13 October 2014

Experiential Marketing in the Mobile age

“I hear and I forget…I see and I remember…I experience and I understand.”
- Confucius

Sample this – Johaan, a regular 23-year-old, wakes up in the morning to the sound of the radio alarm on his smartphone. On his way to work, the mobile again updates him on the mails waiting for him while outdoor communication, from various brands, vies for his attention. At work the PC is his gateway to the world, assisting him on all ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ needs. There is a blurred line between official and unofficial anyway!

On a typical evening his attention is divided between the television screen, the conversations on the phone (he doesn't call it his mobile or cellphone cause he’s never used a landline!), as well as the Internet through his laptop.

The unresolved question now is – how does a marketer activate him effectively? (communication is passé, marketing is all about activating consumers now), he who is pressed for time and space-of-mind and does not devote himself completely to one medium of communication?

Against the Indian population of 1.25 billion, there are over 800 million mobile connections. It is estimated that of these, 92 million are active mobile social users – that more than the population of Germany!

Just like the real world provides an opportunity for marketers to sell to consumers and activate consumers, just the same the Internet and mobile world provides an opportunity to sell and activate. The key to the connect on-ground and on the mobile is the experience. In such a scenario, experiential marketing is assuming more importance for brand to create a connect with the youth. Experiential marketing focuses on providing touch points to a consumer that are personal and encourage two-way dialogue. The mobile phone is unique in its ability to be both – personal and provide engagement.

Along with the newfound self-confidence that young India has in itself, consumers are smarter and have unprecedented access to information and data. Advertisers have long used the approach of one-size fits all within a demographic segment, and relied heavily on creating generic mass media messaging. But they are now learning that they need to be more attuned to the demands and desires of specific target audiences.

The plethora of marketing directed at young consumers has invariably made them develop a shield towards marketing related communication and a shorter attention span. The world and all our screens are one giant advertising communication billboard today and not all of it is interesting and very little of it is intelligent and targeted. If a marketer does not manage to capture the consumer’s imagination quickly, and bring them into the inner-circle of activation, he may never get a second chance with the same consumer.

The new iOS and Mac Yosemite OS have the ability for a user to work seamlessly or consume media across Apple devices on a document or email or anything one may be doing. All one has to do is flick between devices and keep working or consuming media, marketing and activation must keep pace with this to seek and keep loyal consumers.
Consumers are living their lives across physical and cyber worlds seamlessly, seeking information, evaluating purchase options and then finally making brand decisions. Consumers don't think in terms of the stores, malls, traditional trade, modern trade, mobile, internet, PC, tablet etc etc. Its all one huge hotch potch to them and that's what we have to jump into and talk to them and activate them for our brand.

Brand Activation agencies are in an enviable position of owning the last mile for our clients’ brands, few other brand custodians understand the consumer better at the moment of truth. Now, if the agency can layer on to this an ability to understand the mobile behaviour and world of the consumer…..

Atul S. Nath is the Founder; Managing Director of Candid Marketing, founded in 1995. You can follow atul’s musings on twitter @atuln

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