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The ROI of Immersive Experiences

When we think of immersive experiences, we are quick to think of the BIG ones, like Disney World, where every detail has been obsessively designed to maximize our emotional engagement.

But what about the more mundane, day-to-day experiences we have at our local malls, restaurants and other destinations? Think about where you go in your hometown and why. There are many choices for most of the places we go, but we tend to chose one preferred destination in any given category: groceries, clothing, casual dining and so-on. How did those top destinations earn that spot in your brain, where you automatically give them your business over what may be a better alternative?

When my daughters where young, they loved one mall over all the others in our city – the one with the Bass Pro. They cared nothing about hunting or fishing. What they loved about Bass Pro were the pontoon boats, which they treated like playground equipment with a role-playing twist.

We’d save Bass Pro for the end of our shopping trip, as a reward for good behavior, and once turned loose inside the store, they’d make a beeline for the boats where they could release their pent-up energy.

Their fun was less about climbing on the boats as it was in fantasizing about owning a boat. They’d run walk quickly from boat-to-boat, evaluating each one aloud to one another, extolling the unique benefits of each. They’d drag my wife and I along and make us sit in the many seats and ask questions about the many weird compartments or switches – to the point where I’d end up fantasizing about which boat I preferred.

I don’t remember ever being bothered by an associate, and we never bought a pontoon boat. Bass Pro had simply put the products out for us, and let us engage with them at our own pace. I won’t comment on whether I think this was good or bad strategy. I’ll only say that we still talk about how much fun it was to go there and play.

These days, only my youngest still gets a charge out of seeing the boats, and that’s why I guess I drive way out of my way to get backpacking food. It’s an opportunity to be with her and connect to a happy memory.

ICX Symposium PhoenixImmersive experiences like this are what we dream of creating because we know that to engage the emotions in a positive and forceful way becomes the glue that binds shopper to brand. We’ll explore this phenomenon at the ICX Symposium Phoenix on February 15 and 16, which we’ve titled The ROI of Immersive Experiences.

Here’s a rundown of what we’ve got planned.

For starters, we’ve chosen a location that, for those living in colder climates, will provide respite from the cold, gray misery of winter. The Phoenix Marriott Tempe at the Buttes sits perched above the city and offers a 360-degree view of the Valley of the Sun. Located a few minutes from the airport, the hotel’s convenience includes great workout facilities and a full-service onsite spa, where you can really forget the cold and stress of home. Our goal is to have an onsite experience where you can learn, network and relax a little before heading home.

Keynote Session: Intel

Our program kicks off on February 15th at 2:00 with a keynote session from Intel, our host sponsor of the event. Few, if any brands are more synonymous with the personal computing revolution than Intel, and as the computing industry has evolved, so too has Intel.

The keynote session will set the stage for entire event, as Intel’s lineup of speakers take you through some of the amazing innovations that are transforming the brick-and-mortar experience. The session promises to be an inspiration.

Making the integrated CX journey seamless, from buy-in to implementation

I met Victoria Wells, Digital Marketing Manager at P.F. Chang’s, at last year’s ICX Summit in Chicago, where we became good friends during the first day’s scavenger hunt. On the final day of the same event, we were both blown away by Blaine Hurst’s powerful closing keynote session about Panera 2.0. I think everyone who attended that session left the event inspired to revolutionize their own companies, and Victoria was one who actually followed through on that inspiration.

Her session offers insights into P.F. Chang’s journey to create a world class experience for its customers, charting a winding course through each stage of the journey, from inception through getting buy-in and, finally, to successful deployments.

In Victoria’s words, the session will show “how relentless priorities, passion for the brand, a positive attitude, and not being afraid to push the limits while taking smart risks are the fundamentals to success.”

Cocktail Reception

At the conclusion of our second session, we’ll break for a bit and give everyone a chance to check in with the home office and get cleaned up for our evening cocktail reception.

Because we believe that relationships are vital to the success of any event, we work hard to create perfect environments for getting to attendees, speakers and sponsors of our symposium events.

Enjoy food, drink and plenty of conversation as you enjoy a beautiful sunset overlooking Phoenix and Tempe.

Immersive Experiences – The Human Quotient

On Day 2 of the ICX Symposium Phoenix, we’ll start off with breakfast and a great session led by Irv Cassio, from Luxottica Retail.

Luxottica is an industry leader in creating singular shopping experiences, and we are lucky to have Irv with us, to share insights gleaned from a career spent studying and creating experiences that leave shoppers wanting more.

This session will look at the following questions:

  • How does one measure immersive experiences?
  • How does one drive the engagement with the experience?
  • How will the experience be a success?
  • What defines success?

By digging in and investigating these questions, you’ll walk away from this session understanding:

  • Why it’s critical to consider both the creative and the analytics when defining success
  • Examples of analytics and measures
  • How engagement is based on human behavior

This is a can’t-miss session that will equip you with key tools from creating great immersive experiences that impact the bottom-line.

Calculating the ROI of Immersive Experiences

Margot Myers, a long-time member of the ICX Association and activist for the effective use of technology in B2C environments, joins us in her hometown to moderate a panel that looks at the mechanics of measuring immersive experiences.

Currently, Margot is in the process of building this panel which will consist of B2C brands and their vendors, who will deconstruct their own deployments and take you through the process of how they put a price tag on the customer experience – it’s not always as easy as it may sound.

It’s one thing to have a great idea that you know will absolutely drive customer engagement. It’s another thing to quantify it, especially in the early stages when you’re fighting for buy-in.

This session promises to offer key insights into the proper analysis of your next great deployment concept.

The Domain of Shopping

The ICX Symposium Phoenix closes with a session that promises to reveal why individuals rely on specific retail channels as they travel on the path to purchase.

Mark Murray, a pioneer in multi-channel experience design, presents the results of the first “Domain of Shopping” study, a research project designed in collaboration with the ICX Association using today’s channel cadence of “search, learn and decide.”

Mark is a highly engaging presenter who will guide you through the practical applications of findings by demonstrating how shopper “confidence” or “concerns” can be embedded in the latest in-store, online and data integration goals to instantly adapt to the desires of the individual shopper.


If you are involved in your brand’s efforts to engage customers and keep them from sneaking off to the competition, we feel like we’ve created a lineup of speakers who will arm you with tools and tactics to put your brand on a better footing – one that hooks your customers and refuses to let them go.

I hope you’ll join us in Phoenix in February.

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