As a crowded comms landscape makes it increasingly more difficult to reach customers, smart communicators are turning to creating experiences that cut through the clutter. New research provides brands some much-needed guidance as to what drives ROI for experiential marketing efforts.

The study, commissioned by AGAR and conducted by Burke, Inc., shows that “memorable events” are most likely to drive consumers to learn more, feel positively and be inspired to purchase a product or service from the sponsor. The top drivers of memorable events are those that are awe-inspiring, fun, adventuresome, liberating and appealing to the senses. The lowest drivers include affordability, cause-based, family friendly, accessibility and unexpected.

“AGAR has created thousands of events and we always look for the core brand promise to come to life when we put the customer in the center of the experience,” said Josh Heuser, AGAR’s founder and a recognized expert in experiential marketing, in a news release. “We wanted to quantify the ROI of experiential marketing and use the research to help clients win with consumers. We partnered with Burke to find out what consumers, who are put at the center of experiences, really think.”

The research also shows that sponsors benefit significantly from their association with memorable events in three key measures

Of sponsored events, 32 percent remembered the sponsor for the 12-month period following the event, and:

  • 57 percent were inclined to learn more
  • 93 percent felt more positively about the sponsor
  • 70 percent were inspired to purchase

Memorability is driven by the experience, not the group with whom participants attended the event

In fact, 18 percent of study participants attended events alone.

“Memory building is most predictive of intentions to learn more about event sponsors, feelings of positivity and interest in purchase—surpassing event satisfaction, likelihood to recommend and likelihood to return as key indicators,” said Mark Travers, PhD., account executive at Burke, in the release. “This research can help bring needed clarity to experiential marketers. It’s about being purposeful about a real return on investment.”

“As experiential marketing continues to take on more prominence, it’s important that companies have ways to measure how effective their experiential marketing strategy is,” said Heuser. “We will be using this research to help our clients optimize their experiences and achieve their stated goals as well as elevate their experiential platform with their customers and prospects. We look forward to sharing these insights along with our experience in the industry with our clients, industry organizations, student groups and anyone who wants to learn more about the growing experiential space.”

According to Chief Marketer, brands will spend 20.7 percent of their overall marketing budget on events and experiences—up from 18.7 percent in 2017.

AGAR secured Burke to conduct an online survey. The survey was started June 4, 2018, and closed June 14, 2018. Statistical testing was conducted at 95% confidence level.

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