‘Experiential marketing industry has lost fortune in the last six months’
By Bhawana Anand - October 22, 2020
Divanshi Gupta, Director, The Marcom Avenue, shares the state of BTL/experiential marketing industry, badly hit by the impact of Covid19 pandemic
1. Can you explain the financial stress in experiential/BTL marketing industry caused by the impact of Covid19 pandemic?
The pandemic has made people from all corners of the world to re-think before taking any step outside their homes. Though the ‘unlockdown’ phase has begun in the country, still there are considerable number of cases registered every day, and the spread of virus is nowhere under control. The pandemic has made such a large scale impact that all the businesses, especially the ones running in and around masses, had to shut their operations.
The experiential marketing industry or BTL has lost fortune in the last six months, not just in India but around the world. The stress is surreal, with literally no work coming in due to the pandemic. However, it has recently picked up with the digital transformation which helps brands create digital experiences for their audiences.
2. As various advertising medium including OOH have restarted, when do you see the revival of experiential/BTL marketing activities?
A full-blown revival of in-person experiential/BTL marketing activities cannot be expected anytime soon. However, the changing marketing scenario has created a digital pedestal for the brands that allows them to connect with their potential audience via digital media such as Zoom call, Microsoft teams, Instagram Lives, AR/VR Experiences, and many more and offer them great experience that they will continue to remember and cherish.
3. How do you see experiential marketing happening in times of social distancing? Can they co-exist? What will be the new face of experiential/BTL marketing?
Maintaining social distancing is as imperative as breathing while wearing a mask. So, the chances of co-existence of in-person experiential marketing and social distancing are quite sleek. However, the transformation and adoption of digital channels have enabled brands to explore the new face of the industry.
4. Brand marketers have become cost conscious, do you see any impact of that on the budget of experiential marketing?
Yes, without a doubt, brand marketers have become cost conscious when it comes to experiential marketing. It is because there are very limited ways to present a brand in font of its target audience without providing an authentic look, feel, and experience of the product/service.
The impact on the budget of experiential marketing is critical as brands differ in their choices and preferences and digital channels are the only means of experiential marketing during the pandemic. Hence, the experiential/BTL agencies are not investing much even though its reach and actual impact on consumer is much higher than a social media post.
5. How do you see experiential/ BTL activities to pan out in the upcoming festive season, and which categories would be the first takers of it?
Every year, the festive season encourages brands to go up a notch and beat their own style, reach and targets. With the pandemic still affecting human behaviour and decisions, it is quite challenging to predict how people will react to in-person experiential campaigns or gatherings. Greater chances are that everything will be according to the new normal, i.e. from home and so people will not going for extreme festive shopping.
Nevertheless, festivity is all about people buying new clothes, cars, kitchen appliances, utensils, home décor stuff, and gifts for loved ones. Therefore, FMCG, automobile, electronics, apparel, and other such festivity-related brands can be the first to lead the experiential marketing during the season.