Swipe vs. Smile

We all know that the dividing lines between marketing disciplines are blurring, if not disappearing altogether. And the main driver for this is the Internet. Whether it’s bloggers replacing PR, online media usurping TV, or technology blending events and experiential with social, there seems to be a digital element behind every ‘new normal’.

We all know that the dividing lines between marketing disciplines are blurring, if not disappearing altogether. And the main driver for this is the Internet. Whether it’s bloggers replacing PR, online media usurping TV, or technology blending events and experiential with social, there seems to be a digital element behind every ‘new normal’.

The Internet’s potential for spreading brand awareness is undeniable – about half a billion people log on to Instagram every day, with three times that many on Facebook, the social media goliath that also boasts nearly a million posts per minute. Even a tiny proportion of that engagement would be gold dust to most brands.

So it’s not surprising that clients love digital.

But if the Internet really makes things that accessible for brands, why aren’t they all doing brilliantly? And why isn’t every other marketing discipline packing up and moving to Mars? (Or parts of Cumbria.)

One of our clients recently changed a four-day immersive consumer experience into a one-day influencer event in order to meet a reduced budget. It’s easy to justify of course. Reach 400 consumers and maybe 50 or so of their social media followers each, or 40 influencers and their tribe of lets say 50 thousand followers each. That’s a hundred times bigger reach for perhaps 20% less investment. Boom.

But look at it another way. Look at it in terms of time.

Two million people have a 5 second brand experience online. That adds up to about 116 days (trust me on this, I used a calculator). If none of them retain the experience after those 5 seconds, the 400 people having an immersive brand experience only have to remember the activity for about seven hours to catch up.

Yes, a proportion of those two million people will identify with the product and retain the information for longer. But conversely, those 400 people might remember the experience for years. And that’s before we even get on to how their friends and family might be influenced.

I know I’m being simplistic. And I am not saying digital is dead, all hail experiential. I just think we need to be careful about assuming online can replace everything. Human beings love to connect in the real world; and brands shouldn’t forget that.

Annie Spratt

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MASH Staffing