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Limelight Platform


June 3, 2021

Is Experiential Behind Paid, Digital & Other Marketing Channels — or Taking the Lead?

Limelight Platform

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In a late-2020 poll by Bizzabo, almost 63% of event marketers planned to resume in-person events in 2021. Moreover, 85% of senior managers, executives, and board members believe in-person events are essential to their company’s success. Considering the immense challenges wreaked by COVID-19 on the safety and viability of live events and activations, those are impressive statistics, reflecting the collective resilience of people and the powerful draw of human contact. 

Experiential/events are the number one most successful marketing tactic (38.34%) according to a recent survey of industry professionals—far outranking digital advertising (19.69%), content marketing (12.44%), partnerships/sponsorships (9.33%), and traditional advertising (7.25%). It’s a sea change shift for a marketing tactic that seemed only recently to be significantly behind digital in terms of measurement, management, and scaling capabilities. But given increasingly powerful analysis tools like the Limelight platform, it’s not hard to see why.

Providing access to piercing zero/1st degree, real-time consumer insights, data analysis is widening the aperture on the power of in-person events, helping savvy brands continue to see (and prove) the true value of experiential marketing. For those seeking to effectively operate experiential in a coherent omnichannel strategy, Limelight has compiled some common blind spot ‘watch-outs’—and some ideas on how to fill in the gaps.

Watch-Out #1: The Splintering of Control

To manage the productivity-boosting assembly lines of the early 20th century, companies siloed diverse groups around functional or budgetary control, such as operations, sales, marketing, and customer service. But in time, they recognized that customers see brands as single entities, not diverse groups of silos.

Creating a seamless experience across working groups and management teams takes a great deal of coordination and collaboration (not to mention normalization of data from a wide variety of sources), but customers expect the same experience from a brand across all channels, whether they are connecting at home, at work, on their phones, or in brick-and-mortar shops or dealerships. In fact, 64% of customers surveyed said “their favorite retail brands (online and offline) deliver a personalized experience regardless of the platform or channel.” With 91% of consumers having more positive feelings about brands after joining events and experiences, it’s not surprising that many brands are making experiential a formidable part of their marketing stack.

Watch-Out #2: Dropping the Ball in the Gulf Between Channels

For companies that haven’t mastered the hand-off from online to offline, the cost can be painful. Those that have weak omnichannel coordination retain only about 33% of their customers on average, compared to a retention rate of 89% for omnichannel leaders. Furthermore, a study by IDC found that shoppers making purchases across channels have an LTV that is 30% higher than single channel buyers.

Some of the biggest roadblocks to assuring omnichannel engagement are knowledge gaps about the customer. McKinsey reported that 67% of retailers said they lacked adequate customer analytics across channels, while 48% blamed siloed organizations for miscommunication and 45% said that the data quality was simply not good enough. With Limelight, you can capture, track, and compare consumer data from events with your other channels, so you'll get the insight you need to make better decisions and improve campaigns right away.

Watch-Out #3: Imbalanced Perspectives from Digital and Social Data

Too many companies come to off-base conclusions because they depend too heavily on digital and social channels. While easy to measure in isolation, they allocate too much weight to those data sets, creating a view of the customer that doesn't sync up with their true omnichannel lifestyles. 

By leveraging state-of-the-art data analysis tools, brands can derive the same rich, detailed insights from experiential efforts as they do from online channels, delivering a seamless customer engagement strategy across touchpoints. That equation opens many possibilities for future development and original ways to delight customers in the right way at the right time.

Brands That Are Moving Ahead

There are many great examples of brands leading the way to a more integrated approach that prioritizes tools for greater visibility into experiential campaign performance. Lindt, Nationwide and Molson folded it into digital metrics for a 360 degree customer view and a cohesive customer-orientation, while Richard Umbers, CEO of Australian department store chain Myer, points to the combination of analytics with omnichannel as the brightest star on his horizon. “Myer has become a leaner, more productive and efficient retailer, better placed to compete in a rapidly changing environment,” he says. “[W]e will be rolling out further initiatives, particularly in our strongly performing omni-channel business, in anticipation of a further wave of change in consumer and competitor behaviour.”

With the right tools, experiential isn’t the blind spot it once was. As live events and activations continue to reopen, operating and optimizing an integrated customer experience is more important than ever. Contact Limelight today to learn how we can help you streamline internal efforts, boost external performance, and make stronger customer connections with coordinated online and offline campaign data.

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