About time experiential DM pulled into line

Experiential is being increasingly used by brands as a low-cost, locally high-impact promotional tool. Until recently, however, those brands using the channel were relatively untouched by self-regulatory standards governing most marketing practices.

Russell Parsons

In February, a working group led by the Institute of Promotional Marketing, unveiled the Experiential Marketing Code of Conduct (EMCC) a bid to fill in the self-regulatory gaps. The issue, it was identified, was that experiential – face to face marketing, live performance or brand activation – was not covered by the Committee of Advertising Practice’s non-broadcast code.

Six months on, and the Direct Marketing Association has joined the Institute of Promotional Marketing, the Marketing Agencies Association, the Public Relations Consultants Association, the British Council of Shopping Centres and Eventia in adopting the EMCC.

A right and proper move.

Although elements of direct marketing at experiential events such as the handing out of leaflets were covered by self-regulatory codes of conduct, important DM methods – direct consumer engagement via in-store, online and face to face interaction – were not covered.

I am not suggesting experiential is an untamed wild west that is in desperate need of pulling into line. We have all, however, been subject to questionable approaches by over zealous temporary workers that do the brand they are ostensibly representing and the experiential no favours at all.

Face to face is as direct a marketing method as you could possibly imagine. It can and, If successful, frequently does lead to both a direct sale and successful capture of data to be used again in more tried and obvious forms of direct marketing.

In order to secure the public’s trust in experiential and the direct marketing channels used within it, the practitioners and the public need the assurance trusted codes of conduct provide.

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