It’s been proven that the Millennial generation, which commands over $1 trillion in annual consumer spending, not only values experiences, but is spending more time and money on them than ever before. To compete for consumer attention, brands are increasingly embracing experiential marketing—a form of advertising that focuses primarily on helping consumers experience a brand in real life. According to the Event Marketing Institute’s 2017 Experiential Marketing Spending Forecast, nearly 60 percent of marketers plan to increase spending on experiential marketing, proving that the strategy is essential to a well-rounded marketing plan.
To stand out from the competition, many B2C brands and agencies have begun turning to technology studios to help them implement cool, cutting-edge technology into these in-person marketing experiences. In doing so, they have unlocked an even greater ROI by creating lasting memories that continue to drive audience engagement on social media. Recent examples include the traveling NHL Centennial Fan Arena, an interactive hockey experience featuring VR and other experiential tech, as well as the Smirnoff House, an immersive house party activated at U.S. music festivals.
While B2B marketers have a different target demographic than their B2C counterparts, experiential marketing strategies can still be leveraged to engage potential clients and build lasting relationships with customers. The value of experiential marketing for the B2B community can be leveraged at tradeshows and industry conferences, where companies need to stand out from their competitors—who are often just feet away. By using immersive technology, B2B marketers can get creative with their data capture, while also growing their social media presence and fostering continued interactions long after the event ends.
Important considerations for your brand:
Whether you represent a B2C or B2B brand, it’s critical to remember that just because “everyone’s doing it” doesn’t necessarily mean every new marketing capability is right for you. To ensure that your experiential marketing strategy is valuable to your company, you should begin the entire process by evaluating your goals and KPIs with your technology partner. Who are you trying to reach? What are you trying to say? And how will experiential marketing and emerging technology help you achieve this?
If the experiential methods you choose do not align with your brand’s voice or your customers’ unique needs, it may end up distracting from the big picture. By taking the time to work with your technology partner to strategize how interactive technology fits with your brand, audience and goals, you’re well on your way to creating meaningful in-person experiences that foster long-term customer and client relationships.
Choose the tech that’s right for you
With so many different types of emerging technology at your disposal, it can be difficult to pick the right one(s). Before implementing immersive technology into your brand experiences, sit down with your tech partner to discuss how the technology fits into your overall plan and showcases the product or service you’re trying to sell.
At the end of the day, experiential marketing is a long-term investment. It improves your brand’s ability to continue leveraging a one-time event via technology that builds bonds with your target audience. By carefully considering the technology you choose and how it is implemented into your event or experience, you are more likely to create experiences that feel authentic to your intended audience. Therefore, your audience will be more inclined to engage with the technology, which often includes a valuable data capture or social media sharing component.
As brands continue to seek out technology experts to help them engage consumers and customers via in-person events that integrate with immersive technology, it’s critical that the communications industry is up to date on the latest in experiential marketing trends and technologies, such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), and wearables.
Stay true to the brand
Marketers must also remember not to get swept up in the latest and greatest, but to instead always keep their brand top of mind. It’s great to dive into new marketing strategies and embrace innovative technology as a communication tool, but if these efforts don’t accurately reflect the brand’s messaging or its customers’ needs, the whole thing will likely fall flat.
Make sure to take the time to consider how your experiential marketing strategies fit in with your overall marketing and communications goals. By effectively communicating these considerations and goals to your technology partner, marketers can ensure they continue reaching and engaging with their desired audience in today’s competitive marketplace.