Will brands continue to spend big on experiential marketing in a zero-touch world?

Over the past few years, experiential marketing has become an important part of the entire marketing mix and a significant number of brands have been using it to create lasting brand experiences.


The past few weeks have witnessed various changes in the marketing strategies of brands. Most brands have reworked their marketing approach to remain relevant in these challenging times. Digital has become more mainstream than ever and a number of marketers are focusing on it.

Over the past few years, experiential marketing has become an important part of the entire marketing mix and a significant number of brands have been using it to create lasting brand experiences.

However, the ongoing pandemic has led to some major changes as far as brand reachout is concerned.The touch based experiences will now have to be done away with for a few months at least. It will be important for brands to weave themselves into the customers life and use experiential marketing in a way that is innovative and delivers the brand’s message.

Given the drastic shift that experiential marketing is witnessing, we asked some industry experts about experiential marketing in a post covid scenario and whether brands will continue to spend big on this marketing channel.

Here’s what they had to say:

Pramod Gaikwad, CEO & Partner, ICE Global

Over the past one month, I have been on various webinars moderating and speaking to many opinion leaders (such as Sam Balsara, Jaspreet Bindra, Chetan Raikar, Krishnan(Marketing head SAP), Dipin Passi (MD Lotus Herbal), Apurva Chamaria (Thought leader and COO RateGain) to assess the opinion from various industries.

Community engagement is key to building brand loyalty. Brands 'want' to create engaging environments for their consumers. Given the current scenario, where the consumers can be found and engaged online, it stands to reason that experiential engagements having a 'digital' avatar / 'digital' engagement will do well. Brands will insist upon a digital facet to experiences

A vaccine is expected to take 18 months to develop. Even after that, there will not be a normal. There will be a 'new normal'. The new normal will be where brands will expect efficiencies and reach from digital power to be combined with the power of 1-on-1 experiences to further their brand engagements. Brand budgets will be split with a fairly large share going to digital media. The experiential marketing budgets will grow, as long as the event industry can take the lead in incorporating digital within its thought process and planning.

Ranjit Raina, CEO, Geometry Encompass

Post Covid 19 all experiential marketing strategies will have to take into account changes in human behaviour and our environment. A lot of traditional experiential touchpoints will be off-limits for some time and those that may be accessible may not offer the same benefits they did in the past. Arriving at the most efficient mix of experiential touchpoints will become the most important part of the experiential strategy. Understanding where one needs to be will drive how we engage. We will see phygital engagement taking centre-stage in experiential strategies and a lot more integration of experiential and content marketing.

In a depressed economic climate marketing spends and priorities will certainly shift. But I don’t see experiential marketing taking a backseat , it will have to change to stay relevant to the new marketing landscape and deliver results that matter. The screen will become a very important experiential touchpoint and we will have to clearly distinguish between virtual experiential engagements and content marketing or even digital marketing as we know it today.

Harish Bijoor, Brand Guru & Founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.

Experiences have been largely touch based. In marketing we use the phrase "touch points" seamlessly. In a post Covid world, which I call Covid-kaal, touch is a bad word. Experiential marketing will be about every sensorial- the sense of sight, smell and hearing for sure but no touch. We are entering a zero touch world for now. Experiential marketing will bounce back, later than sooner. It is a cheetah in hibernation for now.

Imran Qadri, Head- Marketing and Corporate Communications, Harley Davidson India

Experiential marketing spends will vary from brand to brand. However, wait and watch is best for now for most brands. We should invest this time to revisit process and engagement techniques to strike a balance later. But yes there will still be experiences that the virtual world may not completely fulfill. People will ultimately drive or ride, be it for necessity, passion or pleasure. For some due to other mediums of indulgence getting impacted, the ride and drive experiences may matter more.

Around The World

Our Publications