Is there Still a Place for Experiential Marketing in a Digital World?

No doubt, in the past year you’ve heard at least one person make the grand statement “We’re living in a digital world now!” As far as we can see, they’re not wrong.

In our daily work here at MCX we have certainly observed and experienced the shift in behaviour of multicultural audiences from physical to digital. Chinese Smartphone owners are spending over 3 hours a day online via their mobile device. Chinese social media platform of choice WeChat has over 697 million users in China and over 1.5 million in Australia. In India, the forecasted mobile phone internet user penetration in 2018 is over 44%, and Facebook is simply a way of life – all day, every day.

Chinese and South Asian audiences in Australia reflect the behaviour of their counterparts in their country of origin. Many of them are now migrating to Australia and further driving this rapid digital growth in the local market. So, if these audiences are living in a virtual world ruled mostly by their mobile device of choice, does the need for Experiential Marketing still exist?

The answer is yes…more than ever. Here’s why.

Humans are emotional, social beings
Humans are social by nature, they feel the need to connect with their surroundings and other people. This is amplified when you find yourself living in a new country and new environment. The desire to connect with your loved ones and culture back home is only rivalled by the need to engage with people and places in your new local setting.

However, the physical and virtual worlds of today’s connected consumer have come together to create a super-world of sorts. Consumers (in particular Gen Y and Gen X audiences) now expect brands to acknowledge this, and the rewards are great for those brands that enable, facilitate and enhance their social connections. Through the work we have done on Telstra’s annual Bollywood Dance Competition over the past 3 years, we have seen first-hand the impact of an experience that the South Asian audience can share with their friends and family both physically and virtually.

Coca-Cola Singapore decided to create shared moments of happiness for the generations during the Lunar New Year by bringing the young and old together through the Coca-Cola Happiness Creator Machines. Not only did the experience create an emotional reaction (in this case, happiness), but its use of digital screens to promote interaction between people in two different parts of the country made the experience buzz-worthy. The experience was further digitised through a series of online videos and content that all laddered up to an online competition. While the crux of the activity was digital, it would not have been possible without the physical and emotional experience.

Tactile experiences are now a point of difference
With the rise of online and mobile shopping, creating a tactile experience is now becoming the way for brands to set themselves apart. Brands need to embrace the opportunity to integrate technology into their retail space. For example, Nike is doing it right. Some of the latest technology seen in Nike stores in major cities around the world includes picture augmented reality tools, ‘Digital mannequins’ and a digitized treadmill that helps match shoes to running style. When launching their largest store in India last year, Nike teamed their impressive tech-laden retail space with personalised tactile services that made a difference, such as a local run club and sports bra fittings for female customers.

Technology is Experiential’s new BFF
What Experiential marketers need to aim for today is that sweet spot between the physical experience and the best use of technology to further drive engagement, interaction and word-of-mouth. Key players in the automotive industry have sat up and taken note of this trend and are leading the way.

Land Rover China did this particularly well with their two-part experiential campaign, Never Stop Discovering: ‘The Most Beautiful Frontiers In China’. A digital competition awarded a select group of winners the opportunity to discover some of China’s most unique frontier landscapes. Those who were not fortunate enough to win, were able to participate and experience the journey live through dedicated mobile and micro sites, with mileage points earned along the way.

The most effective experiential activity has always been that which resonates with its audience. For Multicultural audiences, the key drivers of emotion, experience and connectedness have not changed, but the world in which they exist has. What technology does is not only create more opportunities to produce an enriching experience, but also share it. At MCX, we pride ourselves on creating offline experiences that will drive online conversations in the new virtual world. Who’s with us?

By Georgina Lionatos

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top