Julia Manoukian

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March 28, 2018

Consumer Experts Reveal Today's Biggest Experiential Trends for C-Level Executives

Julia Manoukian

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What data sources do C-level executives use to track events? Which ones are the most effective? What are the experiential trends for using data to improve live experiences? Two consumer experts reveal some of the secrets behind some of the most successful experiential campaigns. 

Watch our latest webinar, "Event & Experiential Trends in 2018: What Consumer  Experts Are Saying," and learn what major brands are doing to drive engagement  and lift sales.

Marketing Executives Should Use Sales Information and Survey Data to Track Consumer Behavior

Sales information and survey data are two of the most effective data sources to capture event and consumer insights, according to Zara Lam, a management consultant at The Boston Consulting Group.

Entry surveys, satisfaction surveys, online questionnaires -- experiential marketers use these methods during and after live events to measure customer engagement. Sales information also proves useful. You can use this to gauge event attendance, engagement and revenue.

Collecting and compiling all of this data doesn't have to be a challenge. The latest software accumulates information from various channels and stores it in one place, so you can plan and measure your experiential campaigns without breaking a sweat.

But how do you relay all of this data back to your clients?

"We have a conversation with our clients before the event and find out what they are trying to capture on-site," says Vicki Surprise, VP of Experiential at performance improvement agency BI Worldwide. "We also want to make sure that data matches up with their CRM fields so that's usable after an event."

When it comes to surveys, Surprise likes to ask an additional few questions in addition to the basics like names, addresses and email addresses. "We ask this information in a way so that is can be easily transferred."

Experiential Trends Differ Depending on the Vertical

Think all industries experience the same experiential trends? Think again.

"Some trends are just mainstream, but they are often industry-specific," says Surprise. "The more insights that you have when you go into your creative approach will help you find the most relevant trends that will impact your target market."

If you're planning an experiential campaign, don't treat a trend like it's a universal rule. If AR apps generate leads in the automobile industry, for example, they might not do the same in the finance sector.

Instead, find what experiential techniques work best in your niche. Technologies and resources can help you achieve this. The latest software forecasts industry-specific trends based on customer purchasing behavior and other statistical data.

Marketing Executives Need to Focus, Segment and Personalize

In the Limelight webinar, Zara Lam outlined three core principles that every marketing executive should know about when creating a new experiential campaign.

  • Focus: Marketers should develop a clear purpose from the start of a project.
  • Segment: Marketers should understand the consumer occasion.
  • Personalize: Marketers should turn data into actionable insights.

When it comes to segmentation, you should take into account demographics and consumer values and lifestyle, as well as behaviors, context and emotions.

"Consumers have a wealth of options available to them. But sometimes what they tell us they want is inconsistent with their behavior," says Lam.

Regarding personalization, Lam says all marketers should use data to unlock insights.

"Through analyzing customer behaviors and looking at customer activity data, we can anticipate which products we should upsell and what message we should deliver."

Marketing Executives Should Consider These 3 Consumer Marketing Challenges

Not every experiential project runs smoothly. There are a number of hurdles that can set you back and jeopardize your campaign. Lam outlined three of the biggest consumer marketing challenges that face marketing executives today:

  • Consumer transparency
  • Access to data
  • Pace of campaign execution

Lam says brands should be more transparent about the types of services they deliver, collect data from a variety of sources and take their time when it comes to executing campaigns: "Marketers are being pressured to move at a faster pace and it often means they compromise the ability to gather insights."

Marketing Executives Need to Keep Customers Engaged During Every Stage of a Campaign

Surprise shared some tips on how to keep event attendees engaged during and after an event. "We like to engage consumers by giving them an opportunity to participate in a brand's immersive experience," she says.

Surprise cited Delta as an example of a company that kept customers engaged during a recent experience.

The brand retired their 747 aircraft with four farewell tours in four cities in four days. Attendees had numerous ways to engage with the brand, such as selfies, aircraft tours, pop-up stores and museum exhibitions.

"It's all about creating these Insta-worthy scenes that are engaging and highly shareable," Surprise says.

Enlist Influencers for Your Experiential Campaigns

Influencers can have a significant impact on your experiential campaigns. Research shows that 49 percent of people rely on influencer recommendations -- that's nearly half of all customers. Moreover, influencer marketing surpassed print marketing in 2016 as the fastest-growing customer acquisition channel.

"If you give an influencer some ownership over an experience, we've found they go well above and beyond what they are contracted to do for the brand because they are so invested in that experience," adds Surprise.

The consumer insights on this list will help you create more effective experiential campaigns in the future. Using sales information and survey data to track consumer behavior, for example, can boost engagement with customers and turn prospects into long-lasting customers.

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