Alicia Dietsch, vp-marketing at AT&T, detailed in her keynote Wednesday the ways in which live and digital experiences are making it possible (Rethink Possible is the company slogan) to tell its 130-year story to customers more effectively than ever before.
“We’re a services company, so what we sell is invisible,” said Dietsch, who called experience marketing a “hero” when it comes to making her company more tangible to customers. “I’m a big believer in experiential,” she said, adding that AT&T provides much more than phone service (spanning everything from TV to healthcare devices), so it needed to do a better job of showing that to customers. “There’s no more effective value proposition to bring our message to life.”
Four times a year AT&T invites customers to partake in its disaster recovery drills to prepare for national catastrophes, like Hurricane Katrina. The company has also designed an experiential laboratory (400 customers visit yearly) modeled after its global operation center where there are all types of highly sophisticated wall boards that control its services around the world. Customers learn tidbits of cool information, too, like the busiest phone day of the year: Mother’s Day.
Before experiential played a big role at AT&T, the company interacted mostly through PowerPoint presentations and flash animation, but moving to “Experiential 2.0” was a must to truly engage customers. Making that shift can feel like a 12-step program, Dietsch said, pointing out that you start by admitting you have a problem and then find cool solutions, like controlling your entire event via mobile phones, to move forward.