Guest Column: Creating the right ‘Experience Economy’

In an 'Experience Economy', information is distributed through stories of product or service, which is then 'experienced' by the end-users, says events consultant Tanaz Basrur

Guest Column: Creating the right ‘Experience Economy’

Experiential marketing is not about just sampling, live events, PR stunts, field marketing or indeed the big thing. These are simply the outcomes of experiential marketing. To understand what experiential marketing really is, we need to understand its history and what it delivers.

All marketing is about the ‘delivery of information’ – be that a message, a piece of news or a sales offer, and how you go about telling that story. Today, it is about how we choose to deliver that information, which is key to our communication, and how our audiences choose to accept that information that creates brand and company growth besides that much desired trust.

Today, information is distributed via a variety of mediums for which brands pay high revenues due to the high cost involved in production. TV, radio and other media delivers information to mass audiences. Much like a fireworks display, this is a mass activity that is big, bold and happens for a short period of time and then ends. As we live in a world dominated by mass-customisation, cheap, personalised production catering to small niches, experiential marketing begins to thrive.

What differentiates the different mediums is how we deliver that information to people in what has been coined as ‘The Experience Economy’.

Any experience must orchestrate memorable events for their customers and that memory itself becomes the product – the experience. In an age of commoditisation, where most products and services are undifferentiated, consumers shift their focus from product and service attributes to the experience obtained while using the product or service.

Hence, experiential marketing was born out of “evolution” and a shift in consumer focus and need. In an ‘Experience Economy’, information is distributed through stories; every product or service you are selling has a story and is of course then ‘experienced’ by the end-users. Experiential marketing tells these stories using both visual and verbal elements.

Therefore, experiential marketing is a powerful communication channel used in delivering information to a core audience through a memorable experience.

A recent piece of research suggests field marketing as the most successful way to appease customers. Better still, the study identifies a combination of sampling with elements of experiential as the most effective method of field marketing.

Experiential activities with free sample create a 90 per cent increase in brand awareness, coupled with 91 per cent increased likelihood to purchase. Sampling is also proven to greatly impact word of mouth promotion, with each person directly participating in the campaign spreading the message to four other people.

In India, we are experienced in creating the very best sampling strategies and logistics. Through various research studies we have been able to compile some great insights from brand leaders, who described sampling as ‘a key factor‘ that ‘directly drives uptake from the stores’, ‘provides an avenue to get good consumer feedback’, and ‘critical to establish an emotional link with brand’.

A further idea that I strongly support is the integration of experiential with the rest of the marketing mix. We marketers realise the impact an experiential campaign can have. Indeed, experiential marketing has a great impact on a brand’s perception.

Let us see how a product’s experience can enhance a consumer’s buying decision. Experiential marketing is proven to be the best way to create two-way interactions and emotional connectivity, allowing consumers to experience the brand, build trust, drive purchase and recommend to friends.

With the concept of integration, brands realise that consumers want more added value, but the ability to integrate experiential campaigns with the rest of the mix should be left to experiential specialists, who have the expert awareness, experience and skills to execute your experiential marketing strategy from the outset and maximise your RoI.

Tanaz Basrur is a wedding planner and events consultant. She has 33 years of work experience behind her in the corporate world, the service, media and entertainment industries.

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