In recent times, influencer marketing’s rise to power has been meteoric. With rapid advances in social technology, now everyone with a camera and an opinion can generate a following. However, time was that those with the most influence were the great leaders and thinkers of their societies.
With this “historic” definition in mind, we examine the words of 12 men and women who will go down in the annals as historic influencers, exploring how they can be used to improve the experiential marketing of today.
12 Historic Influencers
1. Albert Einstein: – Theoretical Physicist (1879 -1955)
“Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.”
In experiential marketing, value leads to success. In providing value to consumers, brands create a deep emotional bond. This bond influences future purchase decisions, which is where value (and success) for the brand is realised.
2. Charles Darwin: – Naturalist, Geologist & Biologist (1809-1882)
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
Experiential marketing isn’t about creating the biggest spectacle or employing cutting-edge technology. It’s about resonating with people, and people can be fickle.
Marketers who are able to evolve their offering to suit the fluctuating preferences of their target audience are the ones who will take home the prize.
3. Helen Keller: – Deaf-Blind Author & Political Activist (1880 1968)
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched — they must be felt with the heart.”
Emotion is, by nature, intangible and therefore difficult to quantify. Customers can be led to conclusions, but they can’t be forced to “feel”.
In order to achieve a deep emotional bond with consumers, brands must develop a deep understanding of them through research and persona development. You can only hope to engage people once you realise what makes them tick.
4. Thomas Edison: – Inventor & Businessman (1847-1931)
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
A/B testing is a given with PPC, SEO and content strategies, but is often left out of the conversation when talking experiential.
The ability to gain insight from unsuccessful campaigns is what makes good experiential marketers. Understanding how to implement this insight to avoid repeated results is what makes great experiential marketers.
5. Coco Chanel: – Fashion Designer & Businesswoman (1883-1971)
“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”
As barriers to market entry have dropped over time, competition has naturally increased. For many brands, marketing has become less about what the product does and more about what makes it different from the others.
In order to develop a bond with customers, brands need to stand out from the noise.
6. Dolly Parton: – Musician, Singer & Songwriter (1946-)
“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”
Planning and executing an experiential marketing campaign is not easy. You will hit snags, bumps and walls throughout the process, and after all this, your campaign may not land initially for any of a number of reasons. It is the ability to persevere and make adjustments on the fly that seperate the wheat from the chaff.
This is the crucible all experiential marketers will pass through. It is those who see these experiences as an opportunity to develop, rather than a failure, who will continue on to success.
7. Katie Couric: – Journalist & Author (1957-)
“You can’t please everyone, and you can’t make everyone like you.”
All good marketing is targeted, experiential is no different. Brands who attempt to suit everyone, often end up engaging no-one. Experiential marketing requires a developed understanding of the target audience, and a tailored approach to accommodate this.
By completely fulfilling the needs of a small niche of consumers, brands create valuable “evangelists” who preach advocacy to their friends, family, colleagues and social channels.
8. Arthur Ashe: – World No.1 Tennis Player (1943-1993)
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
Contrary to popular belief, experiential marketing doesn’t require vaults of cash, it is perfectly scalable to accommodate businesses of all shapes and sizes. Furthermore, it’s about connecting consumers to YOUR brand through experience, an engaging experience is pointless if it doesn’t bring the two closer together.
Identifying the appropriate campaign strategy for your brand is critical to success, there are no cookie-cutters here.
9. Abraham Lincoln: – Politician & Lawyer (1809-1865)
“It often requires more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong.”
Getting started in experiential marketing can be tough, convincing c-suite members to buy in can be even tougher. It is often the case that the barriers to entry are enough to put marketers off completely.
However, it’s those that persevere who see the benefits, not just from their campaign, but also from the integration of experiential into their holistic marketing strategy. When it comes to experiential marketing, the first steps are often the hardest.
Credit: Guillaume Paumier, CC-BY
10. Mark Zuckerberg: – Programmer & Entrepreneur (1984-)
“The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
In experiential marketing, as in business and life, it’s important to remember; what’s gold today may be gone tomorrow and someone is always working on the next big thing. All great ventures started with significant risks attached, to avoid risk is to avoid innovation.
With the rate at which the world is now developing, to avoid innovation is to essentially remove yourself from the race.
11. Francis Chan: – Preacher & Philanthropist (1967-)
“Our greatest fear should not be of failure… but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”
It is easy for marketers to pose statistics in such a way as to make a campaign seem successful. However, as channels like experiential and social have matured, a stark contrast has developed between so-called “vanity metrics” and genuine indicators of success.
Understanding which metrics are relevant and how to measure them are fundamental tools in an experiential marketer’s kit, especially in an age when every penny spent must be justified.
12. Oscar Wilde: – Playwrite, Novelist & Poet (1854-1900)
“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”
This final quote is perhaps the most pertinent and needs the least explanation. Experiential marketing should always stay true to the brand, after all, that’s what it’s all about. Whilst it’s easy to get carried away with grand campaign ideas, you’re selling the same product to the same consumers and therefore, the same rules apply.
The ability to balance creativity with tactical execution should be on every experiential marketer’s resumé.