1. Marketing In Virtual Experiences
Companies have started to create branded virtual experiences, such as concerts, videos, and more, to engage customers in a unique, creative way. Recently, Miller did this when they launched a giveaway inside a virtual pub in the online game Decentraland. If you’re unfamiliar, Decentraland is a metaverse game similar to Roblox, in which users create avatars and explore the open virtual world with friends.
Initially starting as exclusively face-to-face events, experiential advertising has advanced over the years to operate inside the virtual ecosystem just like the remainder of the world, and this trend is likely to continue.
2. Physical / Digital Hybrid Experiences
After the end of the global lockdowns, people had a strong desire to gather with others. As the world gradually returns to normal, experiential marketing trends will blend virtual and in-person experiences.
Ben and Jerry’s ‘Tweet the Truck’ concept was an excellent illustration of how hybrid experiential marketing can engage customers uniquely.
The famous brand offered free samples in New York and other large US metropolitan areas to promote its newest ice cream flavor. Rather than staying stationary in one spot and allowing shoppers to come to them, they prompted fans to tweet at them, telling the company where they’d like the truck to go.
The company also gave away large scoops rather than serving the standard small free samples many individuals expected. This was an extraordinary approach to integrating technology into a physical campaign to interact with customers.
3. Branded Artwork Installations
Another exciting way to engage an audience is by using art installations. Artwork can stimulate thought and conversation around a particular brand or topic, and creating prominent installations can effectively get consumer attention. They can also serve as an excellent organic social media marketing strategy.
The marketing team behind Cloudy produced one very effective art installation with a Chance of Meatballs. Playing on an event in the movie where food rains from the sky, the company produced branded art installations of food that looked like they had been dropped from the sky.
One such piece was a large, upside-down ice cream cone, while another resembled a massive hamburger sliding down a staircase.
4. Digital Interactive Touch Points
Interactive experiences have begun rising in popularity over the last several years. From live streams on Youtube to Twitch, brands have found unique ways to take advantage of this new touch point.
The company WhatNot has capitalized on this, merging an auction-style sales platform with modern live-streaming capabilities. This allows buyers and sellers to interact more personally, resulting in more sales and higher ticket prices.
5. Brand Values Are Increasing In Importance
During the pandemic, consumers began to consider the values of the brands they support more carefully. As a result, companies with a mission or charity donation program have started to capture more significant segments of market shares in recent years.
6. Pop Up Shops
Companies have begun leveraging pop-up shops to reduce overhead costs associated with renting and operating a full-time retail storefront. Some streetwear brands like Supreme have successfully opened temporary pop-up shops in established retail locations, typically in large cities.
7. Augmented and Virtual Reality
Augmented reality and virtual reality experiences have begun to emerge in various applications. This technology has exciting applications in experiential marketing, from Snapchat filters to companies using virtual reality to train their employees.
Companies like IKEA have begun using technology to immerse consumers during the buying process. For example, IKEA’s augmented reality home environment, called IKEA Place, enables consumers to visualize how furniture and other products will look once placed in their homes.
Warby Parker became popular for its augmented reality try-on feature in its app, where users can virtually try on pairs of Warby Parker glasses without leaving their homes. The technology provides a nearly life-like visual of how the glasses will look to the customer before purchasing, allowing them to make a more informed decision and reducing the likelihood of returns due to dissatisfaction with the design.
8. Hosting Live Events
Companies have begun to understand the value of branding a unique live event, just like Red Bull did with its ‘Stratos’ jump. This remarkable event was live-streamed to a massive audience and involved a person skydiving from near orbit, or 24 miles above the surface of the Earth.
This event broke two world records in one go: the first was the record for the highest skydive ever, and the second was receiving the highest viewer traffic of any live stream. The stream garnered over 8 million unique viewers as people watched in awe.
Live events can be a great way to immerse your audience in the experience, enabling them to chat and share the experience with others in real time.
Challenges have become an excellent way to engage customers and simultaneously create authentic social media content. Creative challenges spread quickly among social media users, like the infamous ice bucket challenge, and prompt other people to participate in the challenge.
Snack manufacturer Paqui created the ‘One Chip Challenge,’ a challenge shared around various social media platforms. The company made a single, extremely spicy chip and sent it to multiple stores throughout the country. Customers were encouraged to try to eat the chip on camera or with friends, spreading the Paqui brand rapidly.
With the recent boom in the NFT market, companies have begun to utilize NFTs in their experiential marketing campaign. One such example is Budweiser’s recent announcement that they have become the official beer of Zed Run, an NFT-based virtual horse racing game.
Another example of this concept is Gary Vaynerchuk’s ‘VeeFriends’ NFT project, which serves as access passes to his business conferences and offers other unique perks for holders. For example, some holders get exclusive one-on-one access to Gary for mentoring and business coaching services, while others receive exclusive gifts throughout the year curated by Gary himself.
As virtual events and experiences grow in web3 spaces like Decentraland, Sandbox, and others, NFTs will quickly become an integral part of a large percentage of companies marketing strategies. In addition, since NFTs are programmable, companies will likely continue innovating and developing new ways to use the technology to engage their consumers in exciting ways.
Top 10 Must-Know Statistics
- According to 2021 data from EventTrack, 91% of customers would be more likely to purchase products or services from a brand after participating in a branded experience. (EventTrack)
- According to data from Hubspot’s Marketing Industry Trends Report, experiential marketing has been ranked as one of the top five strategies companies currently use to market their products and services to customers. (Hubspot)
- According to 2021 data from Agency EA, 71% of business-to-business marketers have organized a hybrid event within the past six months. Similarly, 63% of business-to-consumer marketers have done the same.
- According to 2021 data from Hubspot, 81% of brands anticipate that their experiential and event marketing budgets will match or be more significant than before the pandemic.
- According to data from EventTrack, 77% of marketers utilize experiential marketing as a critical component of their marketing strategy. (EventTrack)
- According to data from Experiential Trends, 67% of customers don’t attend free or low-cost virtual events after registering. (Experiential Trends)
- According to data from Bizzabo, 52.9% of event marketers report finding engaging and creating memorable events in an online venue more challenging than in-person events. (Bizzabo)
- According to data from Chaos Theory, 98% of event attendees create or share social or digital content to online platforms while at an event. (Chaos Theory)
- According to data from Harris Group, 78% of millennials want to spend their money on events and experiences instead of products and other purchases. (Harris Group)
- According to data from Marketing Week, 48% of customers are more likely to purchase a product if they are allowed to sample it before purchase. (Marketing Week)