Way back in October of 2014, we explored the increased investment in event marketing as an arm of the holistic marketing strategy. Back then, this uniquely powerful promotional channel was gaining some serious momentum, but hadn’t yet begun to achieve its true potential as a generator of brand awareness, leads and, indeed, product or service sales.
Fast-forward to now and here are a few stats that illustrate the immense, widespread popularity of this multidimensional marketing approach:
- 70% of users convert into repeat customers after an experiential marketing event (Source: EventTrack)
- 77% of marketers say they harness experiential marketing as a vital part of any brand’s advertising strategies (Source: EventTrack)
- 79% of brands say they plan to execute more experiential and event marketing campaigns in 2018 than they did in 2017 (Source: EMI & Mosaic)
That last one is particularly telling, as it demonstrates that, even four years on, this thriving platform is still attracting new followers - with a now self-perpetuating success that sees investment continue to grow year on year. So, let’s recap: what exactly is experiential marketing?
Experiential marketing is commonly referred to by many as event marketing - although it’s worth noting that the two terms aren’t quite interchangeable.
While event marketing refers to any occasion, activity or exhibit designed to promote a brand, product or cause, experiential marketing crucially revolves around providing an immersive brand experience for consumers - while it’s true that these experiences, more often than not, are created through events.
Millennials (who currently comprise the most influential consumer demographic on earth) are particularly susceptible to (and, indeed, predisposed towards) experiential and event marketing strategies, due to being digital natives for the most part - meaning they’ve grown up with state-of-the-art technology and software at their fingertips.
This makes multidimensional brand experiences and multiplatform engagement two vital pieces of the puzzle for any businesses or organisations looking to win over this all-powerful consumer category in 2018, where the competitive noise has never been louder.
If you only take into account the world’s most preposterously popular social networks (so Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest as a minimum), the digital world is so unbelievably saturated with brands going head-to-head for minutes or even seconds of their audience’s undivided attention that the time and money involved in getting some face time with your customers is truly remarkable.
Measuring experiential marketing
Enter experiential marketing, the ROI of which is well-documented. Measuring the tangible success of something inherently intangible may be harder in this case than with, say, a marketing email - where every link click, form fill and online transaction can be meticulously tracked - but the post-event social media engagement, enquiries and sales boosts speak for themselves, for all the evidence may be circumstantial.
It’s little surprise, then, that new brands are dipping their toes in this highly profitable pool each year. In fact, over the next three to five years, it’s expected that total spend on experiential events will increase by a further 50% - a dramatic figure, considering the proportion of marketers who’ve already opted in.
Ways to embrace experiential marketing in 2018
If you’re still an events novice or have yet to try your hand at creating an immersive, multidimensional brand experience, we’ve got a few ideas for your next foray into the experiential marketing industry.
- Try using Facebook Live or Google Hangouts On Air to livestream to your audience - whether you’re hosting an informational Q&A, a viewer-driven debate or any other kind of live, online event where participation from your customers and followers is encouraged. You could even stream footage of your attendance at a physical marketing event for bonus points, and to help even non-attendees feel as though they’re in on the action
- Integrate online and offline marketing campaigns with a participatory element - for example, launch an online poll or quiz, or encourage online photo or video submissions, relating to an event you’re exhibiting at or a physical outdoor display belonging to your brand. By encouraging your audience to take the leap from the physical to digital world, you can perfect that omnichannel brand presence
- Make your presence felt at tradeshows and expos by designing a unique, interactive display or facilitate hands-on product demonstrations to get attendees actively engaged with your brand and offering. Removing the barrier between your brand and your customers means you can make authentic connections - which is hard to do, outside of this unique marketing channel
- Hire an exhibition trailer, decorated inside and out with your unique brand imagery and kitted out with state-of-the-art tech for demonstrating product functionality, introducing audiences to your website and even making on-the-spot sales. With a mobile promotional vehicle, you can take your brand on the road - pitching up at a high-traffic spot to expose a raft of passersby to what you do and why they should care
Stay tuned for further updates on the experiential marketing industry’s continued growth - and keep up with our blog for your monthly fix of all things events.