Experiential Marketing & The Science of Persuasion

If your brand relies on transactional activations, or field sales you are aware of the challenges in sustaining momentum on these marketing campaigns. From consumer displeasure with perceived high pressure tactics, to high sales rep turnover, to inconsistent campaign performance, the practice is rife with expensive challenges for marketers. And one of the costs is what these practices do to the perception of your brand, particularly if you are a charity and using this method to fund-raise. However redesigning your Experiential Marketing program using the Science of Persuasion can rejuvenate your campaign. Much research has gone into the Science of Persuasion in recent decades and we’ve learned that it works by appealing to a set of fundamental human needs and drives. The outcomes are predictable, and its basic principles can be learned and applied. If the science is mastered and applied in an ethical way, your brand and experiential campaign will benefit immensely.

Here the Six Principles of Persuasion are explained:

1. Liking
People are more likely to buy from someone they like, or someone they are similar to. Make sure your team of Brand Ambassadors align with your ideal consumer, and are genuinely likeable. Include in their training methods to increase their likeability, such as identifying similarities with the consumer, and including genuine compliments early in the interaction.

2. Reciprocity
People naturally want to repay in kind. This is why samples work so well. The small free gift warms the consumer to the brand, and the principle of reciprocity will increase the likelihood of a subsequent purchase. However the manner in which the sample is delivered is also important. The delivery needs to be personalized and have an element of surprise, such that the consumer feels special. Delivering the sample into the consumer’s hands in a thoughtful creative way will provoke in them the desire to invest back in the brand with a purchase at the next opportunity.

3. Social Proof
People take their cues from those around them, and will accept new information more favourably if the information comes from their peer group. Social media puts this principle to work with Facebook “Likes” and LinkedIn Testimonials. Invite a loyal customer to play a role in an active campaign!

4. Authority
This is the principle behind the very lucrative athlete brand management business. A less expensive way than hiring an athlete to endorse your brand is to incorporate two-rep calls where one of them is the expert. Alternatively have an expert on the team and readily available to speak with consumers at events. When using the principle of authority the key is in incorporating a purposeful introduction at the beginning of the conversation, making it clear to the consumer that they are speaking with an expert.

5. Scarcity
People want more of the things that they can get less of. Creating scarcity will elevate the perceived value of your offer. The Science of Persuasion has also taught us that when paired with “Loss Language” the scarcity effect is even stronger. This done by telling the consumer two things: what are the benefits of the product or experience, AND what will the consumer stand to lose by not acting on the information or offer. The scarcity principle can be built into a promotional offer, the limited availability of samples, the product knowledge of the brand ambassadors and event staff, and the event itself. The starting point is with a valuable offer, and then creatively enhancing that value with authentic scarcity.

6. Consistency
People like to be consistent with things they’ve said or done in the past. The key to this principle is that people are more likely to exhibit consistent behaviour if they have actively, voluntarily and publically made their commitment previously. So if someone “goes on record” saying they’ll purchase a product, and especially if they’ve put it in writing, they are more likely to do so.

Contact us for creative, ethical ways to incorporate these principles to produce a more effective Experiential Marketing Campaign! And here’s a cool video to learn more:

Further reading:
https://hbr.org/2001/10/harnessing-the-science-of-persuasion/ar/1, http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2007-12-04/harnessing-the-science-of-persuasionbusinessweek-business-news-stock-market-and-financial-advice, http://www.maurilioamorim.com