In the years before the pandemic, experiential marketing was a rapidly gaining trend.
Consumers enjoyed these unique events and the brands took advantage of increased awareness and loyalty. It all stopped screaming, but when COVID-19 entered the picture.
Since then, brands have become creative with their experiential marketing efforts. Thanks to technological advances, personal experiences can be offered online. Now that marketers know how well these new opportunities work, virtual and hybrid experiences are unlikely to go anywhere soon, even if there is an opportunity on the horizon to return to normal.
Here’s what you can expect from experiential marketing in 2021 and beyond!
The use of advanced AR technology is becoming mandatory for retailers
Augmented reality, or AR for short, is a form of experiential marketing that allows consumers to interact with products or services in a much more fun and personal way.
Even before the pandemic, brands began to incorporate augmented reality into their marketing strategies, but closures and social distance measures accelerated the process.
With AR technology, brands can easily tell customers instead of making their product or service great. This allows brands to better communicate with their customers, provide them with a memorable experience and reduce costly returns.
AR technology also makes all kinds of hygiene and cleanliness worries worry-free, because customers can shop from the comfort of their own home!
One brand that has achieved great success with its augmented reality marketing strategy is Sephora. Through facial recognition, Sephora has allowed consumers to try makeup products virtually before they buy them with their son. Virtual artist application. Trying before buying is also popular among furniture stores.
Home Depot, Lowe’s and Ikeas have built-in artificial intelligence technology that allows consumers to see what different colors and / or pieces of furniture look like in their homes before they buy.
In the future, brands will have to use augmented reality shopping to keep up with changing consumer needs. If they don’t, they risk falling behind.
Hybrid events are here to stay
With the advent of the pandemic, personal events forced the creation of new revenue channels and included platforms such as Instagram Live, TikTok, Twitch and Zoom. The the music industry in particular had to drastically change concert experiences. Fortunately, they were able to make this transition successfully.
Live broadcasts from major artists JustTin Bieber and Weeknd TikTokis, Swizz Beatz and Timbaland’s five-hour “producer clash” on Instagram Live and Wacken’s worldwide live broadcast were all huge hits!
Many organizations that hosted their personal events online were able to either significantly reduce the fare or make the event completely free. Without initial costs and geographical boundaries, this opened up their experience to a much larger audience. This undoubtedly had a positive effect on brands that were able to expand their reach.
As safety issues have been a part of our lives for a long time, brands benefit greatly from giving people the opportunity to participate in an event virtually or in person. Now that we know how effective large-scale virtual events can be, a hybrid approach is likely to be adopted in the near future that will continue to satisfy virtual participants!
Meeting the audience where they are
During the pandemic, consumer behavior changed drastically. One area of our lives where we all roamed home saw tremendous growth, the use of games and the number of viewers. Brands took note of this and used leverage on popular platforms such as Fortnite and League of Legends to host virtual events. Travis Scott even got into it holding a hugely successful Fortnite concert!
Using these platforms was not only a brilliant idea to meet the audience where they are, but it is also a great way to facilitate virtual communication and start conversations with consumers.
Live chats and polls are also great ways to connect with virtual participants, and brands are likely to continue to use these tactics and popular gaming platforms.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live forever. Our “return to normal” is not a linear path, and many people are reluctant to attend personal events for some time. Fortunately, we have learned how amazing technology can be in terms of experiential marketing.
As top companies like Facebook receive live buy-ins and Walmart uses AR technology to create a new virtual trial feature, the future of experiential marketing has come faster than any of us could have predicted. Despite the initial impact of the pandemic on experiential marketing, it is still an integral part of marketing and is likely to become increasingly important in the coming years.