The Emergence of Experiential Marketing and its Relevance in the New Normal

Whilst experiential marketing can be confusing for brands trying it for the first time, brands need to create memorable sensory experiences for their customers and this could happen digitally or in person
The Emergence of Experiential Marketing and its Relevance in the New Normal

The new normal has induced altered patterns of consumer buying behaviour. Changing circumstances have compelled the buyer to buy digitally in order to stay safe and remain contactless yet there is a missing sensory experience that has created an expectation gap, or one may term it as an ‘experience disconnect’. Companies may boast by saying that this is the latest cutting-edge tech, but have they humanized the customer journey? A revolution in customer/ consumer experience is imminent, necessary, and needs to be tapped into.

Let's Get This Right, To Who Are We Selling?

The baby boomers and the silent generation focus on the value of their money and product quality, whereas the Gen. X’ers make choices that reflect their lifestyle. While on the other hand, the millennials make their choices based on peer reviews and opinions with the level of engaging experiences the brand has built with them.

This brings me to the question, “What do people value the most?”

As technology evolves and AI becomes more widespread in adoption by brands, people still prefer a human connection at some point because we humans are social beings and we cannot thrive without conversation. So, whilst people readily accept new technologies, apps, self-service, etc. they, also expect a human touchpoint the moment something goes wrong. Have we not experienced this when we receive a package that is completely different from what we imagined it to be while placing the order on e-commerce portals? Apart from just technology easing people’s life, it is now clear that we look for speed, efficiency, personalization, and knowledgeable service.

"The need for experiential marketing has become even bigger." - Gaurav Sinha, Head of Marketing, Audi. 

People will either love your brand or walk away from it.

The global markets have flooded with the e-commerce space in terms of buying options and, I mention global because today, one can buy anything from anywhere in the world and have it shipped to their desired destination. That buying decision may come down to the quality of experience the buyer has had with a particular brand. Brands must plan their marketing experiences to be built all along the customer's journey. The new normal has compelled reluctant brands and industries which have traditionally been shy of engaging with customers online; to now be dependent on it.

Whilst experiential marketing can be confusing for brands trying it for the first time, brands need to create memorable sensory experiences for their customers and this could happen digitally or in person. 

Tech-based solutions in the form of augmented reality, a virtual reality already exist and are being regularly employed in a brand's marketing roadmap. Emerging tech like articulated naturally web is a more evolved form of augmented reality and is emerging yet the adoption has been lagging. The goal of experiential marketing in the new normal is to build stickiness or affinity for the brand during the entire customer journey. This goal also drives brand loyalty rates and ensures better ROIs on marketing spends.

Let’s Now Look at Full-scale Live Marketing Campaigns vs Experiential Marketing Campaigns:

Time is of the essence in the new normal. A live marketing campaign is more focused on achieving results in a set time. It is very defined and finite. On the other hand, an experiential marketing approach delivers results over a while. The experiences from a live marketing campaign are more generic in terms of a shared experience whereas, experiential marketing leads to a sizeable personalized experience for each individual. Using both these campaigns as a combination aka the (hybrid) approach can be effective in most cases; talking from a marketing standpoint.

Is Experiential Marketing Changing the Retail Experience?

Well, most retailers are not even close to delivering the kind of experiences people expect but, there is certainly a push in that direction. Top-tier retailers utilize personalization to make the buying experience easy, quick, and seamless. What matters to these retailers is leveraging the amount of data available on an individual customer's preferences. 

Here Are A Few Quick Takeaways:

•    Embrace human-centered design along with experiential marketing strategies.

•    Acceptance and adoption of the digital future are vital to the strategic marketing of brands.

•    A high degree of personalization is crucial throughout the customer journey of the brand. 

•    Continuous improvement is the key in closing the mismatch between the customer's expectations and how brands deliver. 

•    Brands have to look at closing the experience vs the expectation gap of the customer. This gap varies across industries and geographies. We have to understand that where there is a gap, there is also an opportunity.

•    Humanize technology as new tech can be intimidating to a new user.

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