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Create Out of This World Experiences

The Format Festival held in Bentonville, Arkansas over this past weekend was compared to Woodstock.

Yet, those who attended can attest that it was anything but the infamous historical event. Rather, it was a festival filled with music, art and technology and the integration of all three for a truly immersive experience. 

This got Mark thinking, how do we replicate these experiences inside our industry? What made standing in line to wait for people who were blind folded to assess your “vibe” a worthwhile experience? 

Go Deeper: Mark and Adrienne discuss immersive experiences and what they look like in our industry, how you can identify events to be a part of and what truly makes an event magical. 

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Mark Kinsley: There was a man with an antenna implanted into his skull, a band performing in a bubble, and the largest helium balloon I’ve ever seen in my entire life. The Format Fest created a next level experience. We’re gonna break it down and talk about the marketing lessons right here. The fan marketing show starts right now.

Adrienne Woods: Hello, Mr. Kinsley.

Mark Kinsley: Hello and welcome to the fan Marketing Show Strategies, tips, and Ideas to help retailers and brands grow their furniture, appliances, and mattress business. How you doing? Yo, Adrian?

Adrienne Woods: I’m doing great. I cannot wait to hear about your weekend.

Mark Kinsley: Woo. It was a doozy,

Adrienne Woods: I mean, I, it sounds like it was a doozy and it was like an out of body experience with that whole antenna cyborg thing going on.

Mark Kinsley: Yeah, and that’s just tip of the iceberg. I mean, I ended up hanging out with a group of people called the Sun Seekers . Next thing I know, I’m in a tent and I’m stand.

Adrienne Woods: that

Mark Kinsley: Well, no, it’s more [00:01:00] of a lifestyle I found.

Adrienne Woods: I mean, who doesn’t need more Vitamin D in their life?

Mark Kinsley: Yeah, absolutely. I’ll, Hey, after the trivia question, I’ll read you a little bit from their pamphlet. I have it right here that I got it Format Fest in Bentonville over this past weekend, but we can’t wait on the trivia question. I need it.

Adrienne Woods: You need it. Okay. This is actually a very interesting marketing research type question, so you go. How many reviews does the average buyer before making their purchase?

Mark Kinsley: Ooh, how so? How many reviews does the average person look up before they actually make the purchase?

Adrienne Woods: Yes.

Mark Kinsley: Okay. All right. Do we have a multiple choice or are we just gonna have a guess in mind? Okay.

Adrienne Woods: can give you multiple choice. Okay. Four. Nine, or 19.

Mark Kinsley: 4, 9, 11 or 19. I know some people are gonna be the type of reviewer that actually looks at the negative reviews and sees, Mm, do I [00:02:00] relate to this person? Do I do, do I relate to this person? Or is that a negative review that I would find crazy?

Adrienne Woods: Yes,

Mark Kinsley: if they say, Hey, I can relate to this person, then they, you know, give it a little more weight and credibility in their ranking system.

Okay, So I gotta.

Adrienne Woods: Well, hold on. I

Mark Kinsley: Yeah.

Adrienne Woods: though. There’s negative reviews where it’s like they have five hundred and twenty seven, four plus star reviews and like one negative review and you go down to the guy that like left, and I shouldn’t say guy, it could be a woman, but they leave a negative review and they’re like, This doesn’t work. For X, Y, and Z reasons. And it’s very obvious that they’re not using the product the way it was intended to be, or they just didn’t put it together correctly. And I’m like, That’s not really a fair review. Why? Why did you even waste your time to go make that review? But

Mark Kinsley: Sometimes I see reviews from people who sent the product back and, but they’re still posting a review and I’m like, This is a review of your experience, I guess, with dealing with a return. This does not help me in my product decision.

Adrienne Woods: [00:03:00] Yes. Agreed. we will get back to that. How many reviews does the average buyer read before making their purchase? It’ll be 4, 9, 11, or If you believe you know the answer. Text to set our podium number. But while we wait and while you decide that Mr. Kinsley, tell me about this Format Festival. It’s new to our area.

