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FMCGs Explore Experiential Marketing, Claims Market Share

Experiential marketing or brand activation known as road show has gained so much prominence especially within the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector.

Afolabi Idowu

Operators in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector are moving towards experiential marketing as a way of marketing their products across the country. The Union gathered that from relative obscurity about two decades ago, experiential marketing or brand activation known as road show is fast gaining acceptance within the FMCGs. Investigations show that the advent of vibrant telephony companies, shopping mall, pasta foods and so on into the Nigerian market has also helped to boost this form of marketing, stamping its authority and efficacy as a marketing tool. The paradigm change was greatly facilitated by the group of experts who came together to form Experiential Marketing Association of Nigeria EXMAN.

Each of their members possess vibrant agency that deploy various strategies to execute brand activation which has made grow beyond mere road shows. Although it is still regarded as Below The Line (BTL), marketing operations due to the ways it is carried out but many experiential/ brand activation campaigns going on daily confirm the fact that consumers and clients have caught up with what can be referred to as today’s marketing buzz.

Needless to say, the situation has led to a shake up and recreated the marketing spend graph to favour experiential marketing. Some practitioners feel the increase in experiential marketing spend has taken a huge chunk out of the regular Above-The-Line advertising spend. Apart from the fact that the concept contributes to branding as it aids in etching the brand in consumers’ minds, more industries have joined the experiential gale with its inherent advantages: two way communication with consumers, opportunity for the instant feedback, first hand consumer insights as well as selling – the ultimate aim of every manufacturer.

CEO, Chris Parks Marketing Solutions (CPMS), Chris Parks said “The consolation to Above The Line (ATL) is that you can never get rid of advertising.” However, the experiential/events management expert agrees that the marketing budget spend ratio has turned full circle in favour of BTL which he says is now 70:30 in favour of BTL. Experiential marketing had its break particularly in Nigeria courtesy of companies like Tequila and South African Group Africa and it’s off shoot, DMC, which together became Exp Momentum. These companies share the credit of building and nurturing professionals that have become leading players in the industry today.

However, the Experiential, Activation and Events segment of the industry are currently awash with so called operators. As at last count, there are 65 companies and racket operators claiming expertise in the field. All wedding planners, flower ad balloon decorators and so on claim to be events agencies.

According to former Managing Director of Footprint Communications, Mr. Otis Ojeikhoa “Experiential is not all that new in the Nigerian marketing communication landscape, except that it has been redefined in recent time, with more understanding and more professionals, who are ready to handle things differently to add value to what their clients bring into the table.

In those days, there is direct mailing which is a leg of experiential marketing. These days, consumers have become more sophisticated and segmented, which tend to make business owners appreciate the need to approach the market through various approaches, depending on which class of the market one is targeting. To me, experiential is an offshoot of advertising, which also tries to create awareness for brand and appeal to consciousness of consumers.” He went further, “Like I said, primarily, experiential create awareness but beyond that it create a bond between consumers and brands. All marketing solutions do different things; if for instance, a business owner intend to reach let’s say thirty million consumers in a day, experiential may not be the tool to achieve that but Radio, Television and newspaper ad may solve the problem. But if the target is to communicate a brand’s message to a particular set of people or area, then you turn towards experiential means.

In short, experiential makes it easy for consumers to interact with brand or have firsthand experience about it.” “Experiential marketing is the only true marketing tool that can answer all the brand questions. It may not be all of them at the same cost, but it will basically tick all the boxes. Experiential marketing is experience of the brand. It is marketing by lifestyle and marketing to the consumer by experience.

A lot of brands that use experiential marketing to sell their brands give the consumers the opportunity to understand their brand more. Experiential marketing is selling the brand using human experience of response, sense of sight, smell and taste and hearing to drive the brand messages.” He explained. Otis concluded that consumers could not interrogate other messages but they could engage with experiential communication and get the feedback which enhances their propensity to buy if they understand. “Experiential marketing is basically marketing a brand by driving understanding of the product through human senses.” He said.

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