September 29, 2015
The field of experiential marketing is ever-changing. As brands and experiential marketing agencies like Factory 360 continue to dream up with new and creative ideas for activations, they continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible.
Even as things change, there are five trends that we see continuing through the next several years. Among those trends are more partnerships between brands, new kinds of technology and a continued focus on reaching diverse groups of people.
Trend #1: Forming partnerships between large and small brands
There are many good reasons for small and medium-sized businesses to partner with larger businesses on experiential marketing campaigns when possible. Small businesses can take advantage of larger brand’s marketing dollars, human resources, and earned and paid media reach.
On the other hand, small business is trendy. People like supporting local businesses and knowing their dollars are staying in their communities. Start-ups also have a certain amount of cache. By partnering with a small business, large businesses can show that they’re more in touch with and connected to the communities they’re trying to influence.
Small businesses and large businesses can work together on all kinds of experiential marketing campaigns, not just festivals or special events. Imagine a guerilla marketing activation where a large company uses the grassroots power of a popular small company to spread its message. Imagine a pop-up store where a large company uses its power to get a small company set up in a visible location they couldn’t afford otherwise. The potential for partnerships is unlimited.
Trend #2: Utilizing a variety of social media platforms
For a long time Facebook and Twitter were experiential marketers’ go-to social media platforms. But social media is constantly evolving, and event marketers must keep up with it.
Instagram just announced it has over 400 million monthly users. That’s a 25 percent increase in monthly users since the beginning of 2015. Snapchat is a favorite among Millennials, a key demographic that many companies are trying to reach. If you aren’t making it easy to share your message on the platforms your audience is using, you’re missing a big opportunity.
We should note that your company doesn’t have to be on every single one of these social media channels. Trying to manage dozens of social media accounts can leave even the biggest team feeling pulled in too many directions. But before you launch any experiential marketing activation, determine how your target audience likes to communicate on social media and how you can make it easier for them. Are there plenty of opportunities to take photos that can be shared on Instagram or Snapchat? Are you providing places where fans can take videos? Have you established a hashtag people can use when posting to Twitter?
Trend #3: Incorporating the newest technology
There are plenty of up-and-coming technologies that can help you make your experiential marketing campaigns even better. By incorporating new technology in your activation, you will make your brand seem ahead of the curve. You also have the potential to blow people’s minds and create a very memorable event.
As 3D, 4D and other forms of virtual reality technology become more accessible, they can be used to create more fully immersive events for consumers. Ralph Lauren recently used 4D technology to project a fashion show onto a 60-foot high water fountain. Footwear company Merrell used 4D technology to simulate the experience of hiking an Italian mountain range from their booth at the Sundance Film Festival.
We predict that drones will also having a big impact on experiential marketing in the future. A flower company in Italy used a “Cupidrone” to promote its delivery services around Valentine’s Day. Camisaria Colombo in Brazil promoted their clothing line by using drones to fly well-dressed mannequins outside of office buildings. The trend is still catching on in the U.S. because drone usage has been limited by the Federal Aviation Administration. But the agency recently released guidelines for drone usage. As a result, you can expect to see more drones hovering above American experiential marketing events.
Trend #4: Measuring Return on Engagement
Analyzing the impact of experiential marketing events continues to be extremely important. It’s how marketers justify their spending or make the case that they need bigger budgets. But the way people think about the impact of their events is changing.
Rather than just talking about Return on Investment, or ROI, companies are looking at their Return on Engagement, or ROE. Savvy companies know that marketing is about more than getting a new consumer today. It’s about getting and keeping new consumers by making them love your company; turning existing consumers into brand ambassadors; spreading organic reach on social media; and much more. Those things form the basis of ROE, and they’re a great way to measure the overall effectiveness of experiential marketing activations.
In an article on Ad Age, Epsilon CEO Andy Frawley makes the case for looking at Return on Experience x Engagement, or ROE2. Here’s why he believes the concept is so important: “There’s a point at which a consumer’s positive or negative experience is so strong that it can transcend the rational aspects of a brand (e.g., quality, price, service). That’s why creating and guiding the consumer experience is so important. Experience creates emotion, emotion fuels engagement and both together impact brand and business outcomes.”
Trend #5: Experiential marketing as a way to enhance multicultural marketing
In addition to communicating with Millennials, many brands are looking for ways to reach consumers from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds. People really appreciate it when brands go the extra mile to get in front of them and impress them. Experiential marketing is a great way to do this because brands can set up culturally-appropriate activations at culturally-appropriate events.
Factory 360 is in a great position to help with multicultural marketing. We’re a minority-owned company with lots of experience reaching out to diverse groups of consumers. We also specialize in many other areas within experiential marketing, including college programs, sponsorship activation and talent procurement.
Make sure your experiential marketing campaigns are keeping up with all these trends and more. Contact us today to learn how Factory 360 can help you.