The Value of Experience

Posted by Michelle Ubell

Apr 15, 2014 9:58:00 AM

Finally proof that the LIVE BRAND EXPERIENCE DOES MATTER! Yet, we aren’t doing anything about it!

This week I’m feeling the opposite of inspired. I feel frustrated, despondent and maybe even a little cranky. Why? Because everything I read points me to the same conclusion: that now is the time to take a broader and more strategic view of owned media with events as the cornerstone of that strategy. Yet, my frustration grows as I see little evidence of marketers actually being bold and brave enough to take on this challenge.

Here is the proof that the “human to human experience” grows brand value and that this is simply not reflected in how marketing budgets are spent.

Three Proof Points

Proof Point #1

Millennials! Yes, the much sought after demographic that garner so much brand, agency and corporate attention. They are the workforce and shopper of the future! It’s fascinating to read that a “Millennial won’t settle for being advertised at. Brands need to roll up their sleeves and engage in meaningful ways”. More than two thirds of millennials see TV and Social as having the same level of brand advertising influence, which is an incredible shift. Social amplification is a big driver of experiential marketing today and is a way of driving measurable results to purchase, repurchase and interest. The conclusion: in this tide of experiential marketing are agencies, brands and employers prepared to change? 

Proof Point #2

When you research the amount of money spent on the live brand experience, which typically gets counted as part of the direct marketing budget, it’s always a slim fraction of the budget of traditional advertising as a whole. Less than 2% typically! A perfect example of this is a Super Bowl advertisement which costs 4 million dollars! This echoes ad agency veteran and author of Confessions of a Mad Man George Parker's thoughts, “If someone were to do a truly analytical study of the Super Bowls of the last 20 years I guarantee there would be no correlation between [the ads] and increases or declines in sales.” Parker says, "The only way you can directly measure the effect of advertising is in direct marketing,” and we don’t see more direct marketing in agency-created advertising because it's not glamorous. Yet, we only see a minor 2 % increase on the intent of spend on experience-based marketing tactics.  


Proof Point #3

The next proof is taken from the Global Experience Specialists’ whitepaper, “The power of face-to-face marketing is being proven across corporate America as event departments fine-tune the art and science of experiential marketing. Event programs are now integrated within the rest of the marketing mix. Live connections are amplified online and on the ground. And the all-encompassing ‘brand experience’ is being taken to the next level.” We see here that brand experiences that include live events and experiential marketing have proven to be powerful tools that should be included in a brand's marketing mix.


A Leave Behind

The future of true brand loyalty is NOT dependent on the same old advertising spend. The future is dependent on the live brand experience. My lack of inspiration will only change when I see a brand thinking strategically about the role of experience in the long term health of their brand! Anyone out there ready to inspire me?


Michelle Ubell
Executive Vice President, Marketing

Topics: Brand Loyalty, Customer Experience