I started using a phrase about 6 months ago called “Immersion Marketing.” I didn’t coin it, but I don’t think it’s widely used and with the proliferation of video marketing, mobile marketing, microsites, social media marketing and the ubiquity of high speed internet, I think it’s functionally something that is highly relevant for marketers (and pretty damn cool too).
So what is immersion marketing anyhow? No, it’s not about bungee jumping into water, but if you’re involved in sports marketing, resort marketing, eco-tech marketing or just want people to really understand your product/service and get excited about it, then immersion marketing should be in your marketing mix. So let’s dive right in and discuss it.
My team at Right Here Interactive and I started working on a highly targeted and VERY specific microsite for a sports teams roughly 2.5 years ago (check out our clients area on the website and request access to our Private Portfolio to see specifics). This was a collaborative project between a few specific companies providing specialized services and an example of Right Here Interactive’s “Engagement Marketing” philosophy. Our mutual goal was simple…. Help “fans” to see what it’s really like to play for the teams. It was quite a challenge as it turned out. How do we get the fans to really feel like they are there, grid iron, on the field, in the locker rooms and working with the coaches? I won’t go too far into how we accomplished our goals, but we did so well on the first project that we brought on 3 other teams who wanted to accomplish the same thing. Today, Right Here Interactive specializes in bringing what are typically live experiences as close as possible to fans, prospects and customers.
Typically, the end result of the Immersion Marketing project or campaign is a piece of content (what we term a “property”) that is viewable by the world at large and gives them deep and memorable resonance to your products and services. Typically, this is not your main website, but rather a “microsite” (a website with a specific focus on a product or service line, targeted to a specific audience and generally for a limited period of time).
Immersion marketing really is interactive marketing with the specific purpose of stimulating the senses with imagery, video and special effects that make the experience inviting, exciting & sticky. It’s usually meant to augment or completely replace the act of visiting or viewing something in its natural, earthly form. Immersion Marketing can be used in many ways including:
- Giving that behind the scenes look at a sports team’s practice, operations, athletes, coaches, etc.
- Wetting the appetite of viewers of a particular destination and all of the amenities. Think Sandles, ski resorts, Yoga studios, Gyms, holistic health care and so many more.
- Ride along with X-Games athletes and their sponsors on events and concepts. Check out what Shaun White did with Red Bull called Project X.
- Experiencing the storyline, characters and behind the scenes information of an upcoming or current feature film, TV show or other movie. Saint’s & Soldier’s did a great job.
- Showing the mechanics and operation of a solar farm, wind farm, energy appliance or renewable resource project. We did a partial immersion project called GBN in early 2010.
The ultimate goals for immersion marketing is to:
- Have people understand what you offer/sell in a way that is memorable.
- Create excitement & interest.
- Get people tweeting, facebook posting and generally evangelizing your property.
- Keep them coming back for more
- As always, get conversions (sales, leads, registrations, etc.)
The Bottom Line
Immersion marketing projects and campaigns show a visitor (with as much visual stimulation as possible) how great your product/service/team/location really is in a way that makes them want more and want their friend’s and peers to want more as well. They can yield huge results in product sales, bookings, registrations, fans and more when they are properly planned and implemented.
In later posts, we’ll be discussing what makes Immersion marketing successful, what some of the pitfalls will be in building out and managing your campaigns and how to maximize your return on investment. Stay tuned for those topics. For now, your assignment is to start thinking about what aspects of your organization could benefit from a little immersion marketing and what kind of results would make it worth your time and budget. Then go for it! Feel free to contact us if you are looking for help.