This site requires cookies to function properly and provide insights for future article topics.

Have you noticed that our attention spans are shortening? Well, perhaps not so much for us older folks (I’m smack dab in the middle of Generation X, and the oldest of our cohort turns 55 this year), but most certainly for the generations coming after me.

The one thing that seems true for old and young alike is that our attention can be grabbed and held by an interesting or exceptional experience.

The one thing that seems true for old and young alike is that our attention can be grabbed and held by an interesting or exceptional experience. The term experiential marketing has even been coined to describe events that are carefully constructed to seem like an experience but are, in truth, data mining exercises for marketers.

I discovered a show called Billion Dollar Buyer on CNBC recently. It follows a self-made billionaire named Tilman J. Fertitta. This guy has parlayed a single restaurant in Texas into one of the largest restaurant chains in the US, and a $2.4 billion net worth before he was 60!

In this show, he interviews and assigns tasks to two small businesses, if he likes what he sees he hires them to do work for his companies. This isn’t a game show, it’s real business negotiation, and bagging a billion dollar client can make or break a small business.

In the first episode I watched, a marketing guy out of Florida had sent him a single branded sneaker and told him that if he wanted to see more, he’d have to visit him in Florida. He went, got the other sneaker, and gave the guy an opportunity to throw a bash on his yacht – it was a bit of a bust when he used branded plastic cups to promote Moreton’s – the high-end steakhouse chain in Fertitta’s portfolio.

Despite the setback, he gave him a second chance to provide an exceptional experience at one of his Golden Nugget Casinos.

Despite the setback, he gave him a second chance to provide an exceptional experience at one of his Golden Nugget Casinos. Again, the marketer did nothing much out of the ordinary – he gave away T-Shirts, multi-tools and a few other cheap gifts when folks pulled a Velcroed nugget off a wall. He thought he did great, while the casino’s customers were telling the camera that their time had been wasted. Needless to say, he did not get hired.

The key to experiential marketing is that the experience has to be special and leave the participants feeling like they had invested their time wisely and given up their contact information for something worthwhile. Here are some books to help you develop your own experiential marketing, or to advise your clients on how to do it in their business:

The Apple Experience by Carmine Gallo bothWhile some people were writing obituaries for Apple, this company had legions of loyal customers and an estimated $262 billion in the bank, so I don’t think they’re going anywhere anytime soon!

How’d they get all that cash and all those loyal customers?

How’d they get all that cash and all those loyal customers? Certainly not by being the cheapest! They did it by being different. Everybody thought they were nuts when they opened Apple stores, but now there are Microsoft stores and Samsung stores (it’s been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery).

This book offers great insight into Apple’s thinking and how they’ve become so successful. Read it and find ways to apply it to your business and your clients’ businesses too.

- by Ben J. Pritchett

Login