Strategic Marketing: Harewood House
Table of Contents
Experiential marketing has many definitions, but the main of it is to engage consumers and allow them to experience the product at a personal level. This means that marketers instead of using marketing messages that bombard their target audiences make the customers directly immerse in the brand. The customers have an opportunity to experience given product and give their immediate feedback, rather than hear about it and try to imagine their evaluation. Experiential marketing is a concept that is slowly replacing the conventional marketing approaches, because the personal interactions with the customer make him/her trust the offered product. Ordinarily, the seller decides on how to engage the customers. The traditional approaches are invites to events, product sampling and free tours, depending on the product. The tourism industry is especially unique sector, which requires the organizations to keep their customers engaged if they want to remain in business. Therefore, it is not enough for the marketing strategies to grow only brand awareness. The need for customer reviews is especially critical in this industry, and experiential marketing can be a good alternative that can ensure it. As a part of their marketing strategy, Tourism companies want their products to be recognized and shared by their customers. It thus follows that tourism organizations need to embrace experiential marketing in order to stay in business and continue to ascertain their relevance to the market as a whole. To these organizations, experiential marketing is not just a promotion tool, but it also allows them to get immediate feedback from their clients in order to improve their services. This paper examines the concept of experiential marketing, as a strategic marketing approach that can be used by the Harewood House with respect to their main market segment, namely university students.
The Harewood House is a country house located in Leeds, England. The house was built between 1759 and 1771 for the Lascelles family, with First Baron Harewood named Edwin Lascelles being the head of the household (Jones 2005). This home is a Grade 1 listed building and a member of the Treasure Houses of England, what means that its historic value has not gone unnoticed in England and beyond. Other than the house being owned by a First Baron Harewood, there are many attributes that make Harewood House a remarkable sightseeing destination and a respectable piece of history (Hill 2008). Famous eighteenth century architects John Carr and Robert Adam designed the house, while Thomas Chippendale designed most of the furniture (Hill 2008). Famous artists like Thomas Girtin were known for spending time at the house appreciating the beauty and often painting it and its surroundings. It also has plush yard with a lake, stables and a terrace (Hill 2008). During the eighteenth century, the house also hosted a lot of people who came to see not only the beautiful mansion and its surroundings but also the impressive collection of furniture and paintings that the Lascelles family gathered over the years. With more than 25 rooms and over 100 acres of garden, this house is not only impressive but also dazzling (Jones 2005). As a monument, it serves as a historical reminder for English people. The house did not just host lavish parties and dinners for the bourgeois but also served as a hospital during the First and Second World Wars and a sanctuary for artists and art enthusiasts at the time (Hill 2008).
Today, the Harewood House is a great sightseeing location, which also organizes high profile events and hosts private parties and meetings. The house also offers catering services aimed at entertaining the visitors at their convenience. They coordinate different events like festivals and exhibitions that last for a long time allowing the visitors to enjoy fully the experience. At the beginning of April, for example, they organize the Spring at Harewood festival that lasts for 17 days (from the 3rd through to the 19th of April) and is free for the members (Harewood Organization 2015). This festival is one of a kind, and it allows the visitors to enjoy the House in the beautiful spring mood. Other events include The Art of Conservation exhibition that will be held between the April 3 and the 1 November, the A Gift from the Whole Nation and the Harewood Rum Story (Harewood Organization 2015). The management of the Harewood House has invested in art and history as their main experiential concepts for the visitors. They set up tours and lectures that art enthusiasts and historians find fascinating. They, however, do not neglect regular visitors who come to enjoy the beautiful sights of the House. Therefore, in order to remain interesting and relevant to their entire market base, they have seasonal offers with various activities.
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Recently, Harewood House hosted a two-day music festival that featured both dance and rock music. The organizers strived not only to create a great music experience but also to have participants entertained with the impressive sights and social ambience. This festival was dubbed Wireless and it attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors who were not only music enthusiasts but also socialites whose main intention was to experience the Harewood House life. It is widely appreciated that the House is still owned by the Lascelles family, and after about three centuries of existence, they have the most impressive visitors’ logbook of all. At one point or another Earls, Kings, and Queens and other important people have graced the halls of the House, both for the reasons of business and pleasure (Harewood Organization 2015). The House today also occasionally hosts Lord Harewood, who is the Queen’s cousin.
