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Experiential Marketing Summit Highlights

Bespoke’s Thomas Taylor spent two and half days at the annual Experiential Marketing Summit this month in Denver, hearing from brand and agency executives that detailed current industry trends and present case studies for some of the most exciting programs in event marketing. The following are his top five takeaways:

Be Bold and Connect

Culture eats strategy for breakfast. Brands need to connect with the culture of their audience in a bold, meaningful and emotional way. Experiences are holistic and the best experiences are ones that lead to movements. Be authentic to your brand but make your activation relevant to your target customer to truly connect. It’s not about giving them something for free or having them try your product, it’s about connection. That’s where the magic happens.

The “Makers Movement” is Real and It’s Here

Millennials are entering their 30s and 78 percent of them consider themselves to be “Makers.” What are they making? Everything from video and technology to food, art and design. Consumers not only expect brands to listen to them, take their input and make changes, they expect them to allow them to be part of the process. As this large Millennial culture on Makers continues to grow, brands need to recognize the movement, embrace it and invite them to be part of it.

Content is still King, but many are doing it wrong

The majority of brands still view experiential content in an event mindset as opposed to using that content to amplify an event long after it’s concluded. If you look at research that shows a year’s worth of consumption of event content, only 36 percent of total views occur within the first week after an event. That grows to 67 percent in the first month and 85 percent in three months. Develop your content for your medium and for your target and continue to promote your content. Your consumers will find you when the need arises.

Using Science to Test, Learn and Improve

Brands are finally moving toward mass acceptance of using data analytics to make real time decisions during event activations, as well as implementing long-term tracking programs to better determine ROI. The ability to geofence consumers at an event to follow their flow and engagement allows for minor or wholesale changes to improve the degree of success. After the conclusion of events, using measurements such as Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is providing more accurate ROI and a true measure of success.

Fail Fast and Fail Forward

Born in Silicon Valley, this mantra isn’t just for tech companies and startups. Perhaps a more conservative phrase is test, learn, refine, repeat. Brands often become ridged, process driven and slow to react to great opportunities, thus missing out on great ideas. Especially in the experiential space, brands can be bold without throwing caution to the wind. Be bold and embrace the constantly shifting. The current recipe for some of the most respected brands in the world is dramatically different than when they were first created.

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