One of the most effective ways to market a company, develop meaningful relationships and increase brand loyalty is to host a top-notch event for clientele. This is true for all consumers, but especially the Millennial generation, who craves experiences and appreciates personal touches.
“A lot of brands only focus on one type of marketing and they forget about the face-to-face — they really miss out on a lot of great opportunities, especially with Millennials,” says Viviana Salvia, Principal Account Executive at Elevate Planning.
Salvia’s agency, which has worked with brands like Nike, BMW and Vivienne Westwood, integrates technology, experience, Millennial messaging and style to create events for brands that want to target Millennial consumers. From her experience, Salvia says Millennials don’t want to be pitched at, they want to be involved. So when it comes to products, they don’t want to just see them — they want to see how they’re being used and how they’re connecting to the space.
These types of live engagements can increasingly be done with the technology now available at our fingertips. A great example for the home furnishings industry? Virtual reality. “Do an event and allow people to see how a furniture piece would look in their house,” says Salvia. “Show them what they can do with it.”
Salvia has other ideas, too. For an affluent Millennial, an upscale foodie event with a well-known chef would be a great draw. Also, travel incentives — this segment wants to travel and will put money aside for it despite debt they may have or other limiting factors.
It doesn’t just stop at the type of event: How can you take it a step further and integrate results with your store’s ecommerce? Capture data when the guests come in, then retarget after the fact. Have extra personnel on the floor to answer questions and engage with people walking through. After the event, can the customer easily go online to your website for more information or even to purchase a product? All of this will work in tandem to create the most effective event, and experience, a company can produce.
“What you don’t want is people walking through a showroom with static lighting and furniture everywhere,” Salvia says. “You want guests to walk through an experience that touches on all senses, and think ‘I have to have this’ when they walk by a product.”
A multidimensional atmosphere with lighting, music, a reorganized floor plan or new decor can take an event from standard to standout. Extra touches will not go unnoticed.
“If a consumer takes the time to come to an event and you appeal to all the senses, you already won,” says Salvia, when asked if a certain type of event wouldn’t “work” for a lighting or furniture showroom. “You have to have a good balance — knowing your brand and the clientele you want to target is really the key. Obviously you don’t want a nightclub in your showroom though.”
The bottom line is — if you create an unforgettable experience in-showroom, they will come, they will talk and they may even buy … plus, you can’t put a price on the buzz.