Just for people who don’t know. Kinsley and I are both here in Bentenville, Arkansas. I’m in Rogers, this was supposed to be like, they called it the Woodstock of Arkansas. That’s how they were promoting this. So take it away.

Mark Kinsley: It was something like that. Of course I wasn’t at Woodstock, so I don’t know. And from what I saw in the documentary about Woodstock, it was not that, It was its own unique thing. And you know,

Adrienne Woods: I mean, I

Mark Kinsley: I’m 40. I’m 40

Adrienne Woods: was like

Mark Kinsley: in 69.

Adrienne Woods: 69. And you

Mark Kinsley: Yeah.

Adrienne Woods: then? 72? No, 82.

Mark Kinsley: 80. 81.

Adrienne Woods: 81. Oh, that’s right. Cuz

Mark Kinsley: 81. Yeah.

Adrienne Woods: it. Okay. So you

Mark Kinsley: Yeah.

Adrienne Woods: a couple decades. Got it. [00:04:00] Okay.

Mark Kinsley: So, yeah. But, but what I could see, you know, I’ve, I’ve been to large concerts and things like that in the format Fest was for F R M A T, Music, art Technology. So from the very beginning, they were talking about all these famous artists and these art installations that use technology, and then of course the music piece of the puzzle.

And you just don’t know what you’re gonna get into until you show up. And so they had, of course, the music piece represented, but then they had all these different immersive little environments. There’s something called the Buies and the Buies are pretty famous, I guess, in New York and la, but they’ve never been to the Midwest.

What it is, you have two people that are sitting in front of a typewriter with sunglasses you can’t see through on and masks over their face. Uh, you know, like a bandana, but, so the band, you can’t see the person. One person was wearing a wig. What you do is you walk up in front of them and they give you an honest assessment of, of your appearance, like how the world [00:05:00] would view you.

And so you stand in front of these people and they type it out on their typewriter and just, I mean, the line was longer for that than anything else in this bizarre of tent. And so I did it and I walked up there and you get this, you know, written thing and they, they kind of focus on parts of you that they think are cool, uh, or interesting or unique.

So there’s that. And then next thing you know, I’m getting sucked into the, uh, into the sun seekers. The sun seekers are all about, uh, detaching from your rectangle. W R E C K, your rectangle. Uh, I love this. I love this, right? Yeah. It’s a little hippy dippy. It’s out there. They said the sun is, The sun is round.

Yeah. Yeah. It’s a lot hippy dippy. They say the great forgetting the sun is round. But today our light comes from the angles and edges of technology. Sun seekers call this the great forgetting our life and mind fall deeper into the [00:06:00] false blue screen light and the confinement of its borders into the rectangle.

Adrienne Woods: My, Oh,

Mark Kinsley: Hey. I have to say as somebody who’s part of the sleep industry, I think that’s really true. We’re always tell telling people, Hey, if you want to reset your circadian rhythm, you need to spend a lot of time outdoors. We tell people to go camping. That’s an easy way to do it. Because you’re outside and you’re following the rhythm of the natural light raising and going down.

And then also we’re always telling people what, Hey, get rid of your phone an hour before bedtime because it emits daytime spectrum light, which tells your body to wake up. So the, the, uh, the sun seekers here, you know, I think they’re onto something.

Adrienne Woods: Well, um, okay, so, but this is a marketing show, right? And so we wanna give, why was this, how do you relate format back to marketing? Is it because they thought so outside of the box, that it just drew this crowd that maybe it never would’ve drawn before? Do you feel, I mean, what, how do you feel this relates to marketing?


Mark Kinsley: Let me, let me, let me, let me go a little further with Sun Seekers and I’m gonna connect the dots for you because one of the things we talk about on the fan marketing show is how do you create retail theater? How do you create an experience that’s immersive and different? If it’s, if it is different and it is immersive, then number one, you’re gonna have full attention.

