5 Top Trends in Experiential Marketing for 2024

Thérèse Mulvey

Marketing Trends, Experiential Marketing, Monthly Survey

March 11, 2024

Powering Data-Driven Decisions with Predictive and Prescriptive Modeling

As consumers block ads and opt for commercial-free streaming services, activating experiential marketing strategies may be the best way to capture your audiences’ attention. In addition to creating connections with consumers through unique, dynamic experiences, experiential marketing will increasingly use data-driven insights to personalize the customer journey.

This article explores the top trends in experiential marketing to captivate your audience, create buzz and boost sales. But first, a brief background.

What is experiential marketing?

Experiential marketing is based on creating memorable and innovative customer experiences to create deep emotional connections between consumers and brands.

In traditional marketing, consumers are passive receivers of a company’s message. In experiential marketing, a brand involves the consumer directly. So much so that the customer becomes part of the advertising campaign. The fan becomes a brand ambassador, creating user-generated content and telling all their friends about the brand.

Barbie movie marketing machine

A recent blockbuster example is the Barbie movie, 2023’s budget-busting film phenomenon. Warner Bros. Entertainment spent $150 million on the marketing campaign alone. Using experiential marketing strategies and riding the trends helped them to get almost ten times a return on that marketing investment.[1]

The Barbie movie promotions began even before its July 2023 premiere. As early as April 2023, the savvy marketers built anticipation by launching user-generated content, including the Barbie selfie generator that went viral across social media. There were cross promotions with HGTV Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge, along with Bloomingdale’s Barbie Dreamhouse pop-up store. Even Flo and the Progressive Insurance gang got in on the action with commercials about bundling insurance deals for Barbie’s home and auto. Barbie-inspired Crocs, GAP clothes, as well as a “pink” sauce from Burger King grabbed media and consumer attention.

Why is experiential marketing effective?

Because humans are emotional beings, experiential marketing effectively taps into our emotions and aspirations. When a brand connects with us in an emotional way, we not only buy, we become loyal customers. When marketers involve consumers with the story, customers feel connected rather than sold to.

There are huge benefits to experiential marketing. From enhanced brand awareness and increased consumer engagement to brand loyalty, word-of-mouth publicity, and improved brand image by creating memorable experiences. These interactions can lead to higher sales, repeat customers and a stronger brand-consumer relationship.

U.S. consumers participating in experiential marketing

In December 2023, Causeway Solutions conducted an online survey of more than 800 U.S. Adults aged 18 and older. We asked, “In the past 12 months, have you participated in” various activities that are key strategies in experiential marketing.

Here are the responses:

  • 48% say they bought a product or service after sampling it.
  • 15% have visited a pop-up store.
  • 18% have attended a virtual event.
  • 18% have bought a product or service based on an influencer recommendation.
  • 9% have attended a trade show.

The research shows that experiential marketing is something that reaches a broad audience.

Source: Causeway Solutions 2023

Here are key experiential marketing strategies to attract and engage audiences in 2024:

1. Hyper-personalization Customers want personalized experiences. Brands offering relevant messaging at the right time in the buying journey will have an edge in the market. In fact, experiential marketing will increasingly use data-driven insights to personalize experiences and make them more relevant to each individual customer.

2. Hybrid events are consistently expected Post-pandemic, marketers need to offer options for both virtual and in-person events to satisfy their audiences’ needs. The smartest brands will leverage the benefits of both mediums to create immersive experiences that allow customers to interact with the brand in new and innovative ways.

3. Mobile and pop-ups As in the Barbie move examples, experiential marketing allows brands to build awareness across media and platforms, as well as curate events to allow consumers to directly engage and connect.

4. User-generated content Influencers will continue to lead marketing strategies for brands. But there’ll be a push for greater authenticity from micro-influencers, those with smaller follower counts ranging from 10,000 – 100,000 followers. Micro-influencers tend to have videos with fewer edits and off-the-cuff remarks that are more real and believable compared to highly polished productions. And of course, content from the “everyday user” will showcase greater transparency.

Podcasts will rise in media strategies. While platforms like Instagram and Tik-Tok will attract younger fans and buyers.

5. Enhanced technologies will push experiences Rapidly expanding technologies in AR, VR, and AI will boost experiential opportunities for brands and consumers. For example, 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 Place is an augmented reality home environment that enables consumers to visualize how furniture and other products will look once placed in their homes.

Warby Parker became famous for its augmented reality try-on feature in its app. Users can virtually try on various pairs of Warby Parker glasses without leaving home. The technology provides a nearly life-like visual to show customers how the glasses will look on their face. Consumers are allowed to make a more informed decision before they buy, reducing the likelihood of returns due to dissatisfaction with the design.

As consumer expectations for personalized messages and relevant experiences increase, pursuing experiential marketing strategies provides brands with opportunities to stand out and connect with target audiences. By following these top trends, brands can establish customer relationships and expand growth.

*About Causeway Solutions’ Monthly Surveys

Causeway Solutions has conducted a monthly online survey of U.S. Adults 18+ for more than 3 years. The data offers snapshots into consumer attitudes and behaviors, which support industry trends. Insights include optimism about the economy, plan to purchase and media usage. Causeway Solutions offers key industry profiles, including healthcare, entertainment, sports, travel, restaurants and more. The most recent survey was conducted September 9-13, 2023, with 838 Adults 18+ completing the online questionnaire.

Thérèse Mulvey is Vice President of Strategy & Insight at Causeway Solutions, a leading provider of Acquisition Analytics and innovative data services. Thérèse has worked in media, including television, newspaper, direct mail and digital, where she successfully translated consumer data into insights that address key business issues. She has over two decades of success driving profit, growth and market expansion through the strategic optimization of marketing analytics, research and business development. Causeway Solutions empowers clients to make smart, timely, data-driven decisions through real-time consumer insights to better reach target audiences. Learn more at CausewaySolutions.com.

[1]: “Inside ‘Barbie’s’ Pink Publicity Machine: How Warner Bros. Pulled Of the Marketing Campaign of the Year,” Variety

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