As 2007 draws to a close and a new year comes into view the marketing industry turns its thoughts to assessments of the preceding months and predictions for the coming year. And, this year, much of the reflection seems to be on the subject of experiential marketing and its integration into so-called “traditional” campaigns.
Indeed, there is much conjecture that EM is the must integrate marketing methodology for the coming year.
In growing numbers enlightened clients are demanding an experiential aspect to their campaigns as a greater understanding of the mechanics and strengths of EM spread through the industry.
Experiential Marketing’s strengths lie in being a core part of any marketing drive rather than, as many have supposed previously, a stand alone and marginal aspect of a wider campaign or even a part of the PR process.
When used in a lead role, EM can provide key data for any brand attempting to assess the relative success of their efforts. The information garnered from TV and print campaigns – the main staple of any modern ad drive – is, in general, remarkably vague; Ad space is bought on the knowledge that 50% of viewers or readers will notice it…but which 50% no one can tell. In recent years online ads have proven slightly more informative with stat programmes allowing much closer assessment of the number of click-throughs or unit sales – but this higher accuracy in figures is accompanied by a complete lack of demographic statistics.
Experiential Marketing parallels TV ad buys in that audience share – for want of a better term – is reflected in the choice of location and time for activities. However, unlike TV (or, indeed, print or the internet) the actual face-to-face aspect of EM allows for a much more coherent picture of any campaign. Exact numbers for target demographic reached, direct sales, footfall statistics and more (including feedback at source) can be recorded. In fact, the specific data gathered is largely limited only by what the client desires and this is a powerful tool in any marketing manager’s hands.
Often the vagaries of traditional campaigns have made it difficult to assess and quantify investment returns. EM has also suffered in this way, but largely because many customers and marketers misunderstood how it could be used and what data could actually be gathered. As an understanding of the strengths of this marketing form begin to permeate the industry there is a growing realisation that, when used in tandem with mass-marketing staples, the intelligent application of experiential marketing can provide vast amounts of data hugely relevant to any brand engaged in campaigning and marketing. And, as we all know, knowledge is power.
So, the smart money is on a surge in experiential marketing campaigns in 2008 and their integration into widely accepted core marketing techniques.