When innovators, founders, and entrepreneurs are asked about the breakthrough ideas that led to their killer brands they said that their breakthrough ideas came from seemingly insignificant behavioural observations they had made while interacting with friends, family, colleagues or even strangers. These key observations often occur when least expected, revealing an unmet and previously unrecognised consumer need.

This is thought-provoking insight!

After all, who would have thought that how Coke came into being was the result of an accidental discovery? The inventor of the Coca-Cola wasn’t a shrewd businessman, a seller of sweets, or a dreamer looking to strike it rich in the beverage business.

“John Pemberton just wanted to cure headaches.”

A pharmacist by profession, Pemberton used two main ingredients in his hopeful headache cure: coca leaves and cola nuts. When his lab assistant accidentally mixed the two with carbonated water, the world’s first Coke was the result!

In our data-obsessed world, we have been convinced that billions of data observations drive innovation. If you peel the historic onion, you will perhaps discover that the key to innovation is often a coincidental observation. “Serendipitous” as many would say.

Till sometime back, one would not be able to attend a conference or board meetings without hearing ‘Big Data’ mentioned repeatedly and dominating the agenda. However, what is needed is ‘Small Data’ as a counterbalance to big data.

The missing piece in the puzzle is tiny — and though it may be tiny, the potential impact of ‘Small Data’ is huge be it through first-hand observations made in consumers’ homes, in restaurants, in night clubs, in sports clubs, when driving or on the phone.

“These seemingly insignificant, seemingly irrelevant observations, once connected, have the potential to identify the vital causation that Big Data may have lacked.”

This is where the growing trend of Engagement Marketing or as is now commonly called Experiential Marketing comes into play. While traditional advertising (radio, print, television) verbally and visually communicates the brand and product benefits, experiential marketing tries to immerse the consumers within the product by engaging as many other human senses as possible. The premise is to create a closer bond between the consumer and the brand by immersing them in a fun, personalised, unique and memorable experience.

“If a brand event stirs genuine positive emotions within people, then they are more likely to associate those emotions with that brand.”

We live this in many of our events. Recently we at Servmarc conceptualised and executed an on-ground Activation in Rural Bengal for one of India’s most reliable Battery brands. The brand enjoys unrivalled reputation and recall for both automotive and industrial applications. This “on-ground marketing” exercise undoubtedly proved its ability to pull the consumer into a unique and engaging experience that has had a lasting effect. We cashed in on the sentiment that in India, cricket is a religion, but football is a way of life, at least in West Bengal. We interspersed in the midst of the business serious segment of the Activation, a Football tournament wherein the Target audience – Toto drivers – was made to feel no less than the star players at the ISL or the I-League! 31 matches spread over 3 days with 32 teams, fixtures drawn by way of lottery, branded jerseys and soccer balls, and television coverage from a noted national channel gave the Toto drivers all the impetus and feel that the battery was for ‘them’, of ‘them’ and by ‘them’. This value addition given to the 3-month long activation not only gave an adrenaline rush to the Toto drivers with a visible and palpable sense of pride of being part of something like this but the ROI earned was far and beyond that the client anticipated.

In the end, the goal of experiential marketing by way of the football match formed a memorable and emotional connection between the consumer and the brand that generated a sense of customer loyalty and influence purchase decision. Therefore, it would be fair to say that the consumer is required to give something creative, entertaining and relatable to succeed at experiential marketing or participation marketing.

What can we all learn from this?

a) A brand needs to look beyond functional benefits after a point to influence its TG.
b) Marketing needs to be close to the business objectives. The goal should be to become the revenue centre than a cost centre.
c) A marketing idea can at times lead to new feature generation which will not only result in new business but also great creative outcomes.
d) Gone are the days when we were fixated on brand awareness, recall, and share of voice. All marketing campaigns need to aim at changing consumer behaviour, induce action, change buying pattern in the long or short term.

“True creativity happens when one combines two ordinary things in a new way.”

In many ways, this is the essence of both small data and big data. There’s probably nothing as powerful as combining creativity with structured thinking.

To sum up, it would suffice to say where big data is all about seeking an association and small data is all about seeking the causation. Small data is the key to turning big data into the success story every business has been wanting. The most exciting thing is that we have just begun and embarked on this amazing journey…

Do you also want to make such small ideas into a big impact? We may be of help. Talk to us… Let’s work together to create the experience you want.

Do drop in a line to us at satyaki.sengupta@servmarc.com / info@servmarc.com if you like our roadmap for the drive ahead. We promise to give you a joy ride and a high-octane experience!