Nana Milagrosa Utomi is the Chief Executive Officer of MPXM, an innovative experiential marketing, digital and content creating agency based in Lagos. In this special project interview with the MARKETING SPACE team, Nana shared some of the strategies deployed by the award winning agency to unlock some of the gains of experiential marketing after the lockdown. Excerpts…
How will you describe the business of brand activation and experiential marketing in 2020?
We have all noticed a tremendous increase in experiential marketing through brand activations this year. A diverse spectrum of immersive marketing initiatives, events, and experiences that help brands and their target consumers form emotional bonds. In order to win over consumers in 2019 and 2020, firms were given the option to express their story, personality, and mission alongside their products.
Experiential marketing accounted for a significant portion of many CMOs’ budgets in 2019. We all had high hopes for 2020, and we thought it would be a landmark year until the COVID -19 Pandemic broke out.
How will you rate the performance of the sector since last year?
For the past few years, experiential marketing has risen in importance. Despite the fact that the COVID-19 Pandemic slowed things down greatly in 2020, brands and consumers have learnt to adapt to the new normal.
With rising consumer expectations, more challenging social and digital environments, and people disregarding interruptive advertising, brands are still relying on experiential marketing to reestablish confidence and authenticity in their brand experience.
Unlike other marketing channels, which have all been honed into a data-driven science, experiential marketing is still the wild west of marketing. There is no consistent or standard approach to assess ROI because the scope, measurements, and goals of each activation differ so significantly. As a result, experiential marketing has fallen behind the other 360-degree marketing tools.
What has kept your organization going in spite of the COVID -19 Pandemic?
We at MPXM have been able to continue because we have been honest with ourselves and with the industry. We were quick to respond to emerging patterns during and after the COVID -19 Pandemic, and we were innovative in our responses to the Client’s brief.
We also looked at measuring our clients’ return on experience and investment in terms of financial implications and bottom line.
To what extent would you say that the pandemic has impacted positively or negatively on your business?
As a result, we get a two-edged sword assessment of the COVID-19 Pandemic’s impact. Despite the impact of the Covid–19 Pandemic, we have enjoyed a good run over the last two years. Many marketing campaigns have failed because brands and agencies have struggled to reach out in new directions when face-to-face encounters are prohibited. Everyone needed to rethink their marketing strategies and find new and more innovative ways to reach their target audiences, which led to the rise of digital marketing and the firms that provide this service. A few of us were upset by the Pandemic. Experiential and Brand Activation Agencies found it difficult to conduct experiential marketing campaigns in the same way, and virtual presentations did not go as easily as we had intended.
On the plus side, it’s been a year full of new experiences for everyone. The COVID–19 Pandemic provided us with the opportunity to reinvent our service offerings in order to promote products and services for brands through creative and innovative strategies and practices that will aid our clients navigate this new normal. There has never been a better opportunity to develop and execute an immersive marketing campaign than right now, especially with new trends on MPXM’s radar.
Now that the activities in the marketing communications industry likewise other sector of the Nigerian Economy are gradually taking shape, what are your expectations in the remaining quarters of 2021?
In the aftermath of the pandemic, MPXM expects to execute a hybridized strategy and approach for brands, concentrating on the increase in digital contact by combining real experiences with online interactions, in the fourth quarter of 2021 and beyond.
We want clients and brands to be willing to run real-life, emotional, ground-breaking experience campaigns that are disruptive. Most brands may not be daring during the COVID -19 Pandemic, so this may not happen immediately.
Can you take us through some of the challenges the business of experiential marketing is facing in the hands of Nigerian Consumers?
Poor consumer experience; inadequate brand experience/promise, poor personalization, and delays are three of the most common symptoms identified by consumers. The way brands and experiential marketing creators, strategists, and agencies treat customers at every touchpoint may make or destroy us. These factors have an impact on conversion rates at each stage of the journey, making it difficult to prove and scale experiential marketing campaigns. Brands and experiential marketing creators are responsible for delivering consistent consumer experiences.
So far, so good, to what extent would you say that experiential marketing / brand activation has contributed to brand building?
Experiential marketing and brand activation have the purpose of leaving a lasting impression on consumers, which they will finally share with others, resulting in brand loyalty. By ensuring that there is; experiential marketing and brand activation have made a significant contribution to brand building. Consumer and brand loyalty. In order to understand how brands and goods appeal to consumers, data from consumers becomes a primary objective. When consumers are actively engaged, they have a better grasp of the brand.
Experiential marketing and brand activation have the power to transform and elevate the relationships that brands develop with their customers, which is growing more crucial as consumers want greater customization.
Would you say that your industry has contributed towards National growth?
By marketing goods and services and targeting customers, the Experiential Marketing and Brand Activation Industry fosters a consumer economy. It is clear that the majority of consumers will become buyers.
Any country’s industrial development, technological improvement, and economic liberation are all attributed to marketing (whether developed or developing). In Nigeria, marketing is the driving force behind economic growth.
Higher sales for a company or brand that uses effective experiential marketing or brand activation tactics lead to expansion, job creation, increased tax revenue for governments, and, eventually, general economic growth.
Kindly share with us some of your plans you have highlighted to rejuvenate your business as we move out of the current economic challenges?
MPXM plans include, but are not limited to, deploying as we emerge from the current economic challenges; Social media, photo ops and highly designed, immersive pop-up venues. Art installations are used to create an immersive environment. Using virtual and/or augmented reality taking part in or supporting socially conscious activities. Creating video or digital gaming material that is interactive. Using social media to its fullest potential.
As we continue to launch Experiential campaigns in tourism, aviation, health care, HORECA, technology, music, the arts, social movements, government agencies, and a few other areas, MPXM plans to produce some really sensation experiences.