By just mentioning the aroma of freshly baked apple pie some of you reading this will begin to salivate. Thoughts rekindled in your mind of the last time you smelled the combination of apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, baked into a crust that crunches slightly before melting in your mouth.
Maybe if you let your thoughts wander further you will think of the scoop of creamy vanilla & caramel ice cream or cup of coffee on the side… or the chill still on your cheeks from being outside, the memory of the environment around you when you last had a delicious slice. Maybe you will see your grandmother sitting on the other side of the table looking through her glasses, adjusting her hearing aid, happy to see everyone together.
If you weren’t thinking of these things before reading this, chances are pretty good that you are now.
By just mentioning simple moments that reach our senses, we access details otherwise forgotten. Whether a smell, a taste, something we feel, hear or see, we are continually receiving impulses, some create reactions, some go past us without us noticing. Listen to a song from your youth and it can take you back to a memory of when you first heard it, you can see the people around you, feel the vibe in the air, you can re-live the moment emotionally, laugh, cry, feel the butterflies in your belly from your first love. Reach the senses and you reach the person.
Marketing focused on connecting to the senses is nothing new, it’s been done on many levels since the beginning of advertising. Whether appealing to the emotional need of being rewarded for something by playing on fears of what could happen if you don’t do this or that (religion driven marketing dates back to 3000 BC), it has been part of our cultures since time began.
Create a vibe and sell to the senses and if possible to the emotion. This is nothing new, it’s Consumer Based Marketing 101… yet when we approach Enterprise Marketing, we reach for the spreadsheets, we talk demographics, we promote problems so we can push solutions into some form of box. We forget the people. We simply bombard them with branding, products, specifications, and if we get lucky there might even be some services thrown in to create more value.
Welcome to the world of present day product driven sales. The latest and greatest, new and improved, fastest, smallest, biggest, lightest, highest quality, longest lasting, most environmentally friendly “wow factor” ever created is now available. We send our consultants, sales or service engineers, but beforehand please fill out this online contact form and tell us when you are planning to buy and what your budget is. We write up our letters, we send the brochures, we set up a date to meet and turn things upside down to make sure our story (presentation) is just right.
Wow factor through the roof… then again, maybe not.
Imagine going on a first date, in advance you send a brochure illustrating how wonderful you are. That through your years of experience, that your research and fitness development has turned you into a high performance machine that is not only efficient, but agile as well. You can guarantee a best of class total cost of ownership (displayed in graph form with a arrow pointed upwards). To sweeten the pot you add a couple of wedding locations that support your “partner based mindset”. You send a letter accompanying your brochure, pleading the importance of open communication, how grateful you are for the opportunity. You suggest meeting face to face so you can present your vision of the future, the wonderful children you will undoubtedly create together. This may sound completely nuts, but look around you… this goes on every day of the week on the upper floors of company headquarters all over the world.
It’s all about branding, all about company promises, products and bla, bla, bla…
No, it’s all about apple pie, it’s about grandmothers and hearing aids, it’s a walk in the park, it’s a song that takes you to 1996 faster than a Tesla Model X reaches 100 kph… it’s about creating a dialogue and experience that is relevant in an environment that makes people feel like they matter on their terms.
Your company’s right of existence is in the stories of your customers, regardless of them being consumers, small & medium businesses, corporates or multi-nationals… an experience center should in my mind be about your customers. It should be a place where they feel comfortable telling their stories, not dog and pony shows shoving yesterday’s news down their throats.
Create an experience that resonates and customers will come.
Make good on the experience and they will never leave.
I’m David Savage, I design customer experience centers and programs, helping customers achieve their objectives by bridging strategy, innovation, processes, environment, behavior and market developments. Looking to create an experience that’s worth remembering?