Vicarious marketing

January 27, 2009

Don't just tell - show your customers how you can help them. The world's a stage!

Don't just tell - show your customers how you can help them. The world's a stage!

Got a minute? Check out this quick video from the people at the Experiential Marketing Forum. The community there is dedicated to an interesting concept – experiential marketing – which dictates that we should stop telling prospects about the benefits of our products, but instead let them experience the benefits themselves. This video takes that doctrine a step farther by demonstrating how we can experience something without actually feeling it first-hand – vicarious marketing. Letting people experience your benefits first-hand is a growing trend, but it's not new. Printing companies and other industries have been doling out free samples for years (you've undoubtedly used the shot-glass shampoos that come in the mail from time to time).  Hewlett-Packard's LogoMaker ( lets you create a company logo and try it out on your website before you buy it.  Also, author Seth Godin gave away a free e-book that set the stage for the massive sales his subsequent titles have achieved. As we endure a faltering economy and seek reliable, innovative and affordable marketing solutions, consider ways in which you can let your customers experience your products and services before they buy. Can you offer a free sample? Can you launch a trial offer period? Or, can you create some medium that lets customers experience your benefits without feeling them?  The latter seems to be the most cost-effective way and might even prove to yield a higher return on investment. Let's brainstorm.  How can you let your customers experience your products vicariously?

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About Brian Morris

Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. When he’s not writing, he can be found on the racquetball court - usually getting his tail kicked by guys 20 years older.

Anonymous's picture
January 07, 2016 03:21 am #

I have to say those are really important questions and some I don't even have the answers to, but answer to one or 2 can one afford right now to give away something free, well that all depends on the company I think, more of the smaller companies really can't keep their heads above water let alone give away something in order to market their company. This is quiet sad when one is trying to get in the business.. I think one way of doing some marketing, in these time is make it small and in your face, maybe even a business card with a sweet attached handed out at people driving past. Just an idea.

Brian's picture
Brian January 07, 2016 03:21 am #

You're absolutely right, Penny - many small and micro-businesses do not have the budget to give away free samples, especially if the product or service costs more than a chocolate.

What they need to do is brainstorm other ways to get their goods in the hands of customers. One excellent way to do this is to set up an interactive booth at a trade show, festival, conference, or other event. You only need one or two samples, and you can have hundreds of potential customers try them out on the spot.

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