Experiential Marketing

Everlasting Wardrobe Brand Value Prop

As marketing and advertising budgets venture off the magazine page or television screen and rush to compete in digital and more importantly, mobile space, it’s vital to search for white-space in which to distribute your content and message. Everlasting Wardrobe, the first subscription rental children’s clothing service, has created such a space for apparel brands looking to grab the attention of families and their children. When other companies are overspending to get impressions with vehicles that don’t translate to revenue, finding an efficient and effective marketing conduit is a game changer.

“First off, we define the business as being the first ever discovery retail company. That means that we create demand where there wasn’t demand, and then we are there to recoup and deliver on that demand. E-commerce at one point was defined by someone saying, “I know I want this, and I know where to go find it,” we think of e-commerce 2.0 as being defined by inspiring demand.” Katia Beauchamp CEO Birchbox

Experiential Marketing, such as sampling and activations have been used for decades to bring targeted brand awareness to products and services. When done right, it provides a positive experience that can, in theory, create a lifelong customer. That said, it’s hard to convert those whom are a champion of another brand, and most won’t even entertain the idea of switching. Further, others may fear obtaining another item that lands at the back of the closet or left to expire in their pantry.

Examples of Experiential Marketing:

Birchbox: A perfect example of a company inspiring purchases by their members. Most Birchbox members don’t have prior exposure to the products they are sent before they arrive at their doorsteps. The ability to actively use a sample size allows members to make thoughtful decisions when purchasing full-size products, or switching brands.

Movies: You sit down to watch that movie you’ve been waiting to see, but before the credits start, a number of trailers appear. The previews show viewers 4–6 upcoming movies soon to hit theaters. Besides movie posters and press junkets, there are not many other way for directors, producers, and actors to get their work seen. These 30 second to 3 minute clips are a great way to garner buzz for a project.

Car Purchases: Even when a car buyer has a strong inclination toward a particular brand of automobile, the majority of them still choose to test drive the vehicle to garner a better idea of what it will be like to own one. Sometimes these test-spins may be done with an aspirational mindset, it builds brand loyalty nonetheless.

Grocery/Bulk Stores: When walking around grocery stores and bulk retail establishments such as Costco and Sam’s Club, one can get lost in the maze of products lining the shelves. Each shopper has their go-to brands, and lists that they only occasionally stray from. Sampling gives an opportunity to build rapport with potential purchasers and to stand out from the crowd.

Alcohol: Similar to grocery stores, new beer, liquor, and wine brands launch all the time. In such a crowded space, a company can rely on drink specials and swag to gain awareness. But, nothing compares to actually getting your brand’s beverage in the hands of potential customers for them to try. This practice allows brands to gain distribution through bars and clubs, as well as grocery and liquor stores.

Music: In the music industry they have taken a completely different approach to sampling and discovery. Rather than allowing listeners to hear short snippets of songs similar [to the movie industry], artists now just give music away. There are free streaming services such as Spotify and SoundCloud. As well, there are video players like Youtube and Vimeo that make you listen to a few seconds of an advertisement prior getting what you wanted. Since artists make the majority of their money from tour ticket sales and merchandise, it’s more important to gain additional consumer/fan awareness, rather than getting an extra album or two sold.

“While DeMeo insists that the short-term spike in sales isn’t the only effect of product sampling that matters — it’s great for making customers loyal to stores and brands over longer periods of time — the figures are impressive. In the past year, Interactions’ beer samples at many national retailers on average boosted sales by 71 percent, and its samples of frozen pizza increased sales by 600 percent.” Costco

When you’re not in the low-end of a market, wherein it’s all about price, your strategy should be to build an affinity, and eventually, loyalty to your brand. It’s hard to convey how great something will look, or how good it will taste at dinner, through most conventional means of advertising. But once you’ve found those “go-to” jeans or brunch recipes, that loyalty can be much easier to come by.

Once there is a commitment to an Experiential Marketing campaign, certain steps need to be taken to make sure it isn’t going to be just another wasted campaign. These three important variables will have a major effect on its success.

  1. Targeting rather than mass distribution
  2. Using innovative distribution methods
  3. Set benchmarks and metrics used to determine ROI

“…many corporations skimp, missing huge opportunities to magnify a sponsorship’s impact on sales or awareness. One US consumer-packaged-goods company, for example, allocated 80 percent of its sponsorship budget to rights fees and only 20 percent to activation. After analyzing its efforts, it found that increased activation resulted in greater unaided awareness and higher brand recall.” McKinsey

Just like sponsorship activations at sports stadiums, slapping your name on something, crossing your fingers and hoping it drives sales is no longer a savvy strategy. When children wear each item of clothing multiple times, or a parent tests out a new eco-safe laundry detergent it creates an opportunity for that emotional connection to be built. One that cannot be found on a Youtube pre-roll or poorly placed banner ad.

The use of Everlasting Wardrobe’s discovery distribution network allows our brand partners to obtain the impressions they covet while receiving actionable data and insight about consumer behavior. Focus groups have been a mainstay in attempting to determine purchasing behavior, but they aren’t scalable to get relevant sample size(s). Very few platforms, other than Facebook, allow you to granularly target individual users or niche subsets of a population, and that’s what makes them so undervalued. Although the move to mobile is the correct deployment of a marketing budget, making calculated bets on the most evolved and sophisticated platform is crucial to stay ahead of the curve.