10 September 2015

The Digital Connection and Marketing Trends

Submitted by SIMONSAYS communications

Brands take experiential marketing to the next level with digital activations

Keeping up with the ever-changing landscape of marketing can be difficult. There’s always something new to learn about and experiment with. The arrival of social media years ago has had the most profound impact on the industry, changing the way in which consumers view advertising. No longer willing to accept simplistic push-marketing tactics, customers want to engage with a brand, and in many instances initiate the interaction as a result of personal attitudes and behaviours. This engagement becomes a conversation that clever marketers have learned to own within the digital marketing space. While digital channels are without a doubt very effective for customer communication, a growing trend amongst brands is to create a customer experience that’s more holistic. Innovative brands seek to blur the lines between on- and off-line conversations. One might wonder how these two worlds can be brought together but by adding interactive brand activations to the digital marketing mix, powerful data is paired with the personal touch.

Activations allow customers to connect with a brand in a very intimate way. When applied successfully, the experience stimulates multiple senses and emotions that make the interaction memorable. Ultimately, the customer will want to share their experience with others and this is often done through digital channels. Activation thus ties real world engagement  to the digital arena. For example, nowadays, promoters in retail environments are often seen using tablets to engage with shoppers – whether it’s to explore the merits of a product or to help with the submission of an entry to an online competition. Nothing is more powerful than a real-life experience. It shapes beliefs, creates bonds and trust - because it’s real. Brand engagement is therefore at its most influential when a multi-touch point marketing solution is implemented. In the real world, a customer standing inside a store is using their smart phone to access information that will guide their purchasing decision. Some tech savvy retailers now encourage their customers to download an App that provides a discount code, which can be redeemed at the pay point, against some goods in store. Thus in the real world brand activators motivate and explain to shoppers how they can download the App and receive their discounts. This interpersonal engagement is then supported by benefits offered in the digital arena.

Engaging with consumers in this manner, also allows brands the opportunity to capture key data on their target audiences. Data is streaming from customers right now. It’s streaming from their phones, their social media platforms, their workstations and even their cars. For every marketer, this is an opportunity to tap into big data and use it effectively to deploy personalised campaigns that can instantly increase the value offered to consumers.

Whether on- or off-line, information and services are available at the precise moment they’re wanted. Quick moments of decision making occur continuously throughout the day and the more connected the customer is, the more they’ll happen. Collaboration between digital and activations agencies is a no-brainer for brands seeking a succinct strategic approach to marketing in this digital age.

New services, platforms and software to plan, manage and optimise campaigns, will continue to change the marketing landscape. Some key industry trends for the future include: 

1.       Increased co-operation between digital marketing and brand activation  – the proverbial ‘match made in heaven’

2.       Brand Pairing – where the experience  of two or three brands complimenting one another,  makes more sense for the consumer (and unlocks  efficiencies)

3.       International producers building closer ties with local activations partners

4.       Growing demand for activation in Africa Marketing strategies at Point of Sale becoming more critical than ever (path to purchase)

About Lauren Durant
Lauren Durant is Director at Isilumko Activate. She’s been with the company since its inception over two decades ago, and has contributed significantly to the evolution of the business to one of the market leaders in the activations space. Durant spends much of her time with clients, understanding their needs and assisting in the development of cutting edge activations strategies. Parallel to this, she mentors members of the team to do the same, often lauding the value of co-operation and communication – all of which contributes customer-centric culture of the organisation which is built from the heart and soul of its people.

About Brendan Powell
Brendan Powell is a Director at Isilumko Activate and has been with the company since 2008. With extensive managerial experience, Powell leads from the front and is known for his natural ability to motivate large teams of people to consistently reach goals and implement an organisational vision. He has a deep-seated passion for people and has a strong desire to see them flourish. Powell believes that “effortless magic” happens when the right person is placed in the right position. He is widely regarded and acknowledged as an expert on the subject of experiential activations.

About Isilumko Activate
Isilumko Activate (powered by Studentwise) is a company focused on facilitating creative, integrated one-on-one interactions between a brand and the consumer. With impressive credentials built up over almost 22 years in the in the industry, this level 2 BBBEE accredited company has a rock-solid reputation that attracts and retains staff that are as passionate about activations as the company’s original founder members. For details visit: www.isilumko.com/activate