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Jonathan Yaffe is not joking when he says our economy is changing. No, he isn’t talking about the rise and fall of the stock market or the way consumers distribute their money. What he is talking about is a culture shift, from a things economy to one focused on experiences. Jonathan knows this because he saw it shift first-hand during his days with Red Bull, where he learned the power of experiences, but also the deficiencies within the experience industry — especially when it came to ROI.

“We were spending billions of dollars a year on experiences and it clearly worked. But what drove me absolutely crazy is that we had no data. We had no ROI. We believed that we were changing people’s behavior by creating these massive large-scale experiences all over the world. But we had no idea how they were actually working real-time.”

On this episode of Marketing Trends, Jonathan, who is now the Co-Founder and CEO of AnyRoad, discusses why it’s time for marketers to stop focusing on their products, and instead think about r how to turn their brand into an experience that will drive lasting lifetime value. Jonathan also details wheat makes for successful experiential marketing strategies and which companies are doing it best.

Main Takeaways:

  • It’s a Lifestyle: Most companies will need to shift their focus toward marketing experiences and away from actual products. As more and more consumers begin participating in experiences, their brand loyalty is more likely to grow, which will lead to more sales from that consumer over time.
  • Are You Making Money Though?: One of the biggest issues currently facing experiential marketing is that most brands do not have a comprehensive strategy behind how to understand the ROI their experiences are bringing in. In order to successfully understand experiential marketing, you need to have a 360-degree view of who your customer is, what drives their buying behavior, and how you can build loyalty with that customer over time.
  • Changed Behavior: Experiential marketing is not about pushing products but rather it’s about changing a consumer’s behavior so their buying habits naturally increase over time. If a consumer only visits a yoga class once a month, marketers need to begin to figure out ways they can alter that same consumer’s buying behavior so that they will visit that same class multiple times a month.
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Key Quotes:

“We were spending billions of dollars a year on experiences and it clearly worked. But what drove me absolutely crazy is that we had no data. We had no ROI. We believed that we were changing people’s behavior by creating these massive large-scale experiences all over the world. But we had no idea how they were actually working real-time.”

“In digital marketing, we’re measuring every cookie, time on site, repeat visits, cost per click, conversion rates. We’ve gotten pretty good with measuring digital marketing so that if you are spending a hundred thousand dollars on digital marketing this week, you can go to your boss and say, ‘Hey, here’s what the ROI was. Here’s the conversion rate. Here’s the CTR.’ What’s crazy is when it comes down to experiential, nothing has changed.”

“We’re in the middle of a massive cultural and economic shift from a things economy to an experience economy. And we see this across millennials that are spending way more money on experiences than things.”

“What we see is that the brands that are thriving in every vertical are really the ones that are turning into fully experiential businesses.”

“The holy grail of experiential is basically saying, ‘Who is this person? What is the experience taking place?’ And then if I can look at the pre and the post, I can actually see how these experiences are actually changing both the brand perception and the behavior of the customer. And then we do this at scale for tens of millions, hundreds of millions of consumers.”

“I believe that Lululemon’s future depends on marketing experiences way more than it depends on marketing things. What we’ve seen is that if people start participating in these experiences and feel that loyalty to the brand experientially, they will naturally buy more things anyway. The best brands are not focused on marketing things. They’re focused on marketing either a lifestyle or their brand as an experiential item.”

“When done really well, it’s not about the money you make from the experience, it’s about the engagement and the loyalty changes that you make to your customer base.”

“There is this balance between art and science. There’s a lot of creativity involved in actually creating and building these experiences, but there has to be the science based on what’s working and what’s not. The brands that are thriving because of this are the ones that are actually connecting experiences directly to revenue.”

Bio:

Jonathan Yaffe, the co-founder and CEO of AnyRoad, is an entrepreneur and educator. He is the founder and headmaster of KAIS International School in Tokyo, and is very passionate about education as well as travel. Jonathan is also the co-founder of Red Brick Ventures, a tech incubator and venture firm in Tokyo, as well as co-founder of the Mirai Institute, the first independent think tank in Japan, which recently opened Midori.so, a creative entrepreneur space in Tokyo. Jonathan has been to 82 countries, lived in Brazil, Colombia, Switzerland, the United States, and Japan, and wants to change the world of travel.

Marketing Trends podcast is brought to you by Salesforce. Discover marketing built on the world’s number one CRM: Salesforce. Put your customer at the center of every interaction. Automate engagement with each customer. And build your marketing strategy around the entire customer journey. Salesforce. We bring marketing and engagement together. Learn more at salesforce.com/marketing.

To read an unedited, automatically-generated transcript of this interview, click here.  

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