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July 14, 2009

Research claims experiential delivers biggest marketing benefit

A significant 89% of marketers said the ability of experiential marketing to build long-term customer relationships was the discipline’s biggest asset, according to a recent survey of 406 marketers across the globe by live marketing agency Jack Morton.

In the same study, 96% of marketers also identified building long-term customer relationships as the most important benefit of marketing currently.

Furthermore, an overwhelming 97% of marketers surveyed by Jack Morton Worldwide in the UK, Europe, the US, China and Australia recognised that, in tough times, engaging key stakeholders is an investment and not an expense. Critically, 96% agreed that this engagement (as opposed to ‘talking at’ or interruption marketing) is vital if brands are to maintain loyalty.

However, worryingly, more than half of marketers said their brand stakeholders are currently less engaged than they need to be. 

Despite the significant shortfall in engagement, marketers are optimistic and see opportunities for creativity and innovation within the current climate.  Some 98% felt there was a need for marketers to be more creative in their work, while 91% said they could save money and better engage consumers by being more innovative about the media they use. 

The global survey of more than 400 marketers also revealed the level of significance placed on experiential marketing by their organisations. Some 97% said it was important to their future success, with 68% saying it has become increasingly important to their organisation over the past year.

Meanwhile, 85% planned to maintain or increase the percentage of their marketing budget dedicated to experiential over the next year. 

Fuelling the debate
From the findings, the study concluded that “the current economic climate has only served to further fuel the debate over the future of traditional and non-traditional marketing media prompted by the demand for new ways to reach increasingly sophisticated and selective audiences”.

“Experiential marketing’s unique ability to make relevant connections, establish relationships and generate advocacy among audiences has contributed to its growth in this climate,” it continued. 

Highlighting this point, 83% of respondents to the survey felt that the ability of experiential to drive word of mouth or create a viral buzz is an important benefit, while a further 87% felt that the ability of experiential to increase awareness of brands is also an important benefit of the medium.
Emotional connection
“It is very encouraging that despite the intense pressure marketers are currently under to deliver results in the short term, almost 100% see building long-term relationships with their audience as their biggest asset, and further that this engagement is an investment and not an expense,” said Julian Pullan, executive vice president and managing director, EMEA at Jack Morton Worldwide.

“With its ability to engage on an emotional level, establish long-lasting and relevant dialogue and create passionate advocates, this is something that experiential is well placed to achieve. This coupled with the recognition that there is a need to be more creative and innovative in marketing solutions, is an exciting prospect for our industry.”

An executive summary of the survey, with comparative results by geography and industry sector, is available online at jackmorton.co.uk/takeaway/downloads

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