What’s The Future of Experiential Marketing?

Experiential Marketing, Pro Motion Blog

MarketingVRAR FeatureAs we enter not only a new year but a new decade, a focus on the future is natural. The 2010’s saw the rise of Twitter and Instagram, among other social networks; the phenomenon of “going viral;” having a career as an online influencer; and increased affordability and accessibility of new technologies. Experiential marketing also spiked in popularity, and that popularity is likely to carry over into the next decade as advertisers seek to grab the attention of consumers. In fact, 93% of consumers say that events have a larger influence on them than TV ads. 

What does the future hold for experiential marketing? The best way to look at the future is to consider past and present trends. While experiential may have become a buzzword in the 2010’s, arguably the use of experiential marketing goes back to the turn of the 20th century. World Fairs offered once in a lifetime experiences to experience technological innovations. Automobile and beverage companies pioneered event marketing with flashy car shows and concert sponsorships. The new Millennium saw an explosion in experiential marketing, with brands using pop-up shops, mobile roadshows, street teams, festivals, and art installations to grab consumers’ attention. Let’s take a look at what the new decade could bring:

The Past, Present, and Future of Experiential Marketing

The Past: Focus on making your experience as Instagrammable as possible

The Future: Focus on creating immersive experiences by using all 5 senses

Creating a campaign just for the sake of Instagrammable moments is not enough. While social media shares can be a great side effect of a successful event, fostering relationships with an audience requires more than photo booths and props. In the future, experiential will focus on providing consumers with a thoughtful experience that engages the senses. An event that pulls people out from behind their screen is going to be more memorable. Check out our blog post for creative suggestions for how you can use taste, smell, sight, sound, and touch at your events. 

The Past: Brands focus on nationwide events, the bigger the better

The Future: A focus on local communities

Huge, brand sponsored events like festivals and concerts will never disappear, but even mainstays like Van’s Warped Tour have reached the end of their story. Audiences seek more personalized events that feel more authentic. Look for brands to focus on cities’ individuality by including local characteristics in their events. Supporting local communities encourages community buy-in. In fact, 72% of people say they would tell friends and family about a business’s efforts to support the local community. Big, splashy events cater to generic interests; local events allow for more targeted and demographically relevant experiences.  Pro Motion saw success with this strategy in our work with Bruegger’s Bagels and Snapple.

The Past: Focus on grabbing the attention of as many passersby as possible

The Future: Considering the customer experience through the entire journey

Of course, grabbing the attention of your audience is an essential component of marketing. However, the goal cannot be a focus on getting as many eyes on your event as possible without also considering the entire experience of an individual, from beginning to end. In the next decade, look for brands to carefully plan and measure every aspect of an event, including how people move through a physical space and what their first, second, and third impressions will be. Customer experience will also include a greater focus on inclusivity. Brands will need to put together experiences that are culturally sensitive and think through how to make people from many different backgrounds and abilities feel comfortable. 

The Past: Eagerness to use as much new technology as possible

The Future: Thoughtful use of technology to augment an experience

As the technology has become more affordable, virtual reality tools and augmented reality have been incorporated into more events. There are many benefits to using this technology, and brands are eager to seem up-to-date with the newest tech. Yet, in the future, brands will move away from unnecessary over-augmentation. Instead of VR headsets that take customers to a separate virtual space, expect growth in AR that provides visual and auditory experiences while still keeping consumers’ attentions inside the event space. Technology at events should have a purpose. For example, in Pro Motion’s work on Hussmann’s Insight Experience Tour, incorporation of VR allows the company to demonstrate what their refrigeration units would look like in a grocery store while filled with food, without having to lug around each product model being sold on the mobile roadshow. 

The Past: Using popular online influencers to promote your brand

The Future: A new kind of social influencer

Influencers have traditionally been celebrities or “internet celebrities” with millions of followers. In the future, brands will focus more on people with authentic connections over a typical influencer with a larger reach. The new “social influencer” will include any person with the ability to affect purchasing decisions, even if their followers are only a few thousand family and friends. 

The Past: Experiential is an add-on to an already developed ad campaign

The Future: Experiential marketing becomes a central part of marketing plans

Brands will move away from considering experiential as a bonus they can add to existing marketing campaigns. Expect experiential to be considered earlier and more centrally in brands’ overall marketing strategies and the driver instead of passenger. 

Other Trends To Watch

Some trends from the past few years are likely to gain popularity over the next decade:

  • A focus on environmental responsibility and sustainable events
  • Increased brand collaboration
  • Promoting a good cause (CSR)
  • Direct partnership between brands and experiential marketing agencies, without large marketing agencies as middlemen

What trends do you think will take off in the coming decade? 

Want to work directly with an accomplished experiential marketing agency? Pro Motion is an industry leader in creating engaging, effective campaigns. Give us a call at 636.449.3162.


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