Experiential Marketing Vs. traditional marketing

It has become conventional wisdom to say that marketing plays an important role (if not the most important role) for any business under the sun. With the advent of new technology, changing trends and other factors, the approach to marketing has also shifted dramatically. Marketing as a field has taken a quantum leap forward and the most successful marketers are those that keep themselves up to date. Although the basics of marketing and its objectives haven’t changed and perhaps will never change, but the applications on the other hand are dynamically changing and evolving all the time. New trends like digital marketing and extensive CRM (customer relationship management) to name a few are soon taking over the status quo.There is also experiential marketing (also known as engagement marketing) which is being used extensively by many for brand development. Now some of you may wonder which is better traditional marketing or experiential marketing.

What is Traditional Marketing?


Traditional marketing refers to many forms of advertising and marketing which have been used conventionally for a long period of time and have proven to have consistent results. Basically any type of promotion, advertising or campaign that has been in use for years, and has a proven success rate. Most traditional marketing strategies fall under one of four categories print, broadcast, direct mail, and telephone:

  • Print:

This includes things like newspapers,magazines,brochures,leaflets,pamphlets etc. The advertisements are done through these mediums. This may also require a lot of Field marketing .Field marketing is a traditional discipline in marketing, which involves people distributing, auditing, selling or sampling promotions on the “field”.


  • Broadcast:

This includes advertising done through broadcasting over the radio or on Television. Good Audio jingles and unique advertisements that connect with the audience help the brand tremendously. Many brands have benefitted more from their television ads than any other form of advertisements e.g. the Marlboro man was instrumental in making Marlboro immensely popular. There are many instances where for e.g. people who watch sports events or go to the theatres to watch movies are more excited and eager to see advertisements than the actual events. Such is the power of broadcasted advertisements.

  • Direct mail

Direct mail was used to send postcards, letters, brochures, catalogues and even packages to customers. This was a good way to advertise and communicate with the customer and it also helped in maintaining good relations with the customer. It reminded the customer that the company values their clientele.

  • Telephone (or telemarketing).

This type of marketing was done to sell products by convincing the customer over a phone call.The marketers contacted the customer via telephone and either advertised about their product or directly initiated a sale. This type of traditional marketing was also very successful but later on was adopted by many as an aggressive form of marketing strategy. Hence in recent years it has become very controversial. Many countries including the U.S have passed strict laws in an effort to regulate the use of telemarketing and combat some of these aggressive techniques.

But with the passage of time every tom, dick and harry is using such traditional marketing methods, then what separate’s you from the pack? How do you achieve differentiation? This very question has led many to adopt experiential marketing strategies.


What is experiential marketing?

Experiential marketing also known as engagement marketing, event marketing, on-ground marketing, live marketing or participation marketing  aims at connecting the brand with the customer through direct interaction. In traditional means of marketing one sensory perception at a time is targetede.g. Audio jingle targets the auditory sense or the hearing of the customer, Printed and colorful ads target the visual sense of the customer etc. so on and so forth. In experiential marketing the “interaction” engages the customer completely. A full holistic experience is aimed to be given which creates a really strong bond between customer and brand, the customer literally feels like a part of the brand, he feels one with it. Consumers are not looked at as passive observers but are encouraged to actively embrace the brand. Experiential marketing can encompass a variety of other marketing strategies from individual sampling to large-scale guerrilla marketing and ambush marketing.


We can give the Experiential marketing definition as being a marketing strategy which directly engages, invites and encourages consumers to participate in the evolution of a brand. A strategy which invites the consumer to actively participate in the production and co-creation of marketing programs, and thus helping the consumer develop a relationship with the brand. The focus is to help the consumer experience the brandEngagement of Consumer offers a true experience related to the brand’s core values and helps the brand and the consumer create a long term connection that must be enhanced over time

Just like how companies or firms hire ad agencies and marketing consultants similarly a company or a firm can hire an experiential marketing agency to help them with promotion, gain consumer engagement and increase their brand equity.Rather than wait for the consumer to find it, the brand takes itself directly to the consumer with campaigns that resonate on a personal level which helps in creating a “brand experience” this can be done digitally or through live events.

