We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, provide social media features, and enhance and customize content and advertisements. Learn more
Return to Blog

July 2, 2024

Open Letter to Global Marketing Leaders: What I Wish I Knew

Table of Content

Table of contents

Text Link

Dear Global Brand, Experiential, & Marketing Leaders,

I remember when I was in your shoes. Like you, I strove for consistency and standards in the tornado of global brand marketing, including experiential. Now that I have time to reflect on my 20 years working with brands in retail, D2C, and experiential marketing, I realise I don’t have many regrets.


Near the end of my tenure, I learned three specific things that I wish I had known during my time with brands like Johnnie Walker, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and Carter’s. I think I would have done a few things differently. 

I’m happy to share them with you so you can put them into practice now rather than learn them through reflection like I did. These three principles will make your job easier and more effective as a global leader. 

The three things I wish I knew about experiential marketing are:

  • It’s a potent way to create sticky awareness for the brand
  • Impact goes far beyond short-term revenue
  • It's critical not only for acquiring new customers but also for driving repeat purchases and retaining buyers long-term

Powerful And Sticky First Connections

As global marketing leaders, our big priority is to grow market share, reach more target consumers, and ensure that our brand stays top-of-mind in a crowded market. It’s hard to stand out when consumers have a million options and are constantly hit with new product ads.

The question remains: can experiential marketing efficiently drive new customer acquisition at a scale similar to advertising? 

I discovered that the answer is a resounding yes. Hosting events and activating at third-party events are the best ways to drive impact and depth of engagement, but we also need to think of ways to increase their frequency and reach.

For most brands, growth comes from expanding penetration, increasing premiumization (trading up), or both. Another way to say this — growth comes from getting more buyers or nudging existing buyers to purchase more or at higher price points. 

Experiential marketing is a weapon in your brand arsenal, and to effectively drive growth for your brand, all of your different marketing programs must work together.

Even supposed “brand fans” will probably be light buyers of your brand’s product; maybe they’ll buy from you a few times a year. So, how can you increase the likelihood of this happening?

Experiential marketing is useful for rewarding purchases and creating consumer stickiness. Its awareness and draw on new buyers cannot be overstated.

What I’d Do Now

If I were to lead a global team again, based on my new learnings, I'd invest in live, in-person consumer engagement with experiential marketing used in close coordination with digital tactics that extends it's impact to people who couldn't physically be there. In doing so, I could ensure that my budget would be spent building lasting connections with consumers that power repeat purchases & increased lifetime value, as well as growth through advocacy and bringing new customers to our brand. 

Impact Beyond Short-Term Revenue

Mental availability is vital for a brand’s success. Short-term revenue growth and brand home P&L are only half the battle; you must also encourage strong preference. 

I have learned that experiential marketing impacts behavior beyond tomorrow and the day after. The global effort can create behavioral patterns that continue six months and even five years later. 

For example, shopper marketing, especially sampling, is meant to drive short-term depletions in its channel. Meanwhile, experiential marketing extends the same consumer’s loyalty by creating strong persuasive memories in “moments of choice,” as my friend Daniel Cruz, another notable global leader, said in a recent conversation with me on LinkedIn Live. 

“At the end of the day, this immediate transaction is one time that we have to create that moment of choice, how we’re going to shape that consumer behavior and build those memory structures with our luxury portfolios.” - Daniel Cruz, Global Head of Commercial Luxury Portfolio, Diageo. 

Imagine I’m a consumer. I go to an event or experience that blows me away. Not only do I know of the brand, but now it’s sticky and easy for me to recall. Now, when I’m purchasing for an occasion or a specific product category, I’m more likely to choose the brand I had a memorable experience with. 

What I’d Do Now

The takeaway from my new thinking is that I’d spend more time educating internal stakeholders about the impact of experiential beyond short-term financial metrics. The focus is too often on financial gain without an eye on the broader picture.

I’d demonstrate how it can lead to greater awareness, improved brand perception, and loyalty, contributing to sustainable, long-term revenue growth. This is where consistent measurement and proving effectiveness come in and, most importantly, create a direct link between experiential activities and revenue.

After all, loyal customers are repeat buyers, which increases their lifetime value.

The Best Kind of Nudge

When it comes to brand growth, repeat buyers are just as important as new ones. But now, I think of experiential marketing as a tool that works like an automated corkscrew, driving loyalty deeper into your brand.

