Why is it that experiential is so attractive at the moment? What has experiential got to offer inside the marketing mix that makes it so desirable that advertising agencies have started talking about delivering it?
In an age of fake news, polished messaging and a massive, global media environment, experiences are largely self-directed, personal if not personalized and offer limited attendance opportunities. That means that people feel like they are getting something unique, a moment in time, a genuine interaction with a brand. After all, only 70,000 people can actually attend the Super Bowl in person whereas 62 million people worldwide joined the conversation on Facebook alone to the tune of 270 million interactions.
For Millennials particularly there is a driving need to deliver unique and inspiring content whether that’s to your friend group or to your influencer following. Posting the same thing everyone else is posting isn’t’ going to achieve that. Hence the desire for time limited events with restricted attendance. The Museum of Ice Cream had a wait list of 200,000 people after it opened in 2017.
And there’s more opportunity to create emotional moments that last beyond 30 seconds. If spending time with a brand creates uplift in perception (and it does) then experiences win out every time as a means of communication prior to purchase. Here’s an example – people pay $15 to go to an auto show and spend about 4 hours there. All that time they are absorbing messages, interacting with brand ambassadors. And yes, we do see substantial brand lift in our research.
Experiential marketing has been delivering value for everbut now that Millennials are reporting it in research marketers are finally viewing experiential as more than simply handing out samples in cute t-shirts.
The question now is whether ad agencies will try and deliver experiential in the same way they tried to deliver digital in the 2010s. And whether they will succeed.