Marketing, for all its seeming innovation and forward-thinking, is for the most part a largely traditional and static science. Accepted theory abounds and new ideas gain acceptance only slowly.
Traditional marketers continue to contend that mass media is still relevant to the consumer – particularly during the launch of a new brand.
This is something Hotcow and its director Sally Durcan intend to change. In her opinion a brand doesn’t need mass marketing alone in order to establish itself and continue to grow. Indeed, an experiential approach in tandem with a more traditional campaign will be more effective than either on its own.
“Traditional methods of marketing alone cannot teach people to trust a brand, furthermore they cannot harness the power of word of mouth as effectively as experiential marketing. If you create a link between traditional media and EM the result is a very powerful marketing method. Few marketing managers currently understand that EM needs to happen at every proposed touch point, not just as a small and separate element – we can help companies to adopt a new attitude to experiential marketing. They’ll see their sales grow at a faster rate.”
Durcan believes much of the unwillingness to take a new experiential route with much marketing comes from a basic misunderstanding of its full capabilities.
“Customers and marketers find it difficult to assess and quantify investment returns and, by extension, don’t understand how a well run experiential campaign can impact their business. Many see this type of activity as a part of the PR process and not a form of marketing in its own right. Furthermore there is widespread ignorance of the cost and planning that goes into such campaigns and, as a result, many customers set aside unrealistic budgets for projects with big goals
If I were to draw an analogy I’d say that it was like designing your dream home, telling everyone how well it was going to be built and then failing to provide enough money for materials or workmen.”
When coming to an experiential agency like Hotcow clients need to treat it as a core marketing activity and provide clear marketing objectives and budgetary requirements in order to be taken seriously. If they don’t understand what is involved in this sort of activity or how it can impact their brand, then they should ask questions – any credible agency will be more than willing to respond.”
The combination of proven marketing and communication techniques to build a plan to talk to potential customers face to face allied with the ability to show customers how they can incorporate a product or service into their lifestyle is, Durcan believes, the key to Hotcow’s perception of experiential marketing.
“Many people seem to believe that experiential marketing is just glorified sampling activity, but in reality it is a great deal more than that. It’s about the whole interactive experience that a customer can get from the brand being promoted. But that’s not the entirety of it either – people miss the point if they think it’s just about the customer; it’s also very much about the staff employed on the project – they need to live the experience that they’re trying to sell, it’s imperative that they believe in it, only that way will the word of mouth aspect of experiential campaigns be enhanced.”
“Experiential marketing is, in reality, a very powerful medium and should be used as part of an integrated approach to reaching out to customers and staff telling them about your product or service and how it can contribute to their everyday life or aspirations.”
“In short, investigate Experiential Marketing carefully and examine how it can be incorporated into your marketing program – if used correctly it will grow your business.”