Over the past few years, the Harewood House has been famous for hosting music festivals that last for more than one day. These festivals are considered as opportunities to experience the House rather than simply attend a concert, and, as a result, it increased the amount of corporate sponsorships. The House has thus become known as a venue for top-notch events especially that revolve around music concerts. This may be justified by the idea that like the art industry, the music industry has suffered a great reduction in revenue because of the download revolution thus has a need for organizing new and more exciting avenues. The need for these concerts has been coupled with the House’s distinct features to promise the customers an experience of a lifetime. Consequently, they will not only enjoy their favourite music performers but also Harewood House, as well as a number of other corporate entities who are often allowed to partake in the festivities with their own marketing initiatives. At this point, it can be appreciated that the House has been able to capitalize on its impressive location and rich history as well as its vast art collection to attract sponsors and fans who are today using the venue to host other activities that initially did not happen there.
Experiential Marketing Linked to Harewood House
Experiential marketing engages a number of human senses that are not just limited to verbal and visual communications. When undertaking the experiential marketing as a promotion strategy, the company must be sure to indulge the consumers’ emotions, their memories and feelings. Unlike the conventional marketing techniques, experiential marketing is not just about telling the customer to buy a certain product. It is about introducing the brand to the customer in a way that they are able to form the connection and relevance to it. On one hand, this may entail getting out of the organization’s comfort zone of one-way communication to actually interact with the customers and get their feedback on a personal level. It can be noted that companies that have undertaken experiential marketing like Red Bull and Adidas have had a lasting impact on their customers after their interaction. Customers are thus appreciative of a brand that seeks them out and gives them memories to draw on. For example, someone who participated, or even witnessed the D Rose Jump Store by Adidas is unlikely to forget the experience of meeting Derrick Rose and jumping as high as he in order to reach a free pair of D Rose trainers.
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By its definition, experiential marketing is about enhancing customer awareness of the brand by giving them an experience of the product or providing them an opportunity to create an emotional association with the product. This may mean giving away free samples or simply engaging the consumers in an open location and getting them to do something that they will enjoy in order to associate them with the brand for a long time. This is why companies are seemingly going out of their way to create brand experiences that may or may not be directly connected to their products. For example, Ray-ban offered to take photos of their clients at the Wireless festival. The trick here, however, is that the photos will remind the customers of their experience at the Festivals featuring the Ray-ban frames or logos. The customer is thus prompt to associate Ray-ban with the Wireless. In the end, they feel closer to the Ray-ban brand than to any other competitor.
Marketing ideas have shifted from their homogenous focus that sets the marketers looking for demographic distinctions, to heterogeneous, considering the fact that consumers are looking to belong to different groupings, known as ‘tribus’. People who enjoy rock music for instance do not have to go only to rock music concerts. They can also enjoy dance music, or hip-hop with others. Current marketing seeks to remove the obvious limitations that prevent marketers from seeing the real potential of a given product. These limitations often make marketing professionals focus on a specific market segment while leaving out other significant portion of the product’s target market. University students fall under a very specific category of customers. They are diverse demographically but similar in other aspects, and yet in this case they are the Harewood House’s target market. On the one hand, it may be safe to divide this target market into various segments in order to appeal to their specific interests regarding music and art. Nevertheless, this would restrict the House to engage small groups of students at a time. Approaching the entire target market with a group of enticing messages is considered as a more practical way in reaching everyone. The message in this case should combine the entire experience benefits whether it is advertisement of a concert or an exhibition or even private event at the Harewood House. Having appreciated that Harewood House is mainly a location where people can hold various events, it must be noted that the main experiential value that the House can provide is the best experiences for its customers.
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Experiential Marketing
Experiential marketing can be construed as a relatively new concept that is taking the business world away from the expensive TV adverts that are no longer effective and do not bring the expected return on marketing investment. The first advantage that can be attributed to experiential marketing is the fact that it enables the company to build a lasting relationship with their customers. Experiential marketing is about interacting with the customers at a personal level, understanding their needs and expectations and getting them to rate the product or provide feedback of their experiences. This implies cultivating a ‘friendship’ with the customer that will enable them to indulge the company and interact with the brand ambassadors at a personal level. Once this is established, the customer becomes attached to the brand based on their personal interactions during the experiential marketing exercise.
