Experiential Marketing: Letting Your Prospects Take The Wheel
Back in June I had the pleasure of joining my good friend Thomas Eaton of KGH Partners for an experiential marketing event like no other: the Porsche World Roadshow. Each summer in locations around the country Porsche invites sportscar enthusiasts - or anyone who signs up on their website - an opportunity to test drive the entire fleet of Porsche But this is no ordinary test drive. This is on the track - at 125Mph! Ours took place at the Monticello Motor Club in Monticello NY. We arrived to find the entire course taken over by Porsche with air conditioned tents, lots of cars on display and lots of friendly staff to answer questions. We then sat through a short introductory slideshow - not a sales pitch - but a briefing on what to expect from the next 3 hours and some instruction on how drive the course without crashing and burning.
Then they split our 40+ person group into two teams: one team to take 911's out on a long track and one team to take Boxters and Caymens out on a shorter track. After an hour or so we'd switch. Thomas and I joined the 911 group and after getting helmets on and listening to one more briefing we hopped into one of six 911's and began following an instructor around the track. We hit 125 on one straightaway, finished the lap, switched positions in the pits and did it again - six more times - until we'd both had a chance to drive each car. The 911's accelerate from 60-125mph at an unbelievable pace, but even more impressive is how fast they go from 125 to 40mph as you slam into the corners. Unreal... You can see some video here:
Over on the short track we did another 3 or 4 runs in the Caymans and Boxeters with an instructor learning how to break into and accelerate out of each curve between narrow sets of cones. At every step the staff made you feel special and more importantly instilled an appreciation for their product - all without a sense of being "sold". Suffice to say if I was in a looking to buy a sports car Porsche would be on my short list.
They did share my contact info with the local dealer who I received an email from but no hard sell. And afterward we were able to download a professional photographers photos off the website which made for a nice personal touch. Most impressive is how they do this for ~ 200 people a day for 3 days at each venue. It was the ultimate experiential marketing event and if you get a chance I highly recommend checking it out.