Why Savvy eCommerce Companies Need to Leverage Experiential Marketing

experiential marketing

Within the last few years, at least four people I know converted almost everything they owned to cash, moved out of a safe or stable living environment and commenced having some sort of adventure. Their goals —€” not to mention their ages, relationship status and current state —€” were all very different, but the thing that ties these people together is a desire to experience the world rather than accumulate it. It’s actually something that ties many millennials and younger people together, and something brands must account for when creating a lead generation strategy.

[ctt template=”4″ link=”p_eKn” via=”no” nofollow=”yes”]#eCommerce take note. Today’s young adults tend to spend money on experiences rather than fancy stuff. #experientialmarketing[/ctt]

Experiences > Stuff: Because It Makes You Happier

Money can’t buy happiness — we all know the saying. But money can buy a lot of stuff. Can that stuff make us happy? Turns out, according to both anectodal evidence and plenty of behavioral studies, more stuff doesn’t bring long-term joy. It’s a lesson younger generations, who came of age during a major recession and saw generations before them work hard, run up credit and even give up meaningful experiences to procure plenty of stuff, have apparently taken to heart.

Millennials are more likely to splurge on world travel than a fancy vehicle, for example, and eating out, yoga or time spent with friends at a favorite coffee shop are all more likely to appear on the budgets of younger generations than a fancy watch or new pair of designer shoes. This emphasis on experience is one reason for the restaurant renaissance (the revival of dining out, in all its forms, as a popular pastime).

That’s not to say younger generations don’t buy things; the way they purchase is just much more tied to experience than it is to the stuff itself.

Related: 8 Interesting Facts Every eCommerce Operator Should Know

What Does This Mean for Lead Generation Strategy?

For eCommerce companies, this shift means a necessary evolution in marketing strategies. Content marketing is actually well-suited to the change, because you can craft content that is about the experience as easily as you can create content that harks the features and benefits of products. Experiential marketing is also known as aspirational marketing, and it’s something luxury and premium brands have done for years.

Today, though, brands have to concentrate even more on the experience; instead of illustrating why the audience needs a thing, eCommerce businesses must prove that a product enhances or makes possible an experience.

[ctt template=”4″ link=”FPpZX” via=”no” nofollow=”yes”]eCommerce companies must shift their #marketing strategies to reach millenials via experiences rather than products. [/ctt]

Here are some tips for developing a lead generation strategy within this new context.

  • Tell stories. Stories make your marketing itself an experience. You can use video, text and images to relate them via your site or social channels.
  • Enjoy the experience too. When you actually love a product or enjoy the experience of sharing it with other people, it comes across. Marketing made by people who are truly invested in the experience is organic, honest and almost tangible for the audience.
  • Invest in influencer marketing. When other people are having the experience already and sharing it, others are more likely to join in.
  • Suggest product/experience pairs. Don’t show a water bottle and list its features. Show the product as it travels the subway, tucked in the pocket of a business woman’s bag, sweating in the heat on a bench in the sun as the athlete completes his run or nestled among fallen leaves at the feet of embracing lovers on a hiking path. Use imagery and metaphors. Link your product to benefits that are less tangible than “durable stainless steel construction” and “no-spill spout.”

Creating an experiential lead generation strategy isn’t always easy. It takes creativity and skill, which is why you might want to consider working with some our roster of experienced writers. We’ve got plenty of creative storytellers who can help you develop experiential marketing copy.


Sarah Stasik

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Sarah is an experienced writer and copyeditor with a background in project management. She’s Six Sigma Black Belt certified and leverages her knowledge of statistical analysis, process improvement and content marketing to help clients engage audiences and increase conversions.

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