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Another new year is well under way, and new opportunities exist for marketers across the world. Events and experiential marketing, in particular, are on the tip of every chief marketing officer’s tongue this year. In-person experiences, once-in-a-lifetime events, in-store activations — all of these could increase leads, customers and sales in 2018.
To hit (and exceed) your marketing goals this year, you need to be at the top of your game and up to date on all the facts at your disposal.
We’ve created the following eBook to round up the best statistics relating to experiential and event marketing space so you can make more informed decisions in 2018 and beyond. We sourced these statistics from a range of analyst firms and global agencies, like Harvard Business Review, Forrester and McKinsey. This eBook is full of insights to empower you create more memorable, viral and data-driven experiential and event marketing campaigns.
In this eBook we'll cover:
The main sections covered in this eBook are:
The data is clear—we’re deeply entrenched in the age of the consumer. Brands that put the consumer experience at the center of everything they do will be rewarded. In the short term, consumers will spend more, and in the long term, they will remain with brands longer, increasing their lifetime value. Brands that fail to recognize this shift—at least one third, predicts Forrester—will see a missed opportunity for growth and as a consequence, decline in profit. Authentic engagement, personalization and an overall positive purchase experience are key drivers of the modern consumer experience.
The average person is exposed to more than 5000 advertisements a day. Clearly, consumers are becoming desensitized to traditional advertising, and brands are realizing it. As more brands turn to in-person activations to get closer to consumers, experiential and event marketing budgets will continue to grow. While in-person marketing is nothing new, marketing’s ability to tie sales back to each event and determine ROI makes it all the more desirable—and effective.
The in-person marketing industry is showing no signs of slowing. This growth is for a variety of reasons. Marketing’s ability to measure sales uplift from an activation, the growing noisiness of social and digital channels and the opportunity to gain deeper consumer insights have all aided in the industries’ growth. This year and beyond, the challenge for marketers will be to cut through the hype, gain deeper visibility into their campaign’s performance and consolidate workflows to accurately create both authentic and memorable experiences at scale.
Organizations cannot expect to outdo the competition if they are not prepared for a digital transformation. Though, many leaders still don’t get it—20% will fail to act, putting their companies at risk for disintermediation or acquisition. Leaders in experiential marketing will have realized by now, when it comes to preparing their business for the digital age—it’s now or never.
Since 2014, the event technology landscape has exploded over 70%, from 144 vendors in 2014 to 245 in 2018. Newer companies will continue to be bought by bigger players that have multiple offerings because “acquiring these smaller, more specialized vendors will be part of the strategy to build end-to-end, soup to nuts, event-related tech solutions in the coming years,” writes Cramer, the agency that created the mock up below.
But buyer beware—the more tools, the more adoption and integration time experiential and event marketing teams will need. When choosing tech solutions, leaders should be looking out for consolidated solutions that optimize data capture and internal efficiencies. As Forrester says, “Convergence will enable firms to purchase less — but more effective — technology.”
Email is the most-used channel by consumers to engage with brands and vendors, according to Marketo’s The State of Engagement Report. Seventy-nine percent of consumers use email—more than websites, social media and mobile devices. Still, many experiential and event marketers struggle with this communication method before, during and after an activation. Emails with irrelevant content, non-personalized messages, and a high frequency—all of these can turn customers off and hinder sales.
There’s no doubt event, experiential and other in-person marketing activations are an effective way to generate leads, sales and reach consumers. Brands, agencies and vendors are in consensus about the primary focus of their experiential and event marketing campaigns: across the board, 36% are focused on driving more sales, a number even higher for brands with experiential and event marketing budgets over $10M. Key challenges will be determining attribution to each activation, leveraging AI and automation to streamline data collection to get more holistic view of the consumer.
When it comes to measurement and ROI, the data tells two stories. On the one hand, according to EventTrack, experiential and event marketing teams that are set up for measurement and ROI win big: 29% say their ROI is over 10:1. However, this study polls marketers in large companies, with 50% of the respondents having access to a budget over $10 million. Consequently, on the other hand, as data from companies’ reports indicate, many mid-to small experiential and event marketing teams are still struggling to prove ROI and justify budget for their campaigns.
Similar to heightened expectations of the consumer experience, brands must strive harder to deliver experiences that are as premium as they are.
Marketers would be wise to think outside the box when optimizing their experiential and event marketing efforts. Scaling the in-person experience may be more difficult than doing the same thing with your digital experience, but the work will be worth it when you see how engaged the customer is with a highly relevant experience. It’s no wonder 9/10 marketers agree that brand experience delivers more compelling brand engagement than any other channel, according to global experience agency Freeman.
If an event/experience doesn’t happen on social media, it doesn’t exist. Overwhelmingly, the data is telling marketers to bake opportunities for social sharing into their campaigns—both for brands and consumers. However, as branded experiential content remains a missed opportunity as only 53% always or frequently capture or create content at their experience and events. This is despite the fact that branded experiential content accomplishes a wide range of marketing goals.
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