Some of the ways in which experiential marketing may be implemented are as follows:

  • Brand Activation
  • Events, Conferences and exhibitions.
  • Shopper and Retail Marketing
  • Integrated media campaigns
  • Creative Services
  • Public Health Programs.


Let’s look at some experiential marketing examples that have been implemented by JagranSolutions:

Red Bull Campus Cricket:

After having successfully executed the inaugural edition Jagran Solutions was the number one choice to execute the program following a multi-agency pitch. Jagran Solutions is responsible for availing all the necessary permissions, on-ground co-ordination, security, branding, logistics support and execution of all the matches. This year Red Bull wanted to reach out to 4 new cities making the total number of cities 12. Young cricketing stalwarts from different colleges of India participate in this prestigious tournament. 4 college teams from each city competed against each other in a knockout phase to determine a city winner. Post this all the 12 winning teams from their respective cities competed in the Quarter Finals, Semi Finals and Finals of the tournament.

Gatorade Pacers:

Gatorade wanted to reach out to young sportsmen across India to spread awareness of Gatorade and its sports benefits. To connect with the target audience, a unique talent hunt was conceptualized, related to the most popular sports in the country – Cricket. This allowed Gatorade to connect with TG at an aspiration level. This gave birth to Gatorade Pacers, a platform to communicate its advantages. The activity spread across 7 cities across India reached to more than 6000 students from 900 schools and 130 colleges.

Now let’s look at a comparison between traditional marketing & experiential marketing


Points Traditional Marketing Experiential Marketing
Underlying philosophy Focus is more on broadcasting and bombarding information to the audience. Focus is more on interaction and creating an experience. The goal is to engage the audience.
Approach Mostly a unidirectional approach Usually a multipronged approach
Information flow The information flow is one way as in you want the audience or the customer to read, listen or view your message. E.g. is a roadside banner of depicting some advertisement. You expect that the people passing by will be interested in reading it. Here you would interact with the customer and thus you would expect the customer to respond or reply in some way or the other. The moment the customer responds even the initial information being sent might change and thus this lays the foundation for a new relationship e.g. giving away free samples of a soft drink to promote the brand while simultaneously taking feedback from the customers. This creates a lasting positive impression on the customers.
Buying Decisions The onus of the decision making process largely falls in the buyers hands. You expect the potential customer to think over and make the buying decision. You hope he’s impressed enough with the ad enough to buy your product. Since there has been some level of interaction, there is some form of emotional connection developed between the brand and the customer. The multisensory experience that the customer receives has a positive influence on him, which in a way compels him to buy the concerned product e.g. lets continue the previous example of the soft drink. The free soft drink samples that the customer received and the “human” face to face interaction that he had with the people endorsing the brand make the customer feel at ease and at home with the product. It is no longer alien to him. He is much more likely to go ahead and buy that product the next time he comes across it.
Memory There is a lot of repetition and bombardment that goes on in this method. You hope the repetition will help get the brands message through to the audience. Unfortunately sometimes what may happen is that people might remember your catchphrase, or even your logos and mascots, but they may never get to know what your brand is all about. And there may be a very low chance of an actual emotional or a personal connection forming. The quality and richness of experience offered plays a huge role. The more vividly the customer can recall the positive experience. The more likely he’s to revisit the brand that gave him that experience. For e.g. if there’s a restaurant that, plays excellent music, has a dance floor, offers really good service and interacts wonderfully with the customers then such a restaurant is likely to be revisited by customers even though the taste of food  may have been average.


Both traditional as well as experiential marketing have their individual pros and cons. But to sum it up  I would suggest one thing, that in our contemporary times a lot of people are employing engagement marketing to achieve their goals successfully,so don’t lack behind! You too jump on the bandwagon and go for experiential marketing

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