One of the most innovative approaches to marketing in the last year has been the growth of experiential marketing. By making the audience part of the marketing push, companies have managed to generate more interest in their products as a result. Even so, this type of marketing takes a lot of setup, and many businesses aren’t sure they’re ready to invest in the trend of experiential marketing as yet.
While experiential marketing has been consistently hyped as the “next big thing,” the fact that it depends greatly on human interaction has made industry professionals question its validity at a time when social distancing has become the norm. Below, 13 experts from Forbes Agency Council weigh in on the current and future impact that experiential marketing is likely to have on the industry, and give us advice on how leaders can adapt to its effects.
1. Continuing To Build Relationships And Leadership
Experiential marketing will continue to be a priority for building relationships and delivering on thought leadership. But businesses are adapting fast to virtual conferences, and the savings are significant (costs, emissions, waste). To play well as experiential marketing, virtual events will include moderated group breakouts, gamified agendas and in-app click-to-share social content at a minimum. – Serenity Thompson, A23 Advisors
2. Emphasizing The Power of Shared Experience
The current crisis reminds us just how important our shared experiences are as humans. Live experiential marketing will return in full force as we look to reconnect with colleagues and customers. When we can’t be face-to-face, we opt for screen-to-screen which provides its own unique opportunities to connect in real-time. When delivering a virtual experience, keep a people-first approach. – Steve Wilson, Wilson Dow
3. Reinventing Experiences And Platforms
COVID or not, the opportunity to create memorable experiences remains as relevant as ever. What this means is that marketers, strategists and creators need to reimagine where and how these experiences are brought to life beyond the physical space. Experiences matter; we just need to innovate in where and how they come to life. – Lili Gil Valletta, CIEN+
4. Connecting With Audiences During Social Distancing
Experiential marketing will become more digital. People are spending more time online and using connected devices as they are mandated to stay inside, giving more opportunities for users to interact. Whether it be through VR, playing an interactive game, attending a virtual concert or a live streaming demo, experiential marketing will move towards brand engaging audiences for experiences online. – Jon Waterman, Ad.net
5. Offering Consumer-Level Multisensory Experiences
Experiential marketing can benefit from emerging technologies to create personalized, multisensory experiences. For example, marketers can enhance a trial experience through providing samples to the consumer, then activating the products using augmented reality for additional content, filters for social media sharing, voice activation for mood-setting music, etc., for an on-demand experience. – Hamutal Schieber
6. Delivering Personalized Experiences To Wider Audiences
Brands will quickly pivot to digital efforts, delivering a more personalized experience to wider audiences with greater avenues to track, measure and attribute consumer behavior. These measurements will better inform which live experiences should come back into the world. Not all will make it, but the craving for human connectivity, creativity and exclusive experiences will rebound the industry. – Nicolas Van Erum, Sid Lee
7. Leveraging New Technologies With Social Spacing
Social distancing is likely to remain the new normal for some time after we get through the COVID-19 crisis. Experiential marketers will need to consider how to use new technologies with social spacing to connect with consumers in an engaging manner. – Jackie Reau, Game Day Communications
8. Growing The Number Of Virtual Conferences, Activations
Come 2021, we expect to see more virtual conferences and activations that will give a whole new perspective to the space of experiential marketing. As we navigate through this pandemic, brands are challenged to pivot to provide a utility, adopt new technologies and continue to provide value and insight to consumers. – Scott Harkey, OH Partners
9. Helping Brands Stand Out From The Crowd
Experiential marketing will continue to evolve and will be an essential tool for helping brands stand out from the noise. There’s so much information coming at consumers daily, particularly online, so it’s important to differentiate and capture attention in new ways. It will be an important part of an integrated marketing strategy to communicate brand stories and grow awareness and loyalty. – Anna Crowe, Crowe PR
10. Creating A Community
Experiences are really powerful things with the ability to truly connect people. Through experiential marketing, we are able to build a community. The emotions activated by a memorable experience allow for these connections, and this is something that will continue to benefit brands for a long time. They now have the opportunity to find real connections with their audience. – Dmitrii Kustov
11. Providing Immersive Experiences Via Influencers
Influencers have been partnering with brands to deliver memorable marketing experiences through events, samplings, challenges, installations and more. Savvy creators can drive unique opportunities to interact directly with your target audience, whether in-person or online. Influencers who provide enjoyable, immersive experiences boost brand visibility, build audience connections and drive action. – Danielle Wiley, Sway Group
12. Leveraging Augmented And Virtual Reality
What we can do in times like this is turn to AR and VR. Every company is ready for it. Apple and Android support it. You can send them cardboard boxes and let them feel as if they’re walking through or touching the product within their own space. It’s when you cannot have a physical event that marketers unite and figure out ways around it. We never take “no” as an answer. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
13. Bridging The Gap With Video Demos
In the business-to-business world, video demos can effectively bridge the experiential marketing gap. By promoting technical experts as the heroes, customers can gain valuable insights, and companies can more intimately represent their brand. Demos can also be a little more light in nature and thus capture the personality of the company — a necessary component of establishing or expanding a customer relationship. – Francine Carb, Markitects, Inc.
Originally published at Forbes on May 15, 2020.