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“People want to re-celebrate life. They want to re-celebrate what used to be normal; being outside and enjoying events are a big part of our nature,” says Sarah Suhail, Director of Customer Success at Limelight Platform. “The minute those venues open up, people are going to be there. We’re already seeing it in the US, New Zealand, and Australia. Europe is picking up too.”
Savvy marketers know that experiences are one of the most powerful marketing tools at their disposal. While Covid-19 has had a massive impact on people’s ability to enjoy events and be in the company of others, experiences will continue to hold value after the pandemic has passed. Experiential marketing is fun. It engages with people. It makes potential customers remember your brand and it can help you yield a healthy number of future customers.
Much of the reason it is so effective at building brand awareness and customer loyalty is because it enables brands to address a gap in their consumers’ lives. “Go back five years and it was all about digital marketing—'it’s the best way to target’; ‘you can retarget the right demographics’; ‘you can be super-focused on who sees your ads’,” says Suhail. “But finally, consumers said, ‘Enough! I need human connection again’.”
Although events will require new and creative solutions, experiences will continue to be an effective marketing channel—all the more now that interest in social contact has gone from desire to desperation. The brands and agencies that are putting in the work today are the ones that will stay relevant and top of mind as the outlook continues to improve—despite the risk of postponements or even cancellations in the near term.
By analyzing data for new insights, and factoring in (and clearly communicating) additional safety measures like contactless check-in, temperature tracking, contact-tracing, and social distancing, we have the opportunity to plan powerful and unique experiences that will continue to delight consumers. As Rick Cosgrove of Agency EA, puts it, “Upheaval breeds innovation. Transition provides space and perspective to re-evaluate and reprioritize. We didn’t choose a time of reckoning, but we can benefit from its impact.”
“Don’t be passive!” stresses Suhail. Be smart—learn from the companies who are being smart right now and have your contingency plans in place. You don’t know what the rest of the year will look like? That’s okay. “You know what 2020 looked like; you know what your targets were pre-pandemic; and you know where you want to go to rejuvenate those targets. Connect the dots!”
One of the ways Limelight helps brands and marketers navigate post-pandemic success is through our Experiential Digital Maturity Model. It provides organizations with a framework to measure experiential marketing on a maturity scale—the ultimate goal being omni channel communication, more immersive and authentic experiences, and greater line-of-sight into consumer behaviour.
As the spending power of Millennials continues to rise and Generation Z enters their prime spending years, these consumers will determine how we as marketers interact with them in this decade and beyond. The future of event and experiential marketing will now not only be defined by new technology and the generations that have grown up with the internet and social media, but also by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the permanent changes that it has already made to our industry. Authenticity and social awareness are key, says Suhail. “If brands want to leverage this need that people have, they’d better do it in authentic ways. Because if they don’t, consumers will have none of it.”
The ability to meet the demand for improved, authentic, and safe experiences is closer than ever. Make the time now to ensure you are ready—be proactive and plan for a future of experiential marketing that embraces the new version of normal.
To learn more about Limelight’s Experiential Digital Maturity Model, download our free ebook now.
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