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Integrated communication key to experiential marketing: Dr Schmitt

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NEW DELHI: Integrated Communication is a key to experiential marketing, says marketing guru and professor Dr. Bernd Schmitt.

Defining experiential marketing as a tool for the success of a brand Dr. Schmitt explained the need to create a holistic experience for a customer.

The professor of business at Columbia Business School, New York, on Experiential Marketing spoke in Delhi on 17 July during an interactive session organised by CNBC TV18.

Elaborating on the success of a brand through experiential Marketing, Dr. Schmitt illustrated an example of New BEETLE, a famous car for its unusual shape and colours.

"Colour and the unusual shape is the differentiating factor making this car a success in US market. It offered much more to a customer than just quality engine and other usual features. The brand associated itself with lifestyles of its consumers," Dr. Schmitt said.

Dr Schmitt is one of the most creative and original business thinkers today. Known globally as a brilliant speaker, consultant, provocateur and iconoclast, Dr. Schmitt is transforming the business world's understanding of strategy, creativity and innovation. Dr. Schmitt is also the executive director of the Center on Global Brand Leadership, the leading global forum on branding issues for researchers and executives.

As a consultant and CEO of The EX Group, Dr. Schmitt has worked with companies worldwide, including Sony, Ford, Philip Morris, and Procter & Gamble. He has given seminars to thousands of executives in more than 30 countries on the topic of customer experience.

Stating another successful example of managing customer experience, Dr. Schmitt explained how Singapore Airlines provides the brand experience by managing all contact points between the product and the customers. The key to successful marketing, according to him, is to become relevant to the customer at all times, understand his lifestyle and then develop the product.

Elaborating on the need of experiential marketing Dr. Schmitt stressed that marketing managers are product oriented and do not focus on customer experience with the product. "Highlighting product is not the right process, customer relevance is the key," he said. Explaining further, Dr. Schmitt suggested that a company should adapt research techniques by closely observing and understanding the consumer behaviour and then developing the brand befitting the customer's lifestyle.

Reiterating upon the method of broad base positioning and value deliverables, Dr. Schmitt suggested five comprehensive steps to Customer Experiential Marketing:

* Analysing the experiential world of the customer

* Building the experiential platform

* Designing the brand experience

* Structuring the customer interface

* Engaging in continuous innovation

Answering the question on 'How would advertising fit into Experiential Marketing', Dr. Schmitt said that advertising should focus on consumption situation where a consumer is using a product. Advertisers should follow the problem solution approach.

"In India, advertising is image driven. Advertisers usually demonstrate how a product works. The right approach is to show a demonstration which can be functional and experiential," the guru advised.

Concluding his presentation Dr. Schmitt said that advertising and public relations should be involved at the stage of developing the product and there is a need to integrate all the channels of communication to create a holistic experience for the consumer. "Customer Experiential Marketing is not about fooling a customer or offering them superficial things, it is about the essence of customer desire".

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