Appealing to Early Adopters Through Experiential Marketing

Thérèse Mulvey

Experiential Marketing, Monthly Survey, CMO Alliance

April 1, 2024

Appealing to Early Adopters Through Experiential Marketing

This was first published in CMO Alliance.

Experiential Marketing is sometimes called engagement marketing or XM. The brand or advertiser is inviting an audience to interact with their product or solution in a real-world situation. Through hands-on participation or sampling of the product or service, the brand or business is showing prospective customers what the company offers and how it’s different from competitors.

From product sampling and pop-up stores to virtual events and trade shows, the marketer is connecting with consumers through a dynamic experience. The goal of experiential marketing is to capture the audiences’ attention, create word of mouth excitement and generate sales.

A recent Causeway Solutions survey of U.S. Adults 18+ provides insights on the popularity of experiential marketing. Key findings from the study include:

  • Younger people are more likely to engage in experiential marketing in general.
  • 48% of the population said they bought a product or service after sampling it. Here is a snapshot of key demographics who say they bought a product or service after sampling:

    - 55% of adults 25-34
    - 59% of adults 35-44
    - 39% of adults 55+
    - 59% of adults with $75-100K income
  • 12% of survey participants say they’ve tried VR (virtual reality) or AR (augmented reality) technology. VR and AR usage is even higher for these groups:

    - 17% of Men
    - 22% of adults 18-24
    - 23% of adults 25-34
    - However, older adults are less likely to try, with only 5% of adults 55+
  • 18% of the population said they have bought a product or service in the past 12 months based on an influencer recommendation. That percentage changes significantly when you look at younger adults:

    - 38% of adults 18-24
    - 31% of adults 25-34 
  • When asked about attending a virtual event over the last 12 months:

    - 18% of the general population say they’ve attended.
    - 24% of those with income over $100K have attended a virtual event.

*Source: Causeway Solutions, December 2023

Profile of Early Adopters

Many marketers will specifically target “early adopters,” those people who embrace innovative products, the latest technologies and new services. These consumers typically try and buy the hottest gadgets before everyone else. Brands love to market to early adopters because they purchase quickly, then promote the new products through word of mouth.

We are defining early adopters as U.S. adults who used VR or AR gadgets in the last 12 months.

By profiling this group, we see how early adopters differ from the average adult. First, they are slightly more optimistic about the economy:

  • 8% rate the economy with 5 stars compared to the general population’s 2%.

Also, Early adopters say they are more likely to make big purchases in the next month:


Early adopters are more likely to say, “Yes, always” when asked if they pay attention to ads:


Early adopters are more likely to take part in experiential marketing:


*Source: Causeway Solutions, December 2023

By incorporating insights from the early adopter profile, you can level up your marketing strategies to attract this all-important population. These experiential marketing tactics will entice them to explore new gadgets and solutions, moving forward on the buyer’s journey.

*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