Our Blog

Time for experiential marketing agencies to stand up and be counted

By Danielle Stagg on 30 July 2013

Experiential marketing has claimed its rightful place at the top table. This should be celebrated says Nick Adams, M.D of Experiential Marketing Agency of the Year, Sense London.

Just by looking at how certain industry awards are dominated by experiential campaigns, it’s clear to see how marketers from all sectors have embraced the once, relatively new, technique.

Whether as a marketing agency's lead discipline in an integrated plan, or vital supporting component, experiential can being applied at every key stage of a brand’s development.

Many positive characteristics have fuelled this growth, but two aspects are especially relevant in today’s trading conditions:

  1. The convergence of experiential with digital techniques is providing another means of ongoing consumer dialogue and further amplifying a live experience. This has in part, helped draw a line through the scepticism that experiential can’t reach the masses.
  2. The capability to be reactive, that is to say, getting impactful activities out to market in the shortest of lead times which in today’s trading environment has become increasingly important.
And let’s not forget the creativity and power of a live interaction. A F2F engagement between brand and consumer remains one of the most successful ways to effect long term brand perception and behaviour.

So all in all experiential marketing is in rude health and long may that continue.

But how? Will the steady growth in investment continue and how can we defend our position in a landscape which sees marketing agencies and marketers constantly bombarded with new and different consumer touch-points?

Education remains an ongoing priority and there’s still a real need to get brand owners to reappraise experiential’s role. All too often I hear about clients ignoring the most robust and impressive campaign results, in favour of a comfort factor provided by a more traditional, but less effective channel.

But a much broader challenge is how all experiential practitioners package our discipline in terms of what it can deliver, in an accessible way to brands and media planners alike, if it’s they who are recommending which channels will fulfil a client’s objectives.

Keeping it fresh

Let’s never lose the creativity and excitement of such a high energy and impactful discipline, but at the same time we must ensure we never trade on this alone and put tangible results at the forefront of how experiential is planned by marketing agencies and sold to clients.

Much like a catchy jingle doesn’t secure budget for a radio Ad, brand owners decision’s mustn’t be clouded by a desire to see their brand on the proverbial ‘live stage’, however bold, engaging and tempting the marketing agency’s presentation. I frequently meet or hear about brands excited about trying a new experiential strategy without fully understanding the commercial reasons for their decision. Tempting as it may be for agencies to spend the budget, long term growth of our sector has to come from agencies behaving with commercial responsibility and pragmatism in advising their clients.

Where next?

Take a look at digital marketing’s exponential rise and some parallels can be drawn. It’s frequently debated as to whether brand owners are investing in social for the right reasons, based on clear objectives and measured KPI’s or a simple desire to marginally increase their Facebook likes.

My own belief is that some social media investment is a result of the band wagon analogy but as the plethora of digital opportunities evolve, those succeeding long-term will be able to provide clear connections between consumer engagement online and hard, measurable commercial gains - offline.

Experiential marketing has to leverage its maturity and become more strategic in applying our trade, offering clients greater understanding of what a campaign will achieve and if and how this fits with brand challenges and objectives.

So from the experiential marketing agency perspective, there’s never been a more important time to scrutinise a brief and provide a quantifiable solution - that campaign X will drive Y incremental sales, increase key brand health scores by Y%, gain trial amongst X genuine new users, or whatever the hierarchy of objectives.

Register your Agency

Continue Reading

Marketing agencies take note: Experiential marketing by Pringles

By Danielle Stagg on 18 July 2013

As we march steadily forward into the digital age, the brands that are destined to survive are the ones that can embrace digital and use it to connect with consumers emotionally, says James Fuller of intergrated marketing agency, whynot!.

The popular path for digital at the moment seems to lie in experiential marketing, that is to say creating a memorable experience for consumers through interactive activities that ring an emotional chord. For Pringles, the latest adopter of this strategy, it’s about the fun and humorous connection with fans and with this new campaign- and we must admit they’re doing it rather well.

Making good use of digital yet again with their latest campaign ‘Last Can Standing’, the Pringles marketing team have had come up with giving their consumers the chance to create the world’s tallest virtual stack of Pringles.

Continue Reading

Experiential Marketing in Festivals

By Danielle Stagg on 7 May 2013

Experiential Marketing in Festivals FMCG’s biggest opportunity or just another shopping centre?

As answered by Stephanie Whitaker, Managing Director of ignis

Experiential marketing in festivals 

Over the past decade, festivals have become a core part of our cultural currency. The number of festivals across the UK has boomed; there are now more than 500 music festivals alone (compared to 20 back in 1998), and what festivals offer has changed dramatically – they are now less about the music and more about the entire experience they offer.

However, despite the evolution of the format of the festival itself, many FMCG brands have failed to shift their approach to festivals accordingly and see fill the experiential marketing gap. This is surprising as, arguably, it is the FMCG industry that is best placed to capitalise on the shift.

Continue Reading

What is decoupling in advertising and marketing?

By Danielle Stagg on 3 April 2013

The definition of decoupling in advertising and marketing is the splitting of the origination of the creative idea and the production of that idea.

Many marketers are tasked with doing more with static or shrinking budgets. The answer to this, is often ‘ to decouple’ production.

Despite the potential benefits, many marketers only have a limited understanding of what decoupling in advertising and marketing actually is, how to decouple and who it is suitable for.

