‘Experiential marketing is new tool for brands’
WITH more and more brands climbing on to the retail bandwagon, the FMCG and durable segment will have to rely increasingly on advertising and ground level marketing. With the likes of Future Group to Reliance to Tatas mulling category killer stores, the reach of the brand becomes all the more important. Marketing gurus feel that experiential marketing will be the next big tool to reach a cross section of the Indian consumer market. Priya Monga, business head of RC&M India talks to Gulveen Aulakh. Excerpts: First there were jingles, then there were punchlines. What will be the next step for brands to firm up brand recall? Experiential marketing is the new tool which brands like to follow. Whether durables, non-durable and FMCG or service sector, everyone wants to give an experience to their consumers. For e.g. if a consumer wants to buy a motorcycle, he would like to touch, feel, relate and experience the product, prior to buying the same. The product or service that a consumer experiences is really important for the company to create or change the mindset of the consumer. The number of promotional tools like kiosks, stalls, free sampling etc. have increased tremendously in the last decade. Even the consumer want to test the product prior to buying it for e.g. even a pack of biscuits. It’s the experience which is attracting the consumer towards a brand. With Indian retail giants expanding and the likes of Wal Mart and Tesco coming to India, would experiential marketing be of help to them? Yes, experiential marketing is a great platform for giants like Wal Mart and Tesco since retail outlets are an experience in itself for the consumer. Experiential marketing further enhances the promotional activities to reach the consumer’s doorstep that will result in brand recall. Through experiential marketing, consumers have immense choice today to experience the product or service through road shows, events, direct marketing or public relations. Wal-mart is one of the brands which is using experiential marketing to capture audiences overseas. After the release of Star Wars III, Wal Mart, which was the licensed distributor of star wars products, promoters, tents and a person dressed as Darth Vader to pull the crowd. More than 2500 people were hired and trained for the event. Does the strategy also help smaller chains and stores in expanding? Yes, this strategy will definitely help the smaller chains and stores to expand as they need more awareness and attention from the consumers and will also get more mileage. The target group will directly get the information about these stores. How has experiential marketing helped Indian companies, in both large business and the small and medium business segments? Whether it’s an automobile manufacturing company or a consumer durable company, they all want to gauge the consumer with an experience which will carve a niche for the companies in the market. As the competition gets tougher amongst the corporates, brands offering the best will make it to the top. Big companies are able to offer larger than life experience due to huge budgets on their promotional marketing. There are many examples to substantiate how experiential marketing has been helpful. Recently, TVS launched a wedding campaign promoting its bikes, to capture the maximum target audience as the wedding season swept entire Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Wedding theme based mobile vans were used to create awareness and promote the newly launched bikes, namely, StaR sports and StaR city (ES spoke variant) across 50 districts. The marketing tool was a success, generating more than 50,000 enquiries in 1000 days. This campaign created an instant buzz for TVS in Uttar Pradesh. To further exemplify, Whirlpool a renowned name in consumer durable market, launched a campaign for Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat and Maharashtra. The audience experienced the brand functions via roadshows, kiosks and interactive sessions. This promotion generated over 600 enquires in 75 days. What is the future of experiential marketing in India? Indian markets are getting more complex and demanding, mass media is working less and less. Currently experiential holds 15% of the total advertising expenditure which is expected to grow by another 10% in the coming years. Durable fraternity would spend almost 60% of their advertising budgets on experiential promotions