Experiential marketing and social media are made for each other. No less than a marriage done in heaven. Experiential marketing was always present but with the assistance of technology, it has re-emerged as a backbone in branding. Mobile, social media has empowered consumer. When a new start up is formed then the tools of social media i.e. face book, twitter acts as one’s best friends in marketing their brand. It not only gives them huge exposure in terms of appeal but also is cost effective at the same time. Marketers couldn’t ask for a better medium to promote their product or service and that too without indulging huge costs. The strong emergence of social media as a promotional media has served as a motivation to a lot of budding entrepreneurs. Cash doesn’t act as a constraint anymore when it comes to promotion of the products or services.
Let us first understand what experiential marketing is all about in brief. It is about creating two way interactions and experiences that makes an emotional connection with people, resulting in acquaintance and likeability of the products and the brand it belongs too.
Experiential marketing was ranked as the number one medium which would most likely result in a purchase of the commodity or service. In today’s competitive scenario it has become a necessity to make experiential marketing sustainable and even more powerful by combining it with social media tin order to target and achieve a greater ROI.
This interplay between the actual/real world & the social web implies that successful experiential programs today are adaptable and fluid, i.e. able to match the consumer behaviours online as well as offline through a holistic experience that magnifies naturally via word of mouth. The successful two-way communications between consumers and brands lie at the very heart of these experiences. The successful experiential campaigns succeed in cutting a way through the clutter of routine life by resonating the passions and behaviours of the targeted audiences. It is fortunate in the context of marketers, knowing the exact thing that would strike the right chord with the targeted audiences. The information about the customers has become easily accessible for the marketers through the social media. The digital insights help in making the complex story about the consumer’s preferences really simple.
The emergence of experiential marketing has become even more crucial as more and more are learning the importance of consumer engagement to succeed. A valuable mechanism is provided for brands by the blend of the experiential marketing techniques with the boom in social media to engage their consumers in a more efficient manner, making them similar to a married couple in which case the total is better than the sum of the individuals.
Now the question is how social media has helped experiential marketing?
To start with I would like to share the example of Big Bazaar, as it a retail chain of Future Group known to everyone. They have used social media to enhance not only to simply market their brands but to do experiential marketing. They send the birthday and anniversary wishes through messages and mails to the customers. They send questionnaire to customers online to take their feedback. This makes the experiential marketing even richer in nature.
This was an example; we have many examples from the environment around us i.e. from our daily lives, for example, a Coca-Cola had a recent BFG promotion, it consisted of a location-based mobile game that led to generation of 118 million social impressions. Approximately the content was shared on social networks by forty-five percent of the players who check into the games. Coke has yet another famous campaign which reflects the combined strength of experiential marketing along with social media. In Singapore a campaign was created by coke with the title, “Happiness is contagious”. In this campaign, a vending machine was kept which would deliver coke only if hugged tightly. This clearly stated the message that coke signifies affection, love and happiness. This campaign would have been incomplete without proper promotion through the medium of social media.
Reaching people is not a challenge, it is done by all the brands but communicating and involving them is what makes a brand unique and successful. We can take the example of Nike id. They offer customized shoes. Customer is free to choose the colour, style. This is done online. Consumer is offered various options and he has the liberty to choose the accessories and colour as per his preference. This makes the customer emotionally attach to the brand. This certainly differentiates Nike from other sports brands. This is a classic example which reflects the power of social media in enriching experiential marketing.
Every new start up is being promoted on face book and twitter. Everybody is proactive on social networks in today’s scenario. The product or services gets a huge exposure and that also without incurring any cost. The input is negligible while the output is rewarding. We have the likes and share options on face book. It makes the products and services known to everyone and ultimately results in a huge marketing. Not only this consumer can put up their queries, give feedbacks, ask for improvements. This makes them feel “valued”. And we all know how important role psychology plays in our buying decisions.
Social media made PSY so famous. Today not only Korea but whole world is dancing to the beats of gangam style, this is the power of social media. People connect, share, and innovate. We can see the power of social media in our day to day life. But it plays the most crucial role in the game of marketing. As the digital world becomes a more crowded place, brands who succeed to understand that meaningful experiences offline translate into meaningful online connections (and vice versa), will be able to fully unleash the tapped potential of experiential campaigns. So I would like to end with a question that must be in everybody’s mind, “Is Social Media the future of Experiential Marketing?”
By: Mudita Bhandari