Over the past few decades, the only thing constant in marketing has been change. The digital revolution has forced marketers to adjust the way approach and engage consumers. This is, in part, why so many brands are investing in experiential. It speaks to consumers in a way that traditional advertising simply cannot. And it serves as a foil to the impersonal and saturated world of digital media. This week’s Elevate White Board features an article that looks to iconic entertainment franchises for inspiration and experiential marketing ideas. We also look at 8 ways to tie sales figures back to your experiential campaign, and 4 keys to creating great interactive displays.
When it comes to creating memorable brand activations, often marketers draw inspiration from pop culture, trends, and modern technology. And marketers draw inspiration across industries as well. One sector that we often look to is the entertainment industry.
The entertainment industry in general has reached beyond the confines of a movie theater. From theme parks to tours, studios continue to create live experiences to promote and capitalize on their box office successes. For example, here in Los Angeles, the studio that produced the movie IT created a haunted house experience in anticipation of and during the first opening weeks of the release of the movie. In this article, Sparks provides several other entertainment-based live activation examples that excel in engaging consumers in an immersive environment.
In experiential marketing we establish KPIs to understand how the event may or may not impacted the target consumer. Data related to the number of engagements, products distributed, and social impressions/engagements are common points collected. But as experiential marketing has grown as a discipline, brands want more. They want to know if their events result in sales, and they are looking to include revenue on the list of KPIs.
According to Limelight, as technology continues to advance, we have more of an opportunity to tie sales back to events to help establish a more accurate ROI. The integration of technology plays a large part in allowing marketers to capture leads on the spot, while attribution tracking shows longer-term event influence on consumers. And based on data from the Event Track annual report, these efforts have been successful, as 65% of brands say they can tie sales back to experiential. Here Limelight offers an infographic that helps illustrate how marketers can measure sales numbers for the next event campaign.
Digital has been the marketing standard since the beginning of the 21st century, when society began to immerse itself in the internet. And this form of advertising has only grown with the rise of social media.
Interestingly though, as more companies have jumped into digital marketing, it has become less effective. Consumers have become inundated with online ads. This saturation has resulted in people becoming less responsive to this type of outreach and a potential decline in digital advertising. Conversely, the experiential marketing industry has expanded in popularity, and is anticipated to grow in the coming years.
But, even with consumers’ increased appetite for an authentic brand experience, experiential success is not a given. Here Adweek provides what they believe to be the top 3 priorities to keep in mind to guide the industry to continued success. As the author puts it, “And this is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s fantastic news that experiential marketing is in such good health globally, but in order to sustain, grow and reaffirm its status as one of the most influential marketing techniques, both now and in the future, we need to get our house in order.”
For the past two weeks, we witnessed the world’s most elite athletes competing at the Winter Olympics. Hosted this year in PyeongChang, South Korea, the games were produced in a spectacular fashion, enthralling attendees and at-home viewers alike.
When producing a world-class event, one can imagine the moving parts, unknown variables, and other key elements that are planned years in advance. With its size, scope, and splendor, the Olympics can serve as a great example of how to plan a live event and provide us with a number of experiential marketing ideas.
Montage Marketing’s blog post presents seven key event production areas that the Olympics have nearly perfected. And this wisdom can be applied to other live events. The article covers basics like security and tech integration, while also touching on key elements like cultural relevance and uniting people of different perspectives. As they put it, “Live events inherently bring people together. They present rare opportunities to step outside our respective echo chambers and learn from one another.”
Incorporating the right technology into each event is critical in achieving marketing objectives. As it relates to consumer engagement and event design, interactive displays have risen to the top of the list for several large brands. From Google’s interactive bus stop displays, to the more elaborate full wall featured in eBay’s offices, interactive displays are effective in creating an impact. And with the advancement of AI, displays are becoming smarter and more powerful.
As a customizable tool, interactive displays offer brands almost limitless options, but like all tech, there are key points to keep in mind to maximize efficacy. Co.Design, the developer of the eBay interactive wall, outlines what items to keep top of mind when developing an interactive display. Their over-arching message? Build your display around the prolonged user experience to continue to engage consumers. Read all about it here.
Virtual reality has become one of the event marketing industry’s favorite technology components, as it has continued to rise in popularity amongst consumers. In fact, in 2017 there were an estimated 90 million VR users, and that number is expected to grow to 171 million in 2018 alone. These growing numbers create a larger demand for VR products and innovation. This increased accessibility allows brands to better incorporate VR into their live events.
VR creates a bridge between brands and their consumers by taking experiences to a whole new “world.” VR experiences can immerse the consumer into the brand story. From giving them a tour of a production facility to allowing them to create a virtual product, VR provides consumers with a unique sensory experience. And we aren’t the only ones who believe in the potential in VR. FreemanXP recently published an article that argues for the case of VR use in events.
Emotions are a powerful tool when it comes to marketing. According to a Harvard Business Review study, “fully connected customers are 52% more valuable, on average, than those who are just highly satisfied.” If a brand can create a lasting emotional connection with consumers, they are more likely to be loyal to the brand.
When applied to experiential, marketers can create an emotional connection by designing experiences that not only engage multiple senses, but also tap into nostalgia. As Becore writes, this approach can work well with Millennials. As they put it, “the key is in creating an emotional hook using nostaligia while offering something new.” By achieving this, brands have the potential to create a lasting relationship with their consumers.
Sponsorships have traditionally been a key component of marketing strategy. The concept in the past has been simple: take advantage of a high-traffic event to promote a brand, usually in the form of logo placement. But, as this article points out, the days of blatant advertising are coming to a close. Millennials and Gen Z’ers are not receptive to overwhelming ad placements, especially when it comes to large events like music festivals. For these groups, “not only does the blatant advertising not drive brand engagement — it can actually make fans dislike a brand or a festival.” So how do brands still take advantage of sponsorship opportunities without turning off this group?
Experiences. By incorporating brand activation, companies capture a larger ROI and get attendees excited about sponsorships. When brands create elaborate, multi-sensory backdrops for attendees to take part in, they are better able to engage this group. They are able to incorporate themselves into the mix without coming off as pushy and cold. Check out Eventbrite’s article on the types of sponsorship activations that drive brand engagement.