Activation industry needs to be more strategic: Vikram Sakhuja, Madison

The experiential marketing industry has transformed in a big way over the years and has grown considerably both in size and stature. With the growth of digital, traditional marketing approaches have taken a back seat. Even brand activations have been redefined and now experiential marketing is the trend that most brands adopt to create a definite connect with the consumers. Vikram Sakhuja, group CEO, Madison educated the congregation of event planners at EEMAGINE 2017 about business transformation via “putting a value to what you do”.


Vikram Sakhuja, CEO Madison Media is a firm believer that the activation industry needs to be more strategic. Explaining how this shift could become a reality, Sakhuja says, “I think things get strategic once you make a conscious choice. Strategy is all about choices. Today we are working in a very fragmented environment. What is also happening is that there is a huge attention deficit. Consumers are much more on the move and they are consuming media like never before. Now they are consuming 8 to 9 hours of media a day and a lot of it is on the phone. Also the basket of goods has increased. There is far greater choice far little discrimination between brands, which is now calling for more and more ways in which the brand has to come to life.”

He also advises activation agencies to connect with clients at a time when the briefs are being given about the strategy behind the campaigns. “This will help to bring activation to a more profound level”, says Sakhuja.

According to Sakhuja, brands increasingly have to embrace the power of participation. In his view consumers want to interact with the brands and the marketers should give them an opportunity to do so. “There is an increasing thrust on trust. People want to trust brands. You trust brands in an experiential manner and most brands are moving from product to purpose, there are a whole lot of causes that the brands are adopting.”

There is no doubt that activations should influence outcome for marketers. Failing to do that is a big waste of the marketing spends. “If you are spending marketing money you need to make some difference. Earlier, marketing used to just an awareness game but now it’s about engagement and contextual targeting. Even programmatic is taking over in a big way. One of the learnings that we have got over the years, especially in the digital age, is that brands must be always on. We are seeing that through search, through content like Facebook posts etc.”

While experiential marketing may be helping brands create compelling experiences for greater consumer connect and impact sales in a positive way, however the lack of a metric that could reflect this is posing a big challenge for the players. “The only metric that I hear from the activation guys is footfall, number of brochures given, the number of sign-ins etc. Most importantly, if we are talking about value,

what is the value of your brand experience that you create through experiential and how does it compare with any other”, added Sakhuja.

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