Can “Immersion Marketing” Save Marketing From Itself?

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Shar van Boskirk has an interesting post on Immersive Marketing over at Forrester’s Marketing Blog. He suggests that immersive marketing is all about creating marketing programs that create a cohesive and all-encompassing experience across any channel. And rather than just being about interrupting the customer (as Seth Godin describes most marketing), immersive marketing is about taking a more subtle concierge-type approach.

It is an interesting and timely idea. It also sounds similar to the earlier work on Experiential Marketing by Bernd Schmitt and current work on Customer Experience Management.

I see a few key obstacles for marketers who want to get started with immersive marketing.

Marketing is About Customers
Immersive marketing must be driven by the customer’s persepctive of how the experience should feel, not by the marketer’s. Most marketers today are still somewhat myopic. They are short-sightedly focussed on selling inside-out products rather than on their customers, the jobs they are trying to do and the outcomes their products can help customers achieve.

Marketing is About Relationships
It must include stronger pre, during and post-sale relational elements if it is to work for customers. Most marketers today are only concerned with the pre-sale part. Once the sale is over the customer is on their own. As recent research shows, customers place great emphasis on the relational aspects of the customer experience, particularly when they encounter a problem and need help.

Marketers Must Drive Collaboration
It must be driven by strong collaboration across the entire enterprise if all the different aspects of the customer experience are to work at all. Most marketers today only control a small part of the customer experience, and a not particularly important part from the customer’s perspective at that. Marketing must learn how to build bridges with other parts of the organisation and drive the development of a joined-up end-to-end experience that helps customers to get their jobs done.

Marketing is Socially Powered
It must recognise that marketing is increasingly recognised as a socially-powered activity, not a solo one. Most marketers today are only just waking up to the importance of social networks as key influencers in customer buying behaviour. And many of those who have woken up are still using the increasingly broken inside-out, shouting at customers version of marketing, rather than the outside-way outside, trust-based one they need to influence social networks

I do like the idea of immersive marketing, particularly if it builds upon the heritage of experiential marketing and customer experience management. It takes the much vaunted engagement to where it should be – all about the customer – rather than where it languishes today.

At the end of the day, marketers have to recognise that they will only be successful if they make customers feel like a million dollars, not if they just earn a million themselves from sales.

What do you think? Is Immersion Marketing something radically new? Or is it just old wine in a new bottle?

Post a comment and get the conversation going.

Graham Hill
Independent CRM Consultant
Interim CRM Manager

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