Is the future of marketing experiential?
Since the beginning of the digital age, the marketing industry has evolved at an astonishing pace.
Significant advances in the world of digital technology have meant that consumers have higher expectations of brands and are more demanding than ever before. Brands therefore have to think outside the box to find ways to engage people on a deeper level in order to encourage long-term loyalty.
One way in which this can be achieved is through experiential marketing, which, when paired with emerging digital technologies, is one of the most powerful marketing tactics available.
With almost a fifth of agencies across the globe stating that their clients are demanding that their campaigns are experiential, it appears that this is one of the biggest opportunities for growth.
So what is it?
For those of you who are uninitiated, experiential marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on creating a bond between the consumer and a brand by providing them with an experience (usually fun and memorable!). When done well, it has the potential to create a sense of community among consumers who share a common interest in a particular organisation.
As the experience economy grows, people are inclined to spend more on experiences and doing ‘things’ rather than buying things. This has been evidenced in a recent study undertaken by Eventbrite, suggesting that more than 3 in 4 (78%) of millennials, (who are arguably the most influential target market) would choose to spend money on an enjoyable experience or event over purchasing something tangible.
The beauty of experiential marketing is that, (when done well) it enables brands to make a meaningful, emotional connection with the customer, by adding more valuable touch points. When enhanced with new technologies, brands have the opportunity to provide a greater overall quality of immersive experience, which should boost consumer satisfaction; a stronger brand connection and consequently encourage the spread of positive referrals.
Some great examples include the Frozen Planet augmented reality attraction to help promote the release of the latest DVD. Visitors were provided with a multi-sensory experience, enabling them to interact with realistic, life size animals. A fantastic way to create a buzz and to help cement the brand and concept in the mind of the consumer.
Another more recent example was Nestle’s ‘Aisle of Wonder’ pop up experience providing cereal lovers with a personalised cereal box and a selection of cereals and toppings, demonstrating the different ways they can enjoy breakfast cereals. This proved to be a fun, engaging and accessible way to encourage social integration, which was further promoted through visitors willingly sharing their images/videos on social media.
The future of experiential marketing
As mentioned in the Frozen Planet example above, virtual and augmented reality technology has allowed for a truly immersive, memorable and often unique experience and is predicted to be utilised by more and more organisations in the near future. This technology effectively merges digital and real world experiences and is particularly beneficial for brands who don’t offer a tangible product.
With big players such as Sony and Facebook currently looking at new ways to upgrade their overall virtual experience, it is likely that smaller organisations and start-ups will soon follow suit.
Another experiential marketing tactic we’re likely to see more of is live broadcasting. Not only does it provide the consumer with an exclusive, behind the scenes insight into the organisation, it enables participation and sharing. Organisations such as Red Bull and AirBnB have both successfully used live streaming to make a lasting, positive impact on the consumer, which in turn has helped grow their brand community. Through live streaming, brands have the opportunity to broadcast something personal and real, forging an emotional bond with the potential customer.
Essentially, consumers no longer want marketing messages forced upon them; instead they want to be given the opportunity to create or participate in their own brand experiences. Utilising emerging technologies to focus on emotional engagement, narrative and drama, you too have the opportunity to take your brand to the next level.