Why marketers are focusing on Experiential Marketing

Why marketers are focusing on Experiential Marketing

Traditional marketing practices such as television, radio, and print advertising are known to be a form of communication that delivers the brand’s message either verbally or visually. Experiential marketing on the other hand helps the brand engage with the consumer by interacting with them through as many senses as possible. Instead of merely receiving information on the brand and its products, experiential marketing aims to create a series of events where consumers are provided with the opportunity, to taste, touch, learn and experience the product prior to making the purchasing decision.

More often than not, experiential marketing was known to be used by brands to supplement traditional marketing campaigns. However, over time brands have started to understand how independent experiential marketing programs can also strongly influence their consumers.

The primary reasons for this can be identified as the following:

  • Statistics from Blackjack Promotions state that 89% of consumers want to try a product before they buy it.
  • Brands are starting to sense how difficult it is to connect with consumers through traditional marketing methods, as they grow more and more likely to block and ignore ads.

As stated by the CMO of Mastercard, Raja Rajamannar, with the amount of clutter the consumers have to cut through on a daily basis, their attention span has been reduced to 6 seconds. In order to inspire the consumer in that amount of time, it is imperative for a brand to develop customer relationships by allowing them to co-create the brand’s marketing program. This in turn will imbed a memorable and emotional link in the consumer’s mind about the brand.

An article on AdWeek identifies how several brands such as Jaguar, Absolut, Mastercard, and more have started investing in experiential marketing to work on creating a substantial relationship with the consumer in order to induce customer loyalty. This is primarily because through experiential marketing brands can have a conversation with the consumers where there is a dialogue going back & forth hence allowing them to listen and understand their needs, wants, or concerns.

Having said all of the above, in today’s day & age the importance of social media, has slightly altered the KPIs for experiential marketing. Brands have noted that if the experience isn’t being documented and amplified on social platforms the exercise becomes worthless.

Marketing spend has been shifting to Below-the-line!

Marketing spend has been shifting to Below-the-line!

The shift in marketing spend from mass media branding efforts to targeted, direct response marketing, including interactive marketing, is happening in front of us.

Simply said, above-the-line marketing that utilizes generic messages to build awareness is no longer the best way to influence customer behavior. Below-the-line initiatives are more successful because they stress targeted and customer-centric communications. Below-the-line also creates measurable results and ROI metrics, which are important to marketers under growing pressure to prove the value of their campaigns. If we were to check the data of the last 10-15years, the next 5-10 years the whole marketing spend will shift to BTL and Direct Consumer Engagement programs. Readership habits have changed over the years from newspapers and magazines to Online. Viewership habits are shifting from TV to Netflix and Youtube.

The shift from ATL to BTL spending is in part the result of changing consumer attitudes; more sophisticated consumers demand relevant messaging that engages them in a dialog, and which allows them to interact with the marketer through their preferred communication channels. At the same time, technology allows marketers to better target consumers, and to better track results and measure ROI of BTL campaigns (and I include Digital also in BTL as it’s targeted), so agency clients and marketers are demanding such accountability.

We can easily define ATL marketing channels as those striving to reach mass audiences with messages that reinforce brands, communicate general product information or inspire an emotional response. This includes Print, TV, Radio, Outdoor – broadcast advertising. BTL marketing is made up of targeted, direct marketing efforts with convenient response mechanisms and that are easy to measure. Examples include brand activations, roadshows, promotional marketing, digital and social media.

Brand Activation

Brand Activation is the art of driving consumer action through brand interaction and experiences. The key aim of these campaigns is to get consumers to act and to bring brands to life via experiences and forming long-term emotional connections.

In Store Marketing

Marketing activities done within the retail store are called In-store marketing activities. These below-the-line activities make use of various points of sales to get the most return out of the investments.

Advantages of Below the line marketing

Extremely Targeted

Conversions are better when the communication is done according to the customer’s wants. Since BTL marketing strategies are extremely targeted, results are better in terms of conversions.

Better ROI

Below the line, promotional efforts are focused on specific target groups, have a better reach, can be easily executed, tracked, and controlled. Hence BTL strategies provide a better ROI in terms of conversion.

Easy Control

The return from these activities can be easily tracked and monitored and steps can be taken to improve ROI.


Below the line advertising strategies are designed according to the needs of a specific target group and hence can be molded differently for different customer groups.

Activations in the NEXT normal

Activations in the NEXT normal

The marketing industry as we know it has changed a lot since 2019. The onset of the pandemic spurred us all out of our comfort zones, much faster and with more ease, than anticipated.
Restrictions increased, shopper behavior changed, spending was slashed and ecommerce platforms grew. There was also more focus on health/ protection and the need for social distancing, avoiding personal contact at any cost, meant that the marketing industry took a big hit – especially brand activation.