This post, from Gutenberg CEO Simon Steel, the first in a series, looks at the history of decoupling in advertising and marketing and provides a clear explanation of what decoupling is.

The history of decoupling and advertising and marketing

The full service advertising agency had a privileged relationship with advertisers. They often acted as consultant, procurement department, media buying agency, promotional and direct marketing agency rolled into one. Production was craft and many specialists were employed to realise the creative idea, such as specialist typesetters. Production was expensive, time consuming and arms-length from the advertiser. Suppliers such as printers and re-pro houses were managed by the agency and prices marked up.

Gradually this model split and fragmented. Media buying went into specialists, as did direct marketing, promotional marketing and web, all splintering again into the fragmented market we see today, leaving creative agencies with the creative idea and the execution and production of that creative idea. At the same time technology made the execution, delivery and production of campaign material easier and clients, led by specialist procurers started to look at their agency invoices and wonder if things couldn’t be done a bit more efficiently.

This set the scene for decoupling.

Single integrated or specialist agencies tend to make significant margin on the production of marketing material. They are often high overhead businesses, with large fixed operating costs. By decoupling the production of marketing assets and centralising the procurement of printed material, clients tend to save upward of 20% from their overall marketing budget.

Free Agency Selection Guide
Continue Reading

Word of Mouth Marketing: 7 common mistakes every company should avoid

By Danielle Stagg on 21 March 2013

Continue Reading

Effective channel marketing strategy: A Guide

By Danielle Stagg on 14 March 2013

Channel Marketing Definition: The management of the routes or 'channels' your product takes to reach its end consumer, and the cultivating of the relationships these journeys entail in order to maximise your sales and brand awareness.

There has never been a more critical time for brands to engage their channel partners as effectively as possible. A long time seen as the ‘poor relation’ within the marketing mix, Channel Marketing is now proving itself as an essential element in a brand’s journey.

Continue Reading

Creative B2B marketing communications tools

By Danielle Stagg on 12 March 2013

Anton Pace, Client Services Director at London-based marketing communications agency, Clinic, is of the opinion that B2B marketing communications don't have to be dull- and that B2B marketers like things to be pretty too.

Here he puts together a list of effective B2B marketing comms tools or ‘formulae’ you might want to bear in mind when communicating with the B2B community.

(B ≠ Boring)

'B' really does not have to stand for ‘Boring’. I can’t see the ‘B2B’ acronym on a brief without mentally adding a word before it and translating it as “(Don’t) Be Too Boring”. Make your B2B marketing communications interesting and fun, even if the subject matter proves a challenge.

(B = Bright)

When I’m in work mode, the more things that brighten my day the better. Choose a strategy, theme and design that encourage positive communication and doesn't make your audience feel blue. In fact, many B2B marketing agencies favour the colour blue, but unless it’s one of your core brand colours, you might want to try to avoid it altogether!

(B ≠ Buzzwords)

Avoid using marketing industry buzzwords in your B2B communications, even if you think that using them will show that you ‘speak the same language’ as your audience. A large percentage of your B2B audience probably don’t use those buzzwords, so why alienate any of them by using language they don’t like, or possibly even understand?

(B = Busy)

It's likely you're trying to encourage communication with your B2B audience when they are at work, so it's probable that they're quite busy. Do tell them a story, (engage them), but do it quickly… treat the key message like a roadside billboard (you really haven’t got much more than a few seconds for your message to register).

(B ≠ Bragging)

Unless you really are ‘the best’ and can prove it, it might be best to avoid over-stating your skill… at best you’ll just get lost in the mass over-claimers, at worst someone will find you out. But don’t be shy when communicating to a B2B audience– try to provide evidence of how your product/service has positively impacted on someone’s business… And remember that if it’s true, it’s not really ‘bragging’ at all.

(B = C)

One of our creative directors at here at marketing comms agency, Clinic regularly trots out the line that “a B is just a C at work”. I don’t know whether it’s his own line or whether he just ‘borrowed’ it, but I don’t really care, it really is the key thing to remember when developing trade brand comms materials. Any B2B audience, whatever the content/context of the message, needs to be ‘engaged’ in order to take it in - you’re unlikely to be engaging the B2B community or putting out good marketing communications if you're boring your audience to death, right?

Example of a creative B2B marketing campaign

A good example of how using these tools can lead to successful B2B marketing communication is the CBS Outdoor ‘Look for Longer’ campaign. Clinic developed and created the stunningly eye-catching and attention-grabbing (it’s not bragging if it's true!) cross-track 48-sheet posters which appeared all over the London Underground, enabling our client to reach and engage consumer and media trade audiences and demonstrate extended engagement via mobile and other digital media.

It’s definitely a B2B communication, but through using massive ‘consumer’ engagement to prove the science of the ‘business’ product/service, it’s selling too. And look at the interest it generated: www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdfafZihRUM
Clinic is an independent, full service creative agency based in Farringdon, London EC1, developing and producing consumer and trade brand communications for clients including Barclays Bank, Network Rail, Arsenal FC, Madame Tussauds and CBS Outdoor.
Continue Reading

The Surprising Marketing Job Titles for the Future

By Danielle Stagg on 19 February 2013

What are the marketing job titles of the future? This recent piece in Forbes looks at just that.

Continue Reading