Every School Has An Experiential Marketing Event, They Just Don’t Know It
What is experiential marketing (XM)?
Creating an event or experience is one of the best ways for companies to connect with customers. Customer experience is now considered a more significant contributor to brand differentiation than either price or product.
Just think about that statement in the context of a fee-paying school for a moment. What amount of time is dedicated to convincing prospective parents that the price is justified by the product (facilities, curriculum, pastoral care) and that the means justify the end?
Perhaps the key to greater success is demonstrating both the value and the key points of difference through experience. After all, a whopping 91% of consumers say they have a more positive feeling about a brand after attending events and experiences, and 85% are more likely to buy.
WHAT IS DIGITAL EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING (DXM)?
DXM takes experiential marketing one step further, or at least the approach is more cross-platform and integrated – in that digital marketing is used to both promote and amplify the event. Simply put, digital experience marketing provides users with a unique live experience combined with online elements to help promote the brand; create positive emotions associated with it, and differentiate it from competitors.
XM and SCHOOLS?
I can already hear some people groaning away by now, berating the screen in front of them. "Experiential marketing doesn't apply to a school, you imbecile – how could it?" But if you think about it, it's really as if experiential marketing as a concept was designed exclusively for schools.
The event or experience is naturally weaved into the customers'' buying journey in a way that many other products could only dream of. It's just that most schools call it an open day, and most schools believe that what customers want to see is a sample of the product, presumably to help justify the price.
However, if we again paused for thought and you cast your mind back to the last open day your school held through an experiential marketing lens; understanding that experience comes before price and product – and that's what creates the REAL connection between parent, pupil and school.
DXM and SCHOOLS?
Whilst schools generally do promote their open day through social media and digital advertising; there are very few examples of schools, if any, trying to harness the power of DXM beyond its ability to promote their events.
A huge opportunity, therefore, exists for schools to create unique digital experiences that engage with customers through digital channels both before and after their open day – allowing parents to interact with the brand, generate loyalty towards it and in some cases become an advocate of it.
HOW DO I IMPLEMENT XM?
Like personalisation and behavioural change marketing, both of which have been featured in previous Ubiq articles; you cannot effectively engage, communicate and create meaningful experiences unless you first understand who your audiences are, how they behave and what they need (and don't need).
Secondly, you need a company that understands how to create meaningful digital experiences for schools; and combine them with your offline events.
Lastly, you need a company that has enterprise-level software that can help you build, track, measure and improve your experiences over time. At Ubiq, we have all of those things.
If you would like to learn more about experiential marketing, creating digital experiences, or reviewing your school's website, please do get in touch.