Maxperience Redefines Experiential Marketing In Motorsports: A Tech-Infused Journey Beyond Boundaries
Read this exclusive interview with Arvind Balan, Co-Founder & CEO, Maxperience as he highlights the significance of technology in crafting immersive brand experiences and shares insights into their approach to fan engagement in motorsports, challenges in the experiential marketing industry, measuring ROI, and more.
Arvind Balan, Co-Founder & CEO, Maxperience, discusses the innovative ways the company leverages technology to enhance experiential marketing journeys. Balan highlights the significance of technology in crafting immersive brand experiences. He emphasises the integration of digital platforms in their campaigns, extending the experiential journey from pre-event to post-event phases. Balan also shares insights into their approach to fan engagement in motorsports, challenges in the experiential marketing industry, measuring ROI, and addressing sustainability concerns.
In what ways does Maxperience leverage technology and digital platforms to enhance the experiential marketing journey for its clients?
Maxperience is a new-age company. When I say 'new-age,' it means we are relatively young, having started in 2018. Our in-house team is also youthful, giving them a compatible and profound understanding of new-age technology. Both digital platforms and technology play crucial roles for us when it comes to planning, strategising and execution. I believe I won't be wrong if I say that they have become integral parts of our process these days.
We have been using technology to create immersive experiences for our brands. One recent project that stands out is our work with Hero MotoCorp at EICMA, the Milan Motorcycle Show, Italy, where we created a unique simulator on an international stage using cutting-edge technology. For this, we went beyond the usual Virtual Reality (VR) simulator, choosing to use two real bike models and shifting their controls to a huge LED console. Every control of the bike, including clutch, gear shifter, brakes and accelerator, was directly usable on the physical version of the bike. Users enjoyed the entire experience of riding the bike through the LED console, with every move reflected on the screen.
Not just singular projects, we have been incorporating tech regularly in our events to maximise efficiency, like QR code-based registration and queue management. Although it's a small tech, the impact it has brought in terms of managing huge crowds is quite significant for us.
Similarly, if I talk about digital platforms, they play an important role in the overall campaign. Complete experience, for me, doesn’t mean only the on-ground execution, it extends to the pre-event and post-event phases as well, where we engage with the audience on digital platforms. We create awareness, build hype and gain good eyeballs for the main event. Whether it's social invites, content or any campaign, I believe the integration of all these activities is one of the mantras for building a successful event.
In motorsports, fan engagement is crucial. How do you approach creating immersive and memorable experiences for fans at racing events or through digital channels?
Whether it’s motorsports or any other sport, fans play a pivotal role. Currently, motorsports is seeing a growing fan engagement in India, and we might witness a further increase in the fan following in the near future.
Having said that, fan engagement is particularly crucial in motorsports due to its very nature and the way events are executed to enhance the overall experience, especially during track events. So, keeping fan engagement in mind, we curate a special fan zone at all of our track events, and we design engaging campaigns where the fans not only act as viewers but also as contributors. User-generated content (UGC) is a key element that provides users with a sense of being actively involved in the campaign. During our recent event, the Ultimate Desert Challenge (UDC), we initiated the "UDC Prep Mode" campaign, encouraging users to share their practice sessions and preparations for the event. The shared content was reshared across the official UDC handles and participants were rewarded with cool gifts as an appreciation for their contributions.
Another vital strategy to maintain fan engagement is through content creation. Whether it's in the pre-event phase, hype phase or post-event phases, compelling content always aids in connecting with the fans. In today's digital era, various trending formats easily capture a large audience on digital platforms.
Further, live updates are another indispensable aspect of fan engagement, especially in motorsports. Providing real-time information during races and events is crucial. Which is why we incorporate trackers in our bikes and cars, showcasing live movements, overtaking instances and participants comparing their performance during the event. This creates an immersive experience, allowing fans to feel like an integral part of the event, connecting with their favourite drivers and riders. Additionally, we utilise laser technology, GPS-enabled real systems and laser beams for live tracking and result systems, significantly enhancing fan engagement in our events.
