Experiential Marketing Topic of Opening ad:tech Keynote
Opening the 2005 New York ad:tech show, ad:tech Chair Susan Bratton appeared on stage wearing a pair of wings in a nod to an event later in the day called ad:tech Connect Live, where attendees can engage in some serious interaction. Bratton told the audience this year's ad:tech is the largest yet with 8,300 people expected to attend and over 230 exhibitors vying for attendees attention.
Bratton introduced the first keynote speaker, Lexus Marketing VP Deborah Wahl-Meyer who explained Lexus' approach to marketing embraces the notion that customers are like quests in one's own home and should be treated with dignity. Wahl-Meyer acknowledge the consumer is in the driver's seat today and calls many of the shots when it comes to marketing communication. With technology like TiVo and weblogs, consumers have far more control and voice then they ever had before.
Wahl-Meyer spoke about the Scion which was launched with no marketing budget and promoted the vehicle by mainly through enabling people to become brand evangelists who sung the virtues of Scion to their friends. Wahl-Meyer said marketing is now about helping the consumer find the brand through experience rather than the brand trying to find the consumer through traditional demographic/psychographics means.
Wahl-Meyer shared with the audience the recent holographic street ad the company did that introduced the new IS with a 3D holographic graphic which caused a great deal of foot traffic in Times Square. She also described an online effort in partnership with Edmund's whereby people could pose questions and comments to Lexus GM Bob Carter in advance of the launch of the IS. Many of the comments where heeded when the car was ultimately launched. Wahl-Meyer also built relationships with current and new customers through a "Ride and Drive" promotion where current owners, friends of owners and prospect were invited to a spend a day driving Lexus vehicles. Many of the 50,000 that attended ended up buying cars.
Following Wahl-Meyer, Bratton introduced Hard Rock Cafe CMO Sean Dee who took the audience through the change from a world dominated to mass media to a word dominated by mass fragmentation by demonstrating that, in 1985, the Cosby show was watched by more than half the people in the country. Today, top rated television shows are lucky if they net 20,000 viewers. Dee demonstrated Hard Rock's embrace of experiential marketing by design through its business model which brings customers inside the world of rock and roll with the company's legendary collection of rock memorabilia. While acknowledging it was a bit over the top from a self-promotional perspective, Dee showed the audience a video which really brought to life the notion of customer experience and how experiential marketing can help grow a company. Hard Rock, which started with one store now has 124 stores in 41 countries.