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Friday, June 06, 2008

International Experiential Marketing Association

I recently came across a website for the International Experiential Marketing Association (IXMA). These folks are part of the wave of contemporary marketers who believe that traditional advertising and brand marketing that relies on soft messages and bulk impressions no longer work. People don’t believe in advertising and they expect your brand to look professional and be well executed. In their words, your customers “want respect, recognition and relevant communication, and they've indicated that the best way to give it to them is through experiences that are personally relevant, memorable, sensory, emotional and meaningful.”

I can’t help but agree with them.

Trade shows are an essential part of these critical customer experiences. They are dramatic demonstrations of how you listen, how you innovate, how you partner, and how you respect your customer. Too often at SEMICON events, this reflection isn’t a good one. Too often booths are set up to recreate a sales experience. Exbibitors have offices or meeting rooms and sales people ready to grab your hand and shake it out of your socket. They give away chotskes and throw parties. They use data sheets for graphics and they wait passively for a customer to stroll by so they can ambush them with a badge swipe or business card.

They don’t reflect leadership, they don’t reflect innovation or creativity, they don’t reflect customer interaction.

Today's customer wants to be involved in the marketing process by being engaged in a dialogue with you and your product. They want to be excited about your products and they want to see you excited about them. They are institutionally directed to commoditize your products, but emotionally they want to see exciting, rewarding, thoughtful points of differentiation.

The proponents of experiential marketing see it as a more holistic approach to the customer/brand relationship. They see it going way beyond traditional
feature-benefit methodology, engaging both rational and emotional sides of the customer.

Experiential marketing can be used in any medium, but in this industry SEMICON events afford the best scenario to create a fully immersive brand experience and platform for product differentiation. To fully leverage the SEMICON investment, exhibitors need to move beyond the customer “meet and greet” lead capture model and embrace the concepts of experiential marketing.

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