Experiential marketing is about connecting consumers with brands through live face to face experiences, creating personal and relevant memories. With consumers bombarded by traditional advertising and becoming more likely to listen to ‘non-stop music’ radio stations, watch ‘on demand’ TV and flick past print adverts, 2013 proved to be a blossoming year for experiential marketing.
For what used to be an afterthought, experiential marketing is swiftly becoming a key tactic in many advertising campaigns. Budget’s increased by 7.6% in 2013 vs. economic growth of 1.6%, and it’s predicted to skyrocket even further in 2014.
To help you see the big picture, we’ve put together what to expect in 2014:
Trend #1: Big Data vs. Real Data
Experiential marketing is about real conversations and meaningful impressions you can count. On the surface, it looks like experiential produces smaller numbers, but experiential is about quality over quantity, and they’re authentic numbers.
Half a million people could read a newspaper, but does that mean half a million people read the advert inside? No. Traditional has a larger potential reach but experiential gives a realistic impression count based on direct engagements.
With that said, in 2014, these smaller numbers won’t cut it and there’ll likely be an emphasis on increasing them.
Can we achieve this by quickening quality engagements from 60 seconds to 30 seconds? Perhaps. Expectations in the experiential realm are rising and it’s our job as experiential marketers to face this challenge in the upcoming year.
Trend #2: Gen Y Will Continue to Demand Experiential
It’s estimated that Gen Y’s consumer spending will top over 100-billion dollars next year, and as a result, they are a huge target for brands. But they’re finicky. They’ve seen it all, they live in the moment and they’re far more impulsive than any other age group.
But this is good news for the experiential industry. A new stat says 78% of millennials are more inclined to become part of a brand if they have that face-to-face interaction.
This is where a greater emphasis on experiential as a primary (and necessary) marketing tactic comes into play. Gen Y demands it.
Trend #3: Increased Experiential Integration
In 2014 we will see more experiential and PR companies collaborating to create awareness—especially with the evolution of technology and social media. Experiential companies will longer be invited to the party, they are organizing the party. The Magnum pop-up shop integrated these two strategies superbly in Bloor-Yorkville this summer.
Trend #4: Experiential Will Become a New Form of Market Research
Judging from our own experiences and the way the industry is progressing, we believe experiential marketing will become a new form of market research in 2014.
With the consumer right in front of your brand ambassadors, it’s easy to gather more information in the midst of engagement. It’s live. It’s quick. And it goes a long way towards further understanding consumer behavior.
For example, we worked with a company in October distributing promotional materials and talking about their services. Not only did we create meaningful relationships with their target market, but we also conducted a quick survey collating customer impressions of the brand. Because of the one-on-one interaction, people were more than willing to answer. It felt normal and natural, and it was easy to get honest information and feedback about both the brand and its programs.
One of the strongest reasons why we think this will be a key trend for 2014 is because leveraging brand ambassadors to collect data in the midst of an existing experiential campaign is a valuable add, and incredibly affordable in comparison to traditional research methods.
Experiential creates so many different opportunities for live market research and we expect to see this grow to a higher level next year.
Trend #5 Evolving Experiential Technology
At the beginning of 2012, we thought using brand ambassadors using iPads was a big deal. By 2013 it was routine.
We still love our iPads (of course!) but we’ve embraced other technological resources, like the use of green screens for fun photo shoots and videos, and social technology for campaign integration.
The increase in marketing function integration will rely on using the right technology. And as new technology evolves, exciting and innovative experiential opportunities will follow suit
Trend #6 Experiential Marketing Will Consolidate Its Identity
Moving into the New Year, it’s important to note that experiential will continue to grow into its own identity. Forget all the trend words—Buzz marketing, engagement marketing, impact marketing—experiential marketing is the terminology marketing will adopt in 2014.
But this kind of consolidation only happens when experiential itself finally becomes recognized as the most effective and affordable tactic on a person-to-person level out there and this recognition is reflected in experiential’s share of marketing dollar allocation.
We already saw gains in 2013 with larger brands acknowledging that experiential stretches their marketing dollar and gets tangible (and relevant) results.