Monday, December 4, 2017

In the Marketing Mix: Experiential

The lines between traditional forms of communication are blurring. With more tools at our disposal than ever before, industry professionals have endless ways to tell a client’s story—one of which is by dropping the consumer right in the middle of that story. Experiential marketing connects brands with consumers by facilitating direct consumer interaction. For some greater insight into activating this side of the marketing mix, I attended the International Association ofBusiness Communicator’s event “Coffee with the Communicators: Experiential Marketing” with experts from Gravel Experiential. Here are a few highlights from the discussion on how experiential marketing can help flesh out a client
activation:
  • Finding the Right Fit – Experiential marketing can take many forms, which allows the opportunity to best fit the brand. From product launches and pop-up stores, to mobile tours and flash mobs, this form of communication can put brands in unexpected places to get direct interaction from consumers. 
  • Planning Ahead – Like any traditional program, this type of activation takes planning. At the outset, the most important question to ask is “what is the objective?” Not only will this allow you to find the right type of program, but will also allow you to address who the specific audience will be, what resources you are able to allocate to the project, if there a seasonality to the event and more. With more dollars being shifted from traditional programs to these “touch” experiences, spending your dollars wisely will allow lasting impressions to be made.
  • Keeping Consumers Engaged – One key element of a successful experiential program is finding a way to keep consumers engaged beyond just one main activation. For example, Gravel XP launched a McDonald’s program in Indonesia, creating an artificial snow sledding hill inside a mall, hosted by Ronald—but they went one step further. To keep those in line entertained, the program included photo opportunities throughout, which encouraged social sharing and allowed the program to reach far beyond the walls of the mall itself.
  • Reinforcing Success – Any program works best with support. By combining elements of the marketing mix along with an experiential event, the brand story can reach a larger audience through traditional earned media, live longer through social and digital, or even be captured for use in an advertisement. Creating a “360 campaign” allows the many fragments of the communications industry to come together, creating something greater than the sum of its parts.

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