You’re gonna capture it and then you’re also going to be able to create, um, Hold on a second. I feel like I’m being summoned.

Adrienne Woods: your dogs are going nuts back

Mark Kinsley: Yes. Yeah, that’s Jones. He’s breaking my hippy dippy vibe here.

No, I was, I was saying, you know, we’re talking about creating retail theater and creating these immersive experiences, and if people are immersed, then you have all their attention. And if they do something that’s slightly different or out there, literally time slows down when you do things that are different.

And so you can get people to, to slow down time [00:08:00] and you get them fully attentive to what you’re doing. And, and I think that’s really important in today’s environment. I, if you don’t give people a reason to come out of the house, And be a part of something then, then why are they gonna come to you to make a purchase?

I mean, Jordan’s, uh, in the Boston area does a phenomenal job of, of this with their ropes courses and their IMAX theater and the food and all the different things they do. So when I looked at Format Fest, I thought, what is gonna, what’s gonna cure your marketing budget in terms of not having to overinvest is when you do something that’s so engaging that somebody can’t help but talk about.

With their friends or at the dinner table,

Adrienne Woods: Well, and

Mark Kinsley: am I doing? I thought this was such an important experience that I’m talking to you about it. Um, but it wasn’t just the obvious, like concert things where you have music and you have some hippies with hula hoops and you got some food. I mean, there, there were domes set up that looked like [00:09:00] toilets, you know, the, the, the toilets that are at festivals, the plastic ones.

Then you open up the toilet. You walk inside this art installation with all these different hallways, you can go down, go down with these kaleidoscope effects, and you go into this other domed room. And people were laying on the ground looking up at this projection. Uh, and there was a story that went along with it.

So all these different immersive experiences, people were, everything was Instagramable as well. At nighttime, they put up a giant silver, full, full size hot air. And then there were lights projected on the silver hot air balloon, and then they put in a smoke ceiling. So they had these smoke machines. This is out outside, by the way, on a private, um, airs strip.

Uh, so they had the smoke ceiling set up with lights projected in it, and then the giant hot air balloon in the background. And it, it made you want to take a. And then they had these little carve outs in the woods with stages and, you know, a [00:10:00] big mouth that these DJs were performing inside of. And it was all very vibrant colors and, and like I said, very Instagramable.

So they created an environment that the users were gonna create the content for them to sell the concert in the future. And so

Adrienne Woods: a

Mark Kinsley: those type of experiences and being out there, it, it actually helps when you do something that’s so memorable because now you don’t have to. On cost of acquisition, you’re harnessing still what is the number one marketing mechanism, which is word of mouth.

Adrienne Woods: Well, and didn’t you tell us right before we started recording like Tara thought? So it was a three day event. It was Friday night, Saturday and Sunday, kind of morning-ish. And Tara had said or thought, Well, we’ll go Friday night, but we won’t go back. Right. And then sh her opinion totally changed after Friday night.

Mark Kinsley: After we got there on Friday night and we went to the show and just did all the, all the, these different things you could walk around and do. She’s like, We gotta go back and, and so the music was [00:11:00] phenomenal. You had flaming lips and you had. Phoenix and you had L King and you had Herbie Hancock, uh, Thundercat was there.

So you had all these amazing artists. Um, but, but it was really what was happening outside of the shows that just sucked you in. And she, you know, she’s like, Yeah, I gotta go back. Like, this is really special. Um, so yeah. And, and let, let’s, let’s get back to something I said during the opening of the show, though I didn’t meet this, this person, but you said it was reported that there was a man with an antenna.

Implanted in his head. What was the story there?

Adrienne Woods: He, so he, he considers himself Transhuman, but he actually thinks he’s part cyborg now. his, and again, we talk about these hippie dippy kind of elements. does art through the vibrations that he now feels in his skull and how that, and this antenna that he has now light and colors.

