

  • In Creative

    Three Reasons Why You Should Embrace Experiential Marketing        

    Consumers have made it clear magazine ads, TV commercials and billboards alone just don’t work. It turns out the best way to reach consumers in an emotional and engaging way is to create experiences that they actually want to be a part of.

     

    Better Experiences for Consumers and Brands

    The goal of experiential marketing is to create lasting impressions on consumers that they want to share with others and that, ultimately, lead to brand loyalty. You’re not advertising a product — you’re letting consumers see and feel what their lives would be like with it. You’re creating an association between your brand and those positive vibes.

    Here are three reasons why experiential works:

    1. Lasting Connections With Consumers

    Many of the largest brands have already begun building lasting connections with their consumers through experiential marketing, and the best strategies are those that extend beyond shopping. For example, American Express’s AI tennis game at the 2017 U.S. Open let eventgoers enhance their experience while associating American Express with something besides tickets and souvenir purchases.

    Guests attend The American Express Fan Experience at the 2017 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 26, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for American Express)

    Similarly, the NFL uses experiential marketing to make sure ticketholders get their money’s worth in and out of the stadium, especially for big-money events like the Super Bowl. For example, the 2017 Super Bowl in Houston became a city-wide experience, from touchpoints at the stadium to projection shows and Super Bowl-themed decorations at Houston’s Discovery Green Park.

    As part of the marketing team responsible for the endeavor, bluemedia helped buildings throughout the city display similar Super Bowl themes. R.J. Orr, executive vice president, notes that “Each asset was designed to keep fans, players, guests of the NFL, and even Houston’s own residents excited about the game ahead.” For consumers, it was an experience that began before the event and lasted long afterward.

    1. More Data in the Moment

    When it comes to any form of marketing, knowledge really is power, which is why collecting and analyzing consumer data has become a top priority for most businesses. Marketers need data about consumers to know where and how to reach them most effectively. Product developers need data to know which products appeal most to consumers. Business leaders need data to steer the direction of their companies.

    It’s all about the experience when it comes to marketing. Or at least it should be.

    Big data is also an integral part of experiential marketing. Experiential marketing gives consumers the chance to learn about products and brands while also enjoying the experience. And those consumers are willing to exchange personal info as the admission price to an event or experience they want to attend.

    For Sue Duris, director of marketing and customer experience at M4 Communications, that data is essential to experiential marketing’s ROI. She believes “Big data is providing the tools to deliver real-time data and actionable insights, which enable brands to be more agile to make changes to messaging, create more value, and increase consumer engagement on the spot.”

    1. An Active Understanding of Your Product

    One of marketing’s main goals is to educate consumers about a product, and that only works if the consumer is engaged. Most people go out of their way to avoid commercials, yet most will also go out of their way for a new experience. That’s why experiential marketing works so well. Tie your brand or product to a fun experience, like a live event, and consumers are more likely to get the message.

    In fact, about 65% of consumers say that live events and product demonstrations helped them fully understand a product better than any commercial or other method could. MasterCard and Swarovski have capitalized on that fact with a virtual shopping experience that gives customers the chance to see what Swarovski’s luxury décor items would look like in a home setting — and to purchase them while within the virtual environment.

    Brett Hyman, NVE Experience Agency president, says luxury brands and other sectors are using experiential marketing to transform the customer experience: “Well-executed experiential activations turn consumers from passive viewers to active participants.”

    Experiential marketing has the ability to transform and elevate the connections that brands build with their consumers, and that’s becoming increasingly important as consumers demand more personalization. With the benefits mentioned above and the many more that experiential marketing offers, it won’t be long before every industry catches up.

    Article from Forbes by @steveolenski