It’s mid-Summer so your extra-curricular calendar to lure in customers is undoubtedly in full flow, but are customers engaging as you may hope? Paul Errington argues that ditching your demo day in favour of organising a brand experience could be the best thing your business has ever done…

Isn’t a demo day an experience? Well, yes, but also no.

When was the last time you spent a day at a car dealership test driving cars when you weren’t in the market to buy? Never? Exactly… no amount of free coffee and key-rings are going to draw you to a dealership if you aren’t in the mindset to buy. On the whole people not looking to buy won’t be attending a demo day so how do you get your product in the hands of these people and convert them? Give them a positive experience associated with your brand and sales will follow organically.

So, why is an experience more valuable than a demo?

Put your product in an environment that doesn’t scream sales, offer a positive experience, ditch the pitches and let people arrive at a purchase that wasn’t at the forefront of their minds; this is the process of an experience driven event.

Good products sell themselves all that is needed is for users to experience them. Moving away from a promoted demo day to something more experiential offers your event to a wider audience.

Also, when dealing with sectors of the industry that are particular misunderstood, such as e-Bikes and gravel, an experience can offer a hands on explanation to someone whose knee-jerk reaction to such new trends was instant dismissal. Again, in these instances the product can be used to facilitate the experience without an obvious sales pitch.

Cyclists enjoying an immersive cycling experience

What is an ‘experience’?

“Experience is the knowledge or mastery of an event or subject gained through involvement in or exposure to it.”

As the dictionary definition outlines, expose people to your product rather than try to sell them on it verbally or in a more sales driven demo environment.

An experience can be a host of differing offerings. It could be a tour of local trails, an after-hours BBQ at the store, or a meet and ride with influencers and pro riders. Your brand or product can feature in any of these and will see exposure through association. The explanation of a product without the pretence of a sale is deemed often as far more genuine.

Let’s look at a few examples:

Wahoo Tour

This was an evening racing your mates virtually on the Wahoo Kickr. Hosted by local bike shops with free beers thrown in, this was a night out, not an obvious sales pitch. However, riders got to play with and use the Wahoo Kickr trainers, experts were on hand to answer queries and positive engagement ensured that when those who attended look to buy a trainer the Wahoo is probably already at the forefront of their mind.

Specialized Trail Days

A weekend in the sun riding bikes on trails with your mates. Throw in some free camping and pro riders on hand to hang with; what is not to like. A nominal fee no doubt allowed some costs to be offset but didn’t create a barrier to attendance. A fleet of the latest test bikes were on offer to enhance the experience. After a weekend like that what brand would you be thinking of, or at least considering, when you want a bike. That applies too to other loaned kit.

A Taste of Grinduro Manchester, the gravel scavenge

An experience can be used to sell not just a product but an event. Use a smaller event experience to sell the larger event experience. This was the case with a series of Taste of Grinduro events conducted by the team. When promoting a new event concept a scaled back experience is an educational process but also a cool experience in itself. Like the sample experience of the event then you are going to be left wanting more.