What Gettysburg Has To Do With Website Development

by | Apr 21, 2016

You have probably noticed, but in case you haven’t, there is a reason you always exit into the gift shop at the zoo. The minds behind the construction of the zoo just know you have kids. And there’s nothing kids want more than random stuff!

Joking aside, the “stuff” statement has marketing merit.

Here’s why.

Preserving a memory is important. It makes us feel successful. It makes us feel happy.

The zoo just delivered something to us. The experience we just finished was fun and meaningful. On a family visit last year my family saw stuff we’ve never seen before, we learned stuff we didn’t know before, and we met some nice new people.

So, “exit into the gift shop” for a chance to preserve the memories we just made. Refuse the retail and risk losing the well-earned memories you just made.

An oft-forgotten concept of the marketing mix is the experience our businesses and marketing materials create for our guests. The experience is what makes us memorable.

I was fortunate enough to experience Gettysburg National Military Park recently… well, as much as you can with four young children (including a 21 month old who was a bit of a grump).

But, I’ll never forget it.

I saw a cyclorama artist Paul Phillippoteaux painted in 1883 on a massive 42-foot by 377-foot oil canvas. It was a breathtaking, heart-wrenching depiction of the portion of the battle known as Pickett’s Charge, where nearly 13,000 Confederate soldiers marched across a mile of open ground to attack the center of the Union line. While viewing this painting – in the round – an audio show played that told the story of the charge, and projectors beamed different lights on specific parts of the painting that synced up with the audio track.

After we exited this area of the museum we moved into the exhibit area where we saw what soldiers wore during the battle, looked at recovered artifacts, and saw a recreation – with original furniture – of General Robert E. Lee’s headquarters.

Why am I so confident that I will remember this experience for years to come? Because the experience communicated valuable information to me in several different ways. It was engineered to teach me so I would remember. There were images, sounds, videos, stories, interactive displays, and guides ready to answer a question, all working in concert so I could learn. It was a guided experience that made everything digestible – and memorable.

No wonder I spent so much at the gift shop.

Here’s the point – if you are building or about to build a website, this experience-first way of thinking should be your guiding principle. The whole point of a website is to funnel your visitor to the action you want them to take – an action that benefits your business or organization.

What’s the digital version of your gift shop?

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