Last week we looked at the history of experiential marketing. We talked about the origins of event marketing, which can be traced to the turn of the 20th century; the modernization of engagement marketing in the 1980s; and the growing importance of experiential marketing to businesses operating today.

But where is experiential marketing going? What can we expect from the future of experiential marketing? Here are our predictions. Do you have other thoughts about what experiential marketing will look like in five, 10 or even 20 years? We’d love to hear from you.

You’ll see more of it

First of all, experiential marketing is growing rapidly. In 2012, companies spent an average of 3.8 percent of their marketing budgets on experiential marketing campaigns. By 2013 the number was 4.7 percent, and in 2014 it was expected to be closer to 9.8 percent (for large companies).

Businesses are increasingly relying on experiential marketing to increase sales and make their brands seem relevant. As we discussed in a recent post, companies like Toyota, Trojan, PayPal, Chase Bank and NJOY have tried experiential marketing campaigns in recent years and seen big successes.

Why is experiential marketing so popular? It goes back to the core of marketing. You want consumers to establish a positive association with your brand. One of the best ways to do that is to appeal to all five senses – touch, taste, smell, sign and feel. Giving consumers a once-in-a-lifetime experience will also create a strong connection to your brand. Experiential marketing can do these things better than any YouTube video, mailing or advertisement.

It will be measured more and differently

All brands are trying to do a better job of tracking the return on investment (ROI) for their marketing efforts. Experiential marketing campaigns are no different. You can bet your boss is going to come to you after an event wraps up and ask why you should be allowed to put on a similar event in the future. You’d better be ready with an answer.

When you start planning your experiential marketing campaign, make sure you outline a set of deliverables and find ways to track them. In some ways it’s easier to explain the ROI of experiential marketing campaigns because the numbers are easier to track. You don’t know how many people read your direct mail piece before they place it in the trash. You do know how many people entered your booth, tasted or tried on your product, and signed up for your email newsletter.

Some of your measurements may have less to do with ROI and more to do with a relatively new term: ROE, or return on engagement. More and more brands are looking at their investment in experiential marketing campaigns as a long game rather than a short one. They don’t want to bring a bunch of one-time consumers through their doors or to their websites. They want to build brand loyalty, increase their social media following and make their consumers into product ambassadors.

That’s ROE, and it’s a value tool every marketers should have in their proverbial box. iMedia Connection shares five ways to measure ROE. It will get you started down the road of brainstorming how to measure the ROE for your events and other campaigns.

Campaigns will show up on different social media platforms

Most experiential marketers hope their campaigns will go viral thanks to Facebook and Twitter. However, as a high school teacher reminded me the other day, young people aren’t necessarily on these platforms. In their view, Facebook and Twitter are social media resources for old people (and by that, they mean anyone over 30).

Marketers must think about how their experiential marketing campaigns will play on other channels as well. Can you make some segment of the experience short enough that it will make sense on a Vine? Can you recommend that event attendees post pictures on Snapchat, Instagram and Whisper as well? Can you use the event to build your following or get early involvement on up-and-coming social media sites like Line or Meetey?

It will be targeted to appeal to different groups

One of the great things about experiential marketing is that it can be very targeted to the needs of different people. Many companies seek to market their products to affluent individuals. This is a savvy group of consumers who expect superior treatment, exclusive experiences and access to celebrities and influencers. They may not let you into their homes, but they want to go to the most exclusive events out there. If you can get into the events they’re attending anyway – and deliver the type of experience they expect – you have a captive audience for your products and services.

While your typical man or woman on the street would love to hang out with celebrities and attend amazing parties, they’re also pretty happy to go to events that appeal to their interests and values. People who belong to racial or ethnic groups outside of the mainstream appreciate it when brands are inclusive and provide experiences they can relate to. This multicultural or ethnic marketing is a big trend in experiential marketing.

Millennials also appreciate events that are geared toward their interests and ways to communicating, not those of their parents and grandparents. Brands can go a long ways toward targeting Millennials by using experiential marketing campaigns that appeal to this growing demographic group’s values.

If you need help planning an experiential marketing campaign that moves your brand into the future, Factory 360 can help. Let us gaze into our crystal ball and help you identify the tactics, elements and strategies that will make your campaign a huge success. Contact Factory 360 today for more information about we can help you succeed.

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