Using virtual reality, experiential marketing has also been beneficial for brands.
Companies world over have embraced digital marketing, pouring in millions of dollars to maximise attention and patronage from their customers. It is an accepted phenomenon that if not present in the digital world, the brands are not really in the reckoning for customer mind share. For the first time in 2019, digital spend is expected to be around half of the global ad spend of $330 billion. Large and small companies who earlier spent millions of dollars through expensive media such TV, radio and newspapers have found the digital medium attractive as it is relatively inexpensive to experiment with, has the ability to reach global audiences with very little lead time and target the audiences with different messages.
Using virtual reality, experiential marketing has also been beneficial for brands. Unlike traditional marketing modes, digital marketing enables timely tracking of response, measure the success of each campaign and collect detailed profiles of customers which help in making messaging more effective. Brands have also discovered the opportunity to minimise fatigue by sharing varied narratives and stories of customers with other customers, thus marking a departure from the traditional marketing approach of repeating the same message innumerable times in order to achieve brand association and brand recall with the intended audience. However, there is a gradual change in the way in which digital medium is being strategised. With customer experience beginning to occupy the centre stage, brands are having to rethink the roles of digital—paid vs owned and traditional marketing, thus moving away from a siloed approach to a holistic approach to connect with customers in the marketing ecosystem.
Small businesses and start ups are finding ways to leverage integrated marketing approach in interesting ways. An example of this from India is WiFire, an app that automatically connects users to public set up WiFi hotspots. It ran an integrated promotion where the campaign was initiated online and the fulfillment was done offline. Pune based Studio Coppre partners with well known restaurants to promote its wares and encourages customers to place orders online.
The crossover to build the coordinated strategy across offline and online channels has not been easy. Due to a different set of skills required for digital technologies, the management of the new channels are being handled by independent teams in most organisations. Further, within digital channels, traditional digital channels such as email and emerging channels such as voice assistants, AI bots, mobile messaging and others are mostly considered as tech innovations and are siloed in planning and execution.
As the number of marketing channels that would be available for brands continue to grow, it would be critical to arrive at the right channel mix based on the maximum return on investment in marketing spend across channels. When brands are able to provide options for customers to choose platforms for engagement, brand satisfaction and loyalty would be enhanced. In this context, data analytics has become the guiding force to design the effective marketing strategy as the insights from the analytics are helpful in developing a better understanding about the customer journeys and customise the messages and offerings to various segments. Getting online customers to contribute to offline marketing, associating offline promotions with an online call to action and using online data to support offline efforts would be the quintessential ingredients for success in the digital age.
The writer is chairperson, Global Talent Track, a corporate training solutions company