If you have ever been to Augusta National, you know what I am talking about. There is no other sports experience like going to The Masters. When you drive to the course, all you can see are rundown retail strip centers and used car lots. It does not look like much. But once you park your car and walk down a narrow, unassuming road and pass through the gates, it is like you are entering a cathedral made from heavenly gifts of perfectly manicured green grass and magnolia, oak and pine trees lining the entrance. The smell of azaleas fills the air. The sounds of the nearby street quickly disappear and the silence of the course is prayer-like.
Every aspect of your visit has been planned — from the number of tickets that are sold each day to where I can buy my Master’s memorabilia. By the way, this is the only place you can get anything with the Masters logo. It is not online or sold through any other retailer. And, of course, they have UPS on site to ship it home so I do not have to carry anything on the course or on the plane. It is the ultimate experience.
Marketers should take a page from the Masters’ playbook on creating a memorable experience. What are the things your brand is doing when you are face to face with customers that they cannot get anywhere else? What will your customers remembers about their experience? Is it valuable enough that they would want to buy items with your brand’s logo to remember the occasion or to brag to their friends about where they have been? Regardless of the category you are in, from restaurants and hotels, to retail shops or sporting events, you have to find the emotional triggers that will turn your customers into fans. It has to be special. In this day of online shopping and experience, what can you give your visitors that they cannot get online? Or can you integrate the online and offline experience to make it even more enjoyable? I think sports teams are really missing the boat on using social media during a game and inside the stadium. Many facilities don’t even have a great signal inside the building.
So, if you have time to watch a little TV this weekend, tune in to the Masters. Watch the expressions on the faces of the fans who have been sitting in their chairs all day to get a view of some of the great golfers taking on the legendary course. The story is as much about the course as it is about the golfers. So as you watch, think about how your brand could do the same thing. How can you turn your visitors into raving fans?