Experiential is Deploying Money that is not Working into something that Works – Boon

MARKETING EDGE:  Kindly tell us your name, your destination and why you are here?
David Boon is the Group Chief Marketing Officer for the EXP Marketing Group; a South Africa based experiential marketing company with offices in several African countries including Nigeria. David found time to speak with MARKETING EDGE on the side of the Africa Experiential Marketing Summit (AEM) in Lagos recently. Excerpt:
MARKETING EDGE: What is the Africa Experiential Marketing about?
It is a summit trying to bring good content, good insight, good learning from other market around the world, so that we as African marketers can learn from what is happening elsewhere, we can see what is relevant and may then apply it to what we do on a daily basis in our local countries.
So today we are in Nigeria, it is wonderful there are about 200 marketers here, and we’ve  got a full line up of speeches, two international speakers, and two local speakers.
MARKETING EDGE: Looking at the fact that this is the start of 2015, what actually influence your decision to hold this summit so early in the year?
It is the start of the year, if you have seen and listened to some of the lectures today, you’ll find out that there is a research to find out what brands are doing and how they are using it, and how they are using it more. There is a research to show what consumers’ basic medium to occupy brands plug into 2015 by African experiential marketing summit and you will see result.
Marketing has 4p’s, and experiential is changing this and the various element that is coming up that we as markets must consider , so it is really getting the marketers to know that every bit of the money they spend is adding  value to their business.
MARKETING EDGE: How do you assess the experiential marketing in the Nigeria business environment compared to the global system of operations?
Experiential marketing is the same all over the world; it is a life, one to one event that is between a brand and a consumer. I think what we are seeing or what we will hear is that we are looking at experiential per service offer.
It is like I’ve got to go to the market and do things, and am going to do market activation or market show, whatever it may be, but what we are looking at here is that, it’s not defined by services, it is define by the consumers want, and that is the biggest take out. If the consumer wants that, then the brand must somehow deliver that, and you must bring brand experience into that life style delivery.
MARKETING EDGE: This process has been on since 2007 till date, how has the experience been so far?
Very good, we do it purely because it is our business, our passion and my measurement of this are the people that are here, and their interest, their involvement and the enthusiasm that am getting from the presentation. If you feel that they are absorbing, and they are learning from the context, that is all there is to this day.  It is about trying to grow people, industries, to really influence the market place.
MARKETING EDGE: What has been the challenge so far? There has been no challenges at all, we have a good day, we have a full day. I think you can see the people are happy; the only challenge is that I am going to spend two hours on the road before getting to the airport.
MARKETING EDGE: What is your expectation after this summit?
It will be good for people to take the learning into their own plans to solve their own marketing challenges. It will really be good as an agency to get a brief that is not defined, saying we want to do this and this, but rather, ‘help with this challenge that we have, trying to reach this particular target audience, tell us how to’. As marketers, apply the learning’s you got today and let’s see how it has affected the business.
MARKETING EDGE: How do you handle difficult clients, is it not relevant to this at all? If life is a breeze it will be boring, there must be difficulties.
I think the take-away from today is that the modern market is broken, and it is the same thing for brands all over the world, either in Africa, Europe or America, we find out that what traditional marketing have done for the past 20 years is no longer working, customers are tuning off the television, they are not reading advertisement, they block adverts in social media. Where is the place for them to like some things or buy something, experiential marketing is a relevant way to getting a consumers to try things, and try something and still continue to love the brand. Experiential is now the faster form of marketing in the world.
MARKETING EDGE: Now most of the case studies that you have shown and cited here today are massive big projects that costs a lot of money to execute. Do you think many brands in Nigeria can afford such?
I get that kind of question all the time, the question is that this thing only look expensive, and my answer is that you get what you paid for. Secondly, these ideas are not selected for big budget brands; it’s for ups and downs. Experiential marketing is not just for big brands, we see small companies doing small things in small places and getting big returns.
But remember, somehow, marketing will still take the money, and not put it into experiential.  Experiential doesn’t require additional budget, experiential requires you to deploy money that is not working and put it into something that works.
MARKETING EDGE The summit has started since 2007, what has been the experience with your audience over the years?
We started this in Africa so that marketers down here can understand things, the new age marketing that has started, and we needed to educate ourselves, because we need to understand what to do, in order to do it. We have seen every year more  people come to this and every year more people are doing, and I think experiential marketing has taken over  in over in Africa  from top the button, left and right
MARKETING EDGE: So what are the challenges so far, both for the event specifically, and experiential marketing in general?
The challenge for the event is that we do 50 events in 50 different places; we call everybody together in one place. The challenge for experiential market is that what is new is scaring, and sometimes, it is hard to be bold and do a unique and outstanding stuff, or otherwise, the very easy way, to do what we have always done.
Change is difficult and I think as we open up the African marketing  minds that when they see it that there is understanding , there is a new and cheaper opening for marketing, and experiential marketing will help them reach more people, the right people and drive sales
MARKETING EDGE: How do you think experiential marketing in Nigeria can meet up with the globally standard practise?
I don’t think the experiential marketing in Nigeria needs to meet any globally standard ,I think that many of the programs that we have seen in Africa meets the standard, and I think some will meet the standard , but my biggest answer is that there is no ‘biggies’ standard,  you don’t need a big budget to have a conversation with somebody, like we don’t let some of the big camping’s diminish the fact  that experience doesn’t require a big project or price tag, they can just be simple intimate  conversation with people.


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