There was a time when marketers believed that consumers are rational decision makers who care about functional feature and benefits. Slowly they refined their thoughts and started believing consumers as rational and emotional human being who are concerned with achieving pleasurable experience; they termed this phenomenon as Experiential Marketing. Later on five different type of experiences or strategic experiential module (SEMs) were identified which a marketer can create for customers:
- Sensory Experiences (Sense)
- Affective Experiences (Feel)
- Creative cognitive experiences (Think)
- Physical Experiences-behaviour and lifestyle (Act)
- Social-identity experience (Relate)
Companies followed all these five SEMs and made all their marketing and promotional strategy based out of it. FMCG, Automotive, Electronics, Personal care & beauty, Banking etc; all followed it and got benefited but there was one more dimension yet to be understood and explored.
The boom of the internet, social media and mobile devices has made companies rethink their promotional and advertising strategies for consumer goods. Digital media is less expensive than traditional media, and lures more marketers to explode their capabilities to reach consumers. This has changed the way Experiential Marketing was perceived; now it’s not about creating the SEMs and move on, marketer has to get connected with the consumers otherwise things might change anytime.
Listening, Learning and then responding is the new mantra of Social Media Marketing. It won’t be an overstatement to say that Consumer needs becoming more diverse & hence marketers has to keep track of it and perhaps the biggest medium/ channel to do this is Social Media.
Marketers have to focus on four key aspects while engaging with consumers on Social Media:
- Consumers will continue to search for value. However, the overall value equation will not equate exclusively to price and product functionality. Value now includes the shopping experience found in store or virtually.
- Product efficacy is now expected as a given and it needs to be affordable. Brands need to show their human side and interact with consumers on a personal level. They will start speaking to emotions, not just scientific formulations. Customised offers customised mobile applications and personalised advice will be the key.
- As consumers continue to rely on the ease of shopping online, gathering information from blogs and the availability of a wide range of products on the internet, the industries will continue to develop new strategies to prosper and to better understand its consumers.
- In established/developing markets, brands will rely less on traditional brick and retail and continue to embrace digital technology as the key to keeping up with the demands of consumers.
It should not be a surprise if 70% of Fortune 500 featured companies by 2015 are those who are most active on Social Media. The consumers have changed and hence marketers have to.
Reference : Journal of Marketing Management-1999 Author: Bernd Schmitt (Columbia Business School)