At the beginning of the year, we published the best of event marketing in 2016, as well as our 2017 must-watch experiential marketing events and trends. Now, already 6 months into the new year, one thing is certain. Experiential marketing gets more exciting by the day.
Nintendo kicked off this big year by immersing gamers of all ages in hands-on demos of its latest system, Nintendo Switch. Then, in March, TV network Bravo launched a street team of (nearly) naked models at SXSW. Come April, we saw HP transport Coachella attendees through space and beyond. And through it all, we continue to keep an eye on mattress brand Casper. Their marketers are helping people sleep everywhere. Literally.
Though several, these are only a few experiential marketing events raising the bar for brands far and wide. And, we know there will be many more terrific campaigns before we move on to 2018. But for now, it’s time for brands to stay focused. It’s the time to plan for how they, too, will take their experiential marketing events to the next level.
Why Experiential Marketing Remains the Strategy
Numbers have been selling marketers on the demand for brand experiences the past few years. These came from early adopters who paved the way by evolving with consumers’ need to connect. To stay in step, they expanded basic event marketing to new levels. Now, we are seeing full interactive experiences that allow brands to show their authenticity and build real relationships with consumers. This move has become vital, since almost 75% of millennials prefer an experience over goods. And, we see it working, with 65% buying from brands on the spot. In short, it should come as no surprise most marketers are realizing the value of event marketing and jumping on board. And others continue to up the ante.
In fact, a recent study reveals increased experiential budgets for over one-third of CMOs. These execs expect to allot as much as 50% “of their budget to brand experience marketing over the next three to five years.” And, with these spends, we can expect experiential marketing events to grow even greater in scope. In turn, competition will increase, which poses a question for brands new to experiential marketing. How do you catch up – and even excel?
5 Ways to Enhance Experiential Marketing Events
Brands new to experiential events, or those looking to be more effective, should note current trends. These provide guidance to help ensure your brand makes the impact you need to achieve your goals.
1. Use technology for fun.
More brands are taking the opportunity to wow their attendees with technology. Efforts are as elaborate and mind-blowing as HP’s 360-degree audio-visual sensory experience at Coachella. Or, they’re as simple as Samuel Adams virtual tour by iPad. This easy strategy gave the successful brewery a more personal feel. And, though different, both moved attendees in a significant way. They also kept them engaged in the event and with the brand. It’s these goals event marketers should aim for when looking to use technology for entertainment.
2. Use technology for function.
At this point in time, marketers are increasingly catering to individuals who’ve never lived without digital technology. So, it becomes important to think about their habits and needs, not only their wants. For instance, consider attention spans. They have shortened so much that L’Oreal announced a move to six-second ads to reach consumers. In the same vein, marketers must streamline event processes to keep attendees interested. And, event technology can be a solution.
A comprehensive event platform offers many benefits. These include automated check-in, games and surveys, as well as display of agenda and maps. It can automate the capture of critical lead information or product feedback. And, it can help gather this valuable data with ease to result in greater event ROI.
3. Create a sense of community.
Consumers identify with brands that represent their ideals and care about things they believe in. And, experiential marketing has become an amazing platform to show a brand’s values. In turn, it helps create the sense of community people long for.
One great example is Ford. This is because the automotive brand gets “local” every chance it gets, even on a national platform. So, when it sponsored the NFL earlier this year, it visited nine cities to honor “heroes.” These included military personnel, first responders and construction workers, to whom it served meals and offered activities.
Brands like Ford unite people with similar interests and create memorable experiences. These lasting impressions result in brand loyalty and drive sales.
4. Show expert skill.
As seen with our example brand activations, it’s no longer enough to offer attendees warm smiles. Brands must engage consumers at every turn. And, it all begins with event staff. The right, qualified individuals will have all the skills or credentials needed to do the job. That may include complex product demos, TIPS-certified bartending or pop-up shop management.
A smart strategy is to engage an expert event staffing company. Their partnership offers several benefits, beginning with the precise selection of talent. Other services include training, payroll and compliance, easing your burden for every event.
5. Use complementary efforts when possible.
Like a collaborative customer experience, marketers need a multi-channel approach to be successful. To get participation, experiential events may call for digital or influencer marketing. They must include social media marketing and chances for attendees to create and share content. This will allow brands to boost their return on engagement, since according to research we know an amazing 100% of attendees will “share the content.”
Complementary efforts also include partnering with other brands. Ford did this in the previous example by teaming up with Uber. The transportation company delivered prizes in a Ford F-Series Super Duty truck. And, the result was increased brand recognition, putting both brands on the next level.
Street team marketing is a great way to reach the next level in consumer engagement and experiential marketing events. Download our Complete Guide to Street Team Marketing for insider tips to help you make the most of this effective experiential tactic.