Why engagement is the new advertising
As any business operating in the 21st century will tell you, advertising has changed beyond all recognition. As people become increasingly hyper-connected in the online world, particularly through social media, the importance of conventional advertising is being usurped by the need to provide an experience that users will share and recommend to others.
As such, it can be difficult for managers and marketing staff to know where to spend their budgets. Of course, paid online advertising and even connecting with influencers is a powerful way to build a brand, but the reach generated by virtual ‘word of mouth’ is more difficult to harness. Promotional materials and freebies are key to achieving the kind of audience engagement that grows new footfall and keeps existing customers coming back.
The modern consumer is pretty savvy; they’re looking for venues that add value to the ticket price in new and creative ways. It’s not enough to ‘get them in the door’ – you must give your customer an experience that engages and delights them at every turn, including after they’ve gone home!
Promotional giveaways can be used in a variety of ways to really build rapport with the customer. Give them out as rewards for completing interactive in-venue experiences, as prizes for participating in spot challenges, as a tool to drive footfall towards a particular area within your attraction or as an incentive for customers to return for a repeat visit.
Of course, the younger demographic is key to the success of many of these strategies – engage and delight your child visitors and they’ll want to come back again and again. When they get their goodies home, they’ll wear them, hang them on schoolbags or display in their bedrooms for friends to see, further increasing your marketing reach. Parents, meanwhile, will be impressed with freebies that bring added value to the child’s experience without an increased spend, and as a result, will be more likely to return for another chance to create new memories.
One strategy that works particularly well is the notion of collectible items – a series of badges or medals, for example, that is constantly being added to so that young visitors want to collect them all. Swaps are another powerful driver of engagement – one MEDAEO client encourages visitors to swap their pop badges with members of staff in order to get hold of rare editions, which is a real conversation starter and helps visitors to become fully immersed in the venue experience by forging memorable human connections.
In short, anything that makes the customer feel extra special will promote engagement, and premium quality rewards and giveaways are the ideal way to do exactly that. The return – brand loyalty – is something that no amount of advertising budget can buy!
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