What are some of the challenges unique to the experiential marketing industry, and how does Maxperience adapt to these challenges to ensure the delivery of high-quality, impactful events?
The most significant challenge we encounter is the bureaucratic red tape imposed by various government authorities in the country. When we embark on initiatives related to automobiles or motorsports, the initial hurdle from these authorities is often a perception that these activities are not meant for the public. While I acknowledge that these may not be mass sports presently, it raises the question of how they can evolve into mass sports without adequate support.
Addressing this challenge requires us to navigate through numerous processes. We allocate substantial resources, both in terms of finances and manpower, to comply with the guidelines and regulations set forth by the authorities. Despite these efforts, there is a persistent need for improvement in the system. The event industry, especially in the field of automobiles and motorsports, requires a more streamlined approach from regulatory bodies to facilitate exponential growth.
Can you discuss your experience in measuring the ROI of experiential marketing campaigns? What key performance indicators do you consider most important in assessing success?
In the realm of events and experiential campaigns, I consider three paramount parameters as indicators of success or failure, serving as the ROI for activity or execution.
The first and foremost is lead generation. In any marketing or sales-oriented endeavour, lead generation stands as a pivotal metric. While it is a traditional parameter, it remains crucial in determining the effectiveness of the activity.
The second parameter I would highlight is the digital buzz that the activity creates. As I mentioned earlier, we plan our activities comprehensively, encompassing pre-event and post-event digital campaigns. It is crucial to gauge the impact of on-ground activity coupled with these digital campaigns — understanding the nature of bursts, the impressions and the digital parameters these campaigns generate. Which undoubtedly, contributes to lead conversion at the end of the day.
The third critical parameter is the creation of brand advocacy. The participants engaging in our events, experiencing the setup and immersing themselves in the overall experience become brand advocates. This aspect is pivotal for the success or failure of any event. If, for instance, out of 100 event attendees, we manage to convert 10 or 20 into brand advocates, our job is accomplished. There is no better marketing than having satisfied customers turn into effective advocates.
Sustainability is a growing concern in the motorsports industry. How do you see sustainability impacting the industry?
Sustainability is indeed a growing concern, not only in the motorsports industry but also in the entire automobile sector. Motorsports, being a performance wing of the automobile sector, faces significant challenges in this regard. However, with the increasing awareness and the development of methods to monitor the overall carbon footprint and impact of motorsports, we are addressing these concerns proactively.
For instance, in all our events, we adhere to the guidelines of 'Tread Lightly,' an organisation that promotes sustainable driving or riding in natural spaces. Additionally, several federations provide sustainability guidelines, including FMSCI (Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India) and international bodies like FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile), FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme). To ensure compliance, we designate a separate sustainability steward responsible for deciding and implementing the necessary guidelines for each motorsports event. This approach allows us to minimise our carbon footprint as much as possible.
Moreover, there is a growing emphasis on vehicles with alternative fuels, electric-powered vehicles and hybrid vehicles in motorsports. This aligns with the broader industry trend towards sustainability, reflecting our commitment to staying in sync with evolving environmental considerations.
What do you believe sets your approach to experiential marketing in motorsports apart from other agencies?
What distinguishes us from other experiential marketing agencies in the automobile industry is our deep empathy and understanding of the client's goals or the brand's objectives for each specific event. Whenever we receive a brief or a client requirement, we prioritise building a clear understanding through our methodical process and outcomes. This also involves aligning with the client through meetings and multiple sessions, as we believe it is crucial to comprehend what the client requires and aims to achieve from a particular campaign.
Understanding the client's goals is paramount, whether they are focused on sales, leads, brand strengthening, product placement, or any other objective. It is vital for us to identify the target audience for that specific product or brand, along with understanding the demographics. This comprehensive understanding enables us to tailor our approach to align with what the brand wants to achieve with that particular audience.
Once we have a complete grasp of the brand's goals for the campaign, we collaboratively work on creating an appropriate and effective campaign. We believe that our detailed approach to understanding clients' or brands' goals for campaigns sets us apart from other experiential marketing agencies, whether in motorsports, the automobile industry, or any other sector.
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