The simple cycle looks like this:

As with most brands, most consumers will only buy occasionally. They’ll dip in and out of your category throughout the year depending on their shifting needs and preferences, which puts them at risk for conversion by competitors. 

So, it stands to reason that constantly attracting new consumers and re-engaging past customers is a strategic priority. Ask yourself the question: How do I nudge three-times-per-year consumers to become five-times-per-year consumers?

An alternative to increasing purchase frequency is moving consumers from entry-level products to higher-end offerings. Take The Macallan, for example. Consumers are often introduced to the brand via their 12-year-old whisky, which sells for around €75. Next time, they create a moment of choice that nudges them to the 18-year-old version at €300. Then, the 25 at €2,000, and so on. 

As consumers move through their lifecycle/journey with your brand, they often self-identify as VIPs who want to be closer to the brand. Inviting them to more exclusive experiences like visiting The Macallan Estate or their recent 200th-anniversary Cirque du Soleil show rewards them for their continued loyalty and encourages them to deepen that connection. 

Planning private customer events in gateway cities worldwide connects your global efforts and helps you maintain your brand.

What I’d Do Now

It’s clear to me now that developing a diverse strategy for experiential marketing is incredibly important. You must meet consumers where they are in their journey with your brand, meaning you have to diversify your strategy with different events and experiences. 

Invest in the right mix of events to acquire new customers and bring them closer to the brand for deeper loyalty. This will help you move consumers through their journey with your brand, growing loyalty every step of the way.

But what does this look like in practice? If you focus on awareness and new customer acquisition, you should invest in events your target persona attends. For example, you could sponsor third-party events outside the brand home or partner with brands that align with your values on joint experiences, extending reach in a natural cohesion.

Meanwhile, I’d build loyalty by bringing consumers into my brand home or another owned hospitality venue so our on-the-ground teams could focus on educating them about the history of what they’re buying and get the chance to move that entry-level purchaser up to a new price point or increase their buying frequency.

One Last Thing

During my time on the brand side of the house, experiential marketing transformed how brands engage with consumers. I saw this transformation firsthand while working with Diageo. If I had to do it all over again, I’d leverage the power of experiential marketing to introduce magic moments with our consumers, creating long-term loyalty. 

I’d trust the relationship between physical immersion and old and new consumers, focusing on re-engagement as much as attracting new consumers and emphasizing the cyclical nature of a consumer’s journey.

I hope that by sharing my insights from my 20 years of brand work, you can incorporate what I’ve learned and ‘experienced’ (no pun intended) into your way of thinking about experiential marketing. 

From one brand fanatic to another,

Greg Klingaman 

Step 1: Evaluate Your Scheduling Software Needs

Before researching online booking systems, evaluating your business needs is essential. After all, you don’t want to overspend on bells and whistles when you only need an online form. For newer events looking to scale, a more sophisticated system might be the goal but not the starting point.

Consider the type and size of your business, the nature of your services, and the volume of transactions you handle. For instance, if you run tours and tastings, you should look at solutions meant for high-volume enterprises that can include add-on shirts, beer steins, and more.

Scheduling Software Flowchart

We made a helpful flowchart to help you decide if you’re ready to invest fully in online bookings or look into a free scheduling app, like Google Forms, as a better starting point.

As someone trying to make smart investment decisions, you don’t want to buy a booking and ticketing solution that doesn’t meet your needs. Use our guided questions to determine where you are in your investment journey.

Booking System flowchart
Use the flow to gauge where you are on your journey!

2. Compare Booking Page Features and Pricing

Booking Page Features

Once you have a clear idea of your business needs, you can compare online booking systems that meet your criteria. Have a list of your most essential needs and what would be nice for you to have. Some features you should consider including on your list include:

  • Website integration
  • Branded booking page
  • Configurability to match your brand
  • Payment processing and add-on sales
  • Automated reminders
  • Automatic data analysis
  • Feedback collection and analysis
  1. Website integration
  2. Branded booking page
  3. Configurability to match your brand
  4. Payment processing and add-on sales
  5. Automated reminders
  6. Automatic data analysis
  7. Feedback collection and analysis






What's the secret recipe for brand experience success?

Get the Playbook