Want to know the inside scoop on marketing success? Everyone sells experiences. Not products, not services, not events—experiences.

Every commercial convinces you how this shampoo is going to rock your world—from the unique scent, to the benefits your hair will receive, to the guy that will ask you on a date because of it. That brand isn’t selling you a mixture of chemicals for you to use in the shower; it’s selling you an experience. And that big brand is hoping that its experience will entice you more than its competitors’ so they get your business. It’s not rocket science—we’re all well aware of these advertising gimmicks by now.

However, I’ve been recently impressed by the companies that are enhancing my experience by providing me something extra, something they didn’t have to give me at all. The companies that simply believe that they should make my experience as amazing as it can be just because they can.

Experience “Extra” Examples

On a layover a few weeks back, I was walking around the Philadelphia airport trying to fill my time when I came across this Passenger Chillin’ Zone. Sure, the sign is cheesy but I’d take a leather couch, bright carpet and some greenery over a boring gate terminal any day. Once I sat down I realized that the Philadelphia airport didn’t have to create this special area for its visitors. If you have to get to or through Philadelphia by plane, there aren’t any other options except the Philadelphia airport. It’s not offering the Passenger Chillin’ Zone to make me pick their airport over another airport; they’re just trying to make my layover a little less awful.

As it’s starting to get cooler in Chicago, I’m forced to think about yet another mode of transportation that haunts me: the Chicago Transit Authority (our trains and buses). If you’re from Chicago, you know the CTA is extremely unreliable and not the most enjoyable experience whatsoever. However, I have to give them a huge round of applause: from the magical dates of November 1 to March 31, they have heat lamps on the train platforms to keep commuters warm and comfortable on the chilliest of days. Will car-less Chicagoans still take the train in the winter even without heat lamps? You bet. Will they be happier passengers when they’re toasty even if there’s a foot of snow on the ground? You bet again.

 

How does this apply to the events industry?

As we shape our events for clients, we like to keep this experience philosophy in mind. When an event encompasses a mobile event app, we provide an on-site App Team who is always available to help guide and introduce attendees to the full range of the app’s capabilities or to troubleshoot their devices so they don’t have to face technology alone.  We also supply multiple Charging Stations for attendees who might have forgot their personal iPhone, Android or Blackberry charger or need a boost of power after a full day of networking and checking emails.  And we always make sure we have a big bowl of mints and candy available for any attendee who needs a quick pick me up in between sessions.

Do we have to do these things? Nope. But it’s the little things that make all the difference to our attendees, and to our clients. And we know it’ll make all the difference to yours as well.

What are examples of ”experience extras” that you’ve encountered or provided in products/services/events? We’d love to hear them!