The Knowledge We Gleaned from EMS Will Blow Your Freaking Minds

It’s Thursday. It’s almost the weekend, but not quite. That’s a bummer. But are we going to sulk about it, sink beneath our anguish, and while away the next day and a half in a desolate haze as we await the release of fourteen new glorious, uninterrupted hours of Orange is the New Black? No. We’re better than that. Time is precious, and we’re not going to waste it. So we’re taking back our Thursday from the clutches of Not-Yet-Friday despair with a little #ThrowbackThursday action.

Four weeks ago, we attended the Event Marketer Summit. It’s basically the Hunger Games of the experiential marketing universe. (I’ve been told I need to stop comparing normal aspects of daily life to the Hunger Games, but my tendency to shout, Welcome to the 76th annual Hunger Games!” every time two people reach for the same donut in the office kitchen has a 20% laugh rate, so I’m sticking with it.) The Event Marketer Summit is a coming-together of individuals looking to shoot the breeze about all things experiential and learn the tools of the marketer’s trade. Best-in-class awards were also given out. (HUNGER GAMES.) For your reading pleasure, we’re going to break it down to just three key takeaways, and we’re going to sprinkle in some bad jokes.

  • Authenticity is IMPORTANT, PEOPLE. It’s all about the consumer. Take them by the hand, gaze deep into their eyes, and whisper, “It’s all about you.” (Don’t do that. Do the non-creepy version.) Brands exist to enrich the lives of their consumers, so make the experience relevant to them. Don’t try to be everything to everybody—zero in on specific demographics and channel your energies into constructing an experience that caters to their interests. Otherwise, you’re just adding more white noise to this crazy thing called life.
  • Storytelling is the way of the world. Consumers don’t need to be told that there are a dozen-odd varieties of a certain product—they need to be told why this one is different, and what distinguishes the company behind it. To get people to buy something, first you’ve got to make them feel something in their cold, black hearts. The key to doing that? Human connections. People connect with other people. You don’t hug a TV, unless it’s in a moment of Orange is the New Black-starved weakness, in which case we get it.
  • Let the impact of the experience do the talking. According to Nielsen’s latest report, a whopping 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other people (even people they don’t know), which explains why we as a collective society spend most of our lives scouring the reviews on Amazon. (I don’t care if it’s a four-dollar pair of sunglasses—I need to know that over half the buyers were 5/5 stars’ worth of satisfied before I commit to anything.) When people have a positive experience with a brand, they walk away with a positive association, setting the social media-verse abuzz with hashtags flying fast and furious.

And there you have it! EMS in a nutshell. Now you’re older and wiser and five minutes closer to that weekend Netflix binge-watch you deserve. Get ready to enjoy it, but whatever you do, don’t spoil Orange is the New Black for me, because who does that?

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