Keep a close eye on these experiential marketing trends that will continue to grow in 2016.
It’s clear that CMOs are shifting larger amounts of their budgets
toward experiential, just exactly how much is yet to be seen however. Over the
last three years experiential budgets have increased over 6% on average (7.9%
in 2013, 5% in 2014 and estimated 6.1% in 2015 per EMI’s EventTrack study), so
another increase is expected. As marketers continue to integrate experiential
into their overall strategy, you can expect more and more money to be directed that
With increasing experiential budgets there’s also a growing importance
on proving your event marketing ROI. CMO’s are demanding more accountability
from their marketing activities and experiential is no different. Accurate ROI
data is a critical factor that helps you make more informed decisions regarding
your future activations. For example, in the past decisions on what events to
participate in were largely anecdotal (attending because you have in the past,
or organizers predicted a certain size/type of audience), but accurate event
ROI can help you make more informed strategic decisions. Additionally, a truly holistic
ROI attribution model needs to take into account all of your marketing efforts,
including; experiential, digital, TV, direct, etc. It’s nearly impossible to accurately
measure the impact of your experiential unless you are matching actual post-event
sales to consumers that you connect with at events.
Experiential as a Content Driver
and Marketing Core
Experiential is trending upward in a big way, and is becoming a central
core and content driver for some of the world’s biggest brands. For example,
think about Bud Light taking over Crested Butte, Colorado for Whatever, USA.
That experience was the core theme of nearly all Bud Light marketing across all
platforms (digital, TV, radio, OOH, print, etc.), earning it countless industry
awards. This will be a continuing trend, using experiential to create content
that is distributed via other marketing channels. Experiential is still about influencing
the event attendees, but now it’s also about creating an entire brand image and
core messaging for the brand’s multichannel media outreach.
Advanced Activation Tools
There’s now a seemingly endless stream of front-end activation tools. Many
of these have been around on the fringes of experiential for several years but
are now really gaining wide-spread acceptance. One of the more noteworthy
technologies at the moment is Oculus (Virtual Reality). Oculus allows you to
transform into a 3D world, living out experiences that consumers normally don’t
have access to. This can include skydiving (which can be made “4D” if you implement
a fan or other external sensations into the activation), calling balls and
strikes in a baseball simulation or even driving your favorite sports car.
Another fun activation tool is the Kinect from Microsoft. Developers have been
able to take the Kinect sensor and build fun interactive games that allow
consumers to physically control characters or movements in a video based
game. Generally speaking, brands that
can engage their attendee’s senses are going to create the strongest bonds with
consumers. For this reason, look for front-end tools that appeal to more than
just consumers visually, adding touch, feel, smell etc. into the mix to build
Event Owners Putting in Their
Brands have been embracing event technology more and more each year, but now more event and venue owners are starting to get into the action. The Chicago Auto Show (CAS) for example is now testing out a beacon platform to use show-wide, offering data to all of the participating brands. The CAS is using a compelling mobile app and free Wi-Fi to engage with consumers, giving them access to opt-in only information, which they can share with their exhibitor brands.