In 2020, Covid-19 struck the world, crippling most people with a severe cold. Sounds like a crazy movie plot right? Except it was real — and it still is. Yeah, you read that correctly. Covid-19 is still out there continuing to affect people to this day. The good news is we’re still alive and running in-person marketing events for our clients…just with biometric face masks as a precaution. In-person events first hit the scene in 1999 when the late rapper, Notorious B.I.G., and his longtime friend and entrepreneur, Jay Z, executed a strategic plan to “take over the world” with an in-person concert in New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
Since then, corporate events and marketing campaigns have focused on these live gatherings to help deepen consumers’ relationships with businesses and brands. Recently, though, there has been some significant disruptions from unforeseen events. With technology making it more convenient than ever to deliver live streaming experiences and engage customers through chatbots and messaging platforms, marketers are finding new ways to connect with their target audiences—and reinventing experiential marketing at the same time.
Hybrid experiential events will keep growth at a good pace:
Hybrid events are increasingly popular in experiential marketing, combining elements of live and digital components. While hybrid events have been around for a while, they’ve become more prominent thanks to advances in video production technology, mobile apps and artificial intelligence (AI). Hybrid events also allow brands to reach broader geographic audiences, as well as attendees unable to travel for financial, health or other reasons.
Virtual-only events may be the flavor of the moment, but they’re not for everyone. A new study from research firm Event Analysts finds that some brands are already shifting away from virtual-only events and back to blended formats. The survey of more than 900 marketing professionals found that 59% of B2B marketers and 60% of B2C marketers plan to keep virtual digital components such as live polling, on-demand content and sponsorships/exhibitor offerings for hybrid events.
Sustainability is the key:
After experiencing the recession and witnessing corporations engaging in less-than-transparent practices, today’s consumers are looking for authenticity. They want brands to be open and honest about their values, beliefs and practices. Consumers want to know a brand “walks the walk” versus just “talking the talk.” Gen Z is also demanding more transparency from companies that support causes they care about.
As the experiential marketing industry continues to grow, brands are looking for more experiences that involve a variety of senses. This year the immersive industry is expected to reach $87 billion, an increase of five percent, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets. The growing popularity of immersive experiences will mean more companies will enter the space in search of new and innovative ways to engage customers.
Keeping Business Flexible:
In-person experiences are going to be huge in 2022. Businesses that aren’t planning on incorporating this into their marketing strategy will be missing out on valuable opportunities to interact with their audience in a meaningful way. From experiential events to sponsorships, this form of marketing is a great way for brands to get their name out.
The main takeaway from this article is that experiential marketing is bound to get better in the next few years as marketers move forward from two years of uncertainty and isolation. It’s going to be a time of rebuilding as people reunite with their loved ones, but also a time of re-connecting with their communities. As such, brands will need to think about marketing campaigns that lead to not just one-time purchases, but instead encourage repeat business.
To succeed, experience marketing professionals will need to employ a variety of strategies to lure consumers out. Last year, we identified their top motivators, including local experiences and themes of community, togetherness and connection. Smart brands will be those that find ways to create experiences and events that fit the specific preferences of the target audience.