Brands today are increasingly spending more of their marketing budget on experiential marketing campaigns, partnering with agencies to create events, sampling occasions, and sponsorships. Event Marketer’s, EventTrack 2014 study predicts a 5% increase toward experiential marketing initiatives in brand marketer’s budgets, keeping pace with an upward trend that has been steady since their first report in 2012.

The majority of the increase (65%) is being taken from other strategies in the marketing mix, signaling a shift in brand marketer’s priorities towards creating an experience that will become a growing driver of engagement and revenue. This makes sense considering that 14% of marketers saw a return ratio greater than 5 to 1 from experiential marketing initiatives, up from 7% in 2013.

Brand marketers, agencies, and consumers agree: experience matters

By surveying brand marketers, agencies, and consumers, the study shines light on key insights that match the rising perception that experience is becoming a lead strategy in a brand’s marketing portfolio. Here are some of the more interesting highlights:

59% of brand marketers report that the goal of experiential marketing is to introduce new products, up from 50% in 2013 and 48% in 2012.

83% of consumers are motivated to participate in events if free samples or other giveaways are offered.

74% of participants that purchase once are likely to become regular customers after engaging with the brand at an event.

Although the main focus of corporate marketers today may be technology disruption, integration, and new opportunities for consumer targeting, experiential marketing is being seen as a complement, adding a human touch to form deeper consumer connections.

Experiential Marketing: the peanut butter to technology’s jam

The results of the study are not surprising and confirm what Factory 360 has believed since its start. With mobile supercomputers and constant access to the entire web in their pockets, consumers are increasingly retreating into their own curated brand bubbles, making it harder than ever for new brands to penetrate. Brands are finding they have to break through on a human level and foster an offline connection alongside their highly personalized online targeting and CRM.

Marketers foresee this offline and online balance becoming critical to earning consumer’s brand preference and loyalty, ultimately driving results. If anything, the big takeaway from the study is not only highlighting that brands that value experience, experience value, it’s proving that the brands that do it best are getting better at it and being rewarded awesomely.

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