Can experiential marketing be your genie this festive season?

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In the age of people skipping ads, flipping channels, scrolling down, tapping next and turning pages, experiential marketing is every marketer’s remedy, says Ankur Kalra, Founder & CEO, Vibgyor Brand Services.

As we get into the festive season consumer are bombarded with multiple offers, messages, and communication from various sources. As the noise levels increase the attention levels of consumers reduce and the ability of brands to create an impact goes down drastically — leading to wastage of marketing rupees spent by them. How does a brand break this clutter and actually reach out to the right consumer and deliver a message that makes sense to them? The answer lies in the term — Experiential Marketing. 

Media sources claim organized events sector in India is pegged at around INR 10K Crore and the experiential marketing sector is poised to grow at a rate of over 14% CAGR for the next 5 years.

If the last few years are any indication, everyone will be buttoning up and leading to kick off their big holiday promotions. Undoubtedly, the retail strength of the holiday shopping season is realized throughout the globe. An EventTrack report says, 77% of marketers use experiential marketing as a core part of their advertising strategy.

Here are some pro tips to know how experiential marketing can be leveraged during festive season. 

Unique value proposition

As competition grows, brands need to reiterate why their value proposition is unique. Understanding the consumers’ shifting mindset is a must. Modern consumers are aware of the fact that they have a variety of brands to choose from, they are well-informed and know exactly what fits the bill for them. To meet this informed customer’s high expectations, brands need to offer a bit more than just great products. A report by the Event Marketing Institute and marketing giant Mosaic revealed that 74% of consumers are more likely to buy products after being a part of Engaging Branding Experiences.

Loreal, Maybelline, Colorbar, Faces, Bikanerwala and Cadbury have been just hitting the right point; these brands capitalised on ‘Karwachauth’ hugely popular in Northern India and engaged with married women (largely household decision-makers) through experiential activities. Quirky and innovative setups at markets, malls & high street locations reach out to the correct target group and engage them with the brand. Research shows 98% of users feel more inclined to purchase after attending an engaging activation.

Brands are spending and gaining huge around traditional occasions. Freeman research says in the next 3 to 5 years, CMOs are expecting to allocate 21-50% of the marketing budget to experiential marketing. Same goes with widely celebrated Durga Pooja. Brands set up elaborate pandals at malls. Each of them wants a share of the consumers’ mind.

Suprise your consumers

They say fish where the fishes are. Stretch your tentacles where everyone goes to experience magic. Surprise & delight them. Pamper your consumers in a different avatar than how you typically show up. Replicating a retail space and simply moving it to a different location does little to engage.

Present it like a service that offers value and earns your spot on their holiday list. Emotional connect is the key, as people are more likely to remember the way you made them feel and that’s when you are one step closer to a consumer relationship that lasts. Moreover, 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience says Forrester Research. In fact, 65% of brands say that their event and experiential programs are directly related to sales, quotes EMI & Mosaic. But, avoid lame tactics. Whatever your angle is, avoid false urgency. Create a real reason to buy because buyers can smell it from a mile away.

Engage in a wholesome fashion

It is a form of marketing that is limitless and goes beyond labels. The whole idea of experiential marketing is to involve the audience in a wholesome process that not only engages directly with them but also goes way beyond the regular spectrum of large crowd-pulling events. For example, something as personal and innovative as a collaborative Instagram Live session can create an experience that the customer will never forget.” It is beyond just events and concerts.

Influencers and social media is always a plus. Online platforms are the ultimate boosters. By 2020, the customer experience will overtake price and product as key brand differentiators. According to Chaos Theory 2019, 98% of consumers create digital or social content at events. Even adding Facebook games to your campaigns can encourage engagement and visibility to people outside your fan base. Adding a gaming component to your campaign is a surefire way to catch people’s attention who’ll spread your message to wider networks as they play.

One of the best-known examples of this is Cadbury, which shows how successful it has been at increasing online engagement. It started in 2012 as Cadbury capitalized on their massive fan base and used their status as one of the London Olympic Games sponsors to introduce the Goo Games as part of their annual Creme Egg marketing. Image-sharing sites like Pinterest are also becoming the focus of some exciting new targeted campaigns. Target partnered with Pinterest last spring to pilot Rich Pins. It worked like a catalogue with prices and other product information. It resulted in a 70% increase in visits to Target.com since then.

As these experiential examples show when brands and festivals join teams amazing things can happen. But losing out to leverage your other marketing channels can be a big miss. Ensuring the impact reaches far beyond those you touch directly can be achieved by 360-degree marketing. Sill experiential marketing reigns supreme and the brand message, its ultimate hero.

This piece is authored by Ankur Kalra, Founder & CEO, Vibgyor Brand Services. 

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