Another well-known advantage of the experiential marketing is increase in customers’ loyalty. This means that customers who participated in this challenge, whether they reached the trainers and got to take them home or not, will always remember Adidas in a good light, thus will become loyal customers of the brand.
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Experiential marketing is also known to stimulate the WOM marketing by allowing consumers to narrate their experiences with the brand. People often discuss the events that they have attended and when Harewood House hosts a great event, the participants are likely to share their experiences with others. As a result, more people will find out about the House and thus consider attending the next event. Rather than relying on an expensive print or broadcast marketing, the House engagement into the experiential marketing ensures adequate awareness in the market. By simply providing their visitors with great experiences, they encourage customers to attend concerts and exhibitions. The idea is to ensure that the visitors are leaving the event impressed and ready share their stories with their families and friends. In addition, the fond memories that they will have of the place will ensure that they keep thinking and talking about it for many years.
An increase in the product’s demand is a likely outcome when experiential marketing is practiced. This is because by showing the customers the positive attributes of the products and its impact on their lives, the company is consolidating its position of significance thus driving up the market demand for the product. At the Harewood House for example, a perfectly organized event will ensure that many other event organizers would consider using the location, musicians would want to perform their, artists would want to display their art there, and enthusiasts would be interested in attending different events there. An increasing demand of the location is a result of high quality of ambience and hosting prowess. The House is not just a location in this case, but a symbol of the good times that people are expected to have as they visit.
The main disadvantage associated with experiential marketing in this case would be limited brand awareness that the company can create. Harewood House is a location in the outskirts of London, which means that experiential marketing extends only to the people who endeavour to visit such locations. Unlike the conventional marketing that allows one-way communication to spread across the world, experiential marketing can only apply to a specific location, what is a great limitation in tourism and hospitality industry. Other than an external Expo or an event at the Harewood House, it is rather difficult for the company to market the House through the experiential approach. This is why the events held at the House have a significant importance on its image as an ideal location for all gatherings including music festivals, art exhibitions, and private parties.
Another significant disadvantage would be the fact that experiential marketing involves personal interactions with the target market. This means that the brand marketers that are in charge of the marketing exercise must be willing to engage the customers in an intrusive interaction. Some people feel rather uncomfortable in situations where they have to interact closely with others who at the time are perceived as total strangers. Therefore, the salesperson is required to have appropriate skills and training in order to conduct the exercise successfully. Therefore, companies need to empower their staff, train them in being friendly and approachable to their customers, thus making it possible for them to engage customers on a personal level as required in experiential marketing (Dess et el 2012). This is why companies like Microsoft may have more technological geeks in their staff, but when it comes to giving the customers a ‘Lumia experience’ they seek out young and outgoing brand representatives who can easily mingle and interact with the customers. The idea is to sell not just the concept of the product, but also the brand image along with the positive associations that will endear the customer to the product. A good interaction with the staff at Harewood House in this case will play a very pivotal role in shaping the overall experience and feedback of the customers.
Possible Passive and Immersive Experiences for Harewood House
Experiential marketing is a concept that entails giving the consumer a taste of the product, or an experience that will later influence the decision-making process. The idea here is not just to prove the value of the product to the customer, but also to elicit an emotional response that they will always carry with them (Berman 2005). By venturing into the events industry and hosting musical concerts, the Harewood House is allowing the visitors to create an emotional association between the house and the good experience they had with friends or family. They allow the visitors to experience their favorite musicians performing on stage at the House thus enabling an imprint of the house in their minds and possibly heart.
Moreover, concerning these concerts, it can be noted that the House does not engage in many marketing activities. The House simply positions itself as a venue for the event, while organizers, musicians, and corporate sponsors are taking over most of the marketing activities. Ranging from online, broadcast and print advertisements, these partners ensure that the House is full for all its events. The House can thus use these events as opportunities to offer experiential marketing to their target market (Berthon et al. 2007). Most of the attendees in the musical events are university students, and, since the target market is already heterogeneous, there is no need to divide them into different demographic groupings (Kotabe & Helsen 2010). Thus, the House simply has to ensure that the young revelers get the best treatment while attending these events and, therefore, enjoy the location, or even organize their events there in the future (Rentschler & Hede 2009).