Saumen Roy of Madison IES shares the key to nailing experiential


With a career spanning over twelve years as an experiential marketing expert, SaumenRoy, Head, Madison IES,is convinced that “businesses will not live or die by the attributes they promise, but by the experience they offer theirconsumers at every touch point.”

After extensive exposure to urban, small town and rural ecosystems through his previous capacities, Saumencurrently leads the integrated experiential arm of Madison World. The company boasts of having broken even within two years of being launched and has grown from a five member team headquartered in Mumbai to four full service branches in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata with over thirty team members.

Having worked with brands like Cadbury, Godrej, Marico, Airtel, Toyota,Michelin and Renault, Saumen, in conversation with Yamini Singh, stands firm with his conviction thatexperiential should be part of every brands long term strategy.

Q- How significant is experiential for a brand today when it deliberates its marketing spends?

A- Experiential is a significant component and I feel it is now a part of most brands’ marketing budgets. But what really matters is how the marketer perceives experiential. Is it part of their ‘strategic tool’ or is it simply an ‘on-off’tool. In my opinion and experience marketers who have used it as “strategic tool” have benefited more than who are using it as ‘on-off’ tool. And the easiest way to find out is by the chronological order of getting briefed. If an agency is getting briefed without any major time lags then experiential marketing is likely a strategic tool for the marketer.

Q- What is the size of the experiential marketing industry as per your understanding?

A- It is pegged at 4,258 as per the latest EY report.

Q- What differentiates a great experiential strategy/campaign from one that is poor?

A- Ideation and the process you follow to approach the brief is the differentiator for any experiential campaign strategy. If you start thinking with medium/touch point first you will end up thinking ideas for a mall activity and never reach at the core idea to address the business problem/brief.

Q- What do most brands wish to achieve via experiential marketing?

A- Frankly each client has different objectives and it partly depends on the product life cycle of the brand also. The broad common ground would be to give the TG the real time exposure of the product and services and make them experience, consider and eventually purchase.

Q- An example of a great low-cost experiential activity.

A great example would be Wockhadt South Mumbai launch activation- a hyper local activation I was part of.The task was to build buzz around the newly launched hospital and establish Wockhardt’s philosophy of ‘Life wins’.

An apple, which has always been associated with good health, was packaged in a red box with a quirky slogan – “An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but should you ever need us, we’re just a call away”. The red box also contained the hospital brochure along with call-for-appointments and emergency numbers, thus enabling call to action. Many thousands of these red boxes were hand-delivered to families and employees in the area.

Cabs plying in the area were branded with the Life Wins messaging and an apple box handed over to each commuter as well. We conducted a school-connect campaign to promote the hospital’s childcare services and distributed branded balloons across all SoBo Schools. Mumbai domestic airport was identified as another key touch-point for the drive where red boxeswere placed on the carousel urging people to pick them up.

Q- A great example of a poor experiential activity.

A- A promoter coming and telling you “sir, we have a free gift for you and I need your mobile number” is the kind of activity wherein the only objective is to hard sell and nothing else. This is a very poor way to position your brand in a consumer’s mind.

Q- Do you have any predictions on the future of experiential marketing?

A- I feel we need to embrace the digital and social media ecosystem and use it as an indispensible tool to amplify experiential. This is where the future lies.

(The interview has been extracted from BW APPLAUSE)

Tags assigned to this article:
ies Madison Soumen

Around The World

Our Publications