By definition, experiential marketing utilizes many of our senses.
That aligns quite well with the different types of learning styles. Most people don’t fall squarely into one of the four types of learning styles—we might lean more towards one than the others, but by trying out all four, we’ll get the best experience.
The four major styles are VARK: Visual, auditory, read/write, and kinesthetic. When we talk about children and learning styles, it’s easy to see how some might do better with verbal instructions to complete a task. Others might need to physically touch and manipulate an object in order to understand it. Learning styles are dependent on a variety of emotional, cognitive and environment factors, and are influenced by past experiences. It’s a long way of saying everyone’s different.
However, if we look closer at what encompasses the four major learning styles, it’s easy to see how including as many elements of all four as possible in an experiential marketing campaign could be a great help.
Visual learners prefer looking at images, graphic organizers, maps and the likes in a classroom setting. In the real world, they’ll be drawn towards eye-catching ads, banners, and the visual aspects of an in-person event. There’s a reason why a two-decked tradeshow construct gets a lot more attention than a one-story construction. Visual learners are all around us, and humans are naturally drawn to the unique.
Listening and speaking is paramount to these learners in a classroom setting. They do well in lecture halls, group discussions, benefit from mnemonic devices and repetition is very helpful with them. Repetition also has a prime spot in all aspects of marketing. In the real world and in experiential marketing events, auditory can include music, chant and repeat, sing-alongs and the link. We can often hear things before we see them, and if something sounds fun, exciting or unusual, the human tendency is to check it out.
Read and write
This is the latest inclusion in learning styles, and in the classroom these students are serious notetakers. They read a lot and often report that it’s easier for them to communicate in writing rather than speaking. They’re the first to notice poor grammar or typos. In the real world, these people are going to be seek out text to help fill in the blanks. Experiential marketing can appeal to these learners by offering placards with additional information (think museum description pieces) or offering take-home reading supplies that are engaging.
Humans like to touch, and for many of us an item doesn’t feel “real” until we’ve felt it. Spend a few minutes watching people enter a retail shop and it’s easy to see that we learn by touch. We’re all “hands-on” learners to some degree, particularly if an item looks like it would be interesting to manipulate. In the real world, there are countless ways you can engage kinesthetic learners by encouraging touch. It also feels a bit taboo since, as children, we’re often told, “Look, but don’t touch.”
Our learning styles aren’t set in stone, but simply a parameter by which to gauge the best way we learn, engage and digest information. However, those in the world of experiential marketing would do well to consider these four pillars of learning styles and incorporate them into the next campaign. After all, we spend much of our life learning and in classrooms—it just makes sense to extend habits into real world marketing.