And so basically the vibrations that he feels around him become his art, and that’s how he’s able to do it through this antenna. So I think, you know, wrapping it [00:12:00] all back together and you’re like, Okay, but I literally own a store in Bentenville, Arkansas. How does this reply to me? It’s gonna look different in every part of the United States, but start gearing your marketing dollars towards immersive experiences as opposed to putting a chalkboard sign out on the sidewalk.

Right. Would you say that’s fair? Like it’s hard for us to sit here and say, this is what you should do for your area. it’s going to be different for your community where you live. What’s gonna work in Dallas is not gonna work in Georgia. So figure out what it is for your community and execute on that.

Mark Kinsley: Yeah, and I would say I like to go to places where people are thinking big. Even if you can’t do exactly what they did, you can really quickly look around and say to yourself, I need to be thinking bigger than I am. Because this is what a world class experience looks like, and people’s expectations of a world class experience are becoming elevated because they’re living [00:13:00] this type of life.

They are out in the real world, and they are only gravitating to the things that, that are able to arrest their attention and engage them. And I tell you, even just being at Format Festival as an observer of people and their behaviors, where do they go? I, I would just go get in line where people were lining up.

There were clearly different places. The Buies, you know, this long line of people that wanted someone to type out on a typewriter, what the world thought about them. There’s a principle in there that you could probably think about, you know, So as, as you find the things that are happening and dissect them, and when you dissect them, you’re gonna figure out what the application is.

And then also, you know, it was pretty simple, just like music and food at Format Fest. Drawing people in. Yeah, yeah, exactly. But, but I think it is really important to get out there and find world class experiences. Uh, find how people are engaging with the world around them, um, in very modern, relevant ways, [00:14:00] like I said, music, art, technology.

Um, and then see how you can apply it in your own business to create word of mouth, to create Instagrammable moments, to create those things that are gonna, uh, really do a lot of work for you. and save you a lot of money. So, yeah. And then also, um, you know, I heard people saying that, that one of the same groups that does Austin City Limits was doing the music, you know, for this.

And that’s why they came, because they realized it was gonna be worthy of their time. It was gonna be a world class event. So there, there’s something to be said about working with pros.

Adrienne Woods: Well, and I think if you develop a reputation in your community, that can also be a draw for people depending on what kind, You know, if you sell furniture and they’re like, Oh, so and so is the sponsor of this event, I know them. I really like the owners over there. Let’s go see what it’s all about. I mean, it can be that basic it comes down to things,

Mark Kinsley: That’s right.

Adrienne Woods: then

Mark Kinsley: Yeah. You’re putting your stamp on it.

Adrienne Woods: about it then.[00:15:00]

Mark Kinsley: All right,

Adrienne Woods: Go

Mark Kinsley: trivia question time. We gotta close the loop on it.

Adrienne Woods: There you go.

Mark Kinsley: Uh, I loved it. I loved it. That’s pro status.

Adrienne Woods: review. I mean, I’m getting there, Mark. I’m trying. Okay. How many reviews does the average buyer before they make their purchase? 4, 9, 11 or 19?

Mark Kinsley: I’m gonna say 11.

Adrienne Woods: You would be right. They review 11, reviews before they ever make a purchase.

Mark Kinsley: Another little marketing lesson in there. Make sure you are. Harnessing the power of reviews, and you’re asking everybody that leaves with a product to review your store right away because it’s gonna be fresh in their mind. And then wait. If it’s a mattress, you know, wait a month, two months, three months.

Do follow up, ask for the review, and have a platform that integrate, you know, integrates with your system and displays those reviews Adrian. Wonderful being with you here today. Thank you all for tuning in. [00:16:00] If you have a marketing tip that’s worked for you or a topic that you want us to tackle, or maybe an expert out there that you’d like to hear from, text us on our podium

Go over to down to the bottom, right hand to corner, and be sure to subscribe. Subscribe right now on Apple and Spotify. Leave us or review. It really does help us out and never, never miss an idea that can make you.

Adrienne Woods: visual light cyborg.

Mark Kinsley: Ooh, and join us each week as we bring you more fam marketing magic.

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