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Survey Says: Marketers Earmarking More Funds for Experiential Campaigns

Brands like Budweiser are increasing spend in experiential marketing and events

Marketers around the globe are planning to spend much more on experiential marketing by 2022

According to a survey by Freeman, a branding consultation company, marketers around the globe are planning to spend much more on experiential marketing by 2022. Thirty-three percent of chief marketers say that they’re planning to spend 21-50 percent of their entire marketing budget on experiential marketing, which is incredibly significant.

A separate report by Campaign found that just over half (51 percent) of CMOs say they plan to spend more than 20 percent of their budget on experiential marketing by 2022—now, 31 percent spend over 20 percent.

Freeman polled 1,000 brand managers and CMOs in North America, Asia and Europe in early 2017. The results were posted over the summer. The survey found that 90 percent of marketers who invested in experiential marketing believe that the approach led to “more compelling brand engagements.” Plus, 59 percent of respondents say brand experience is key for crafting a consistent relationship with target audiences. Now of course, the next step is to bring actual data to the table. With the emergence of ERMs to measure ROI of experiential marketing, I would expect budgets will increase.

According to the CMO and Executive Vice President of Freeman, Chris Cavanaugh, audience expectations are changing and marketing departments need to keep pace. The brand experience has become exponentially more important, and it’s grown in scope quickly in recent years. He says, “Steep competition, changing demographics and more sophisticated audiences mean now, more than ever, marketers need new approaches. The right brand experiences have the power to evolve brands, build relationships and inspire action.”

Thinning the Herd

Unfortunately, the survey also found that some marketers aren’t embracing all the new technology available, particularly in North America and Europe. At the moment, the top three approaches to foster brand experience are a website (58 percent), social (57 percent), and email marketing (51 percent). Asia is embracing new, innovative and immersive tech to customize experiences, and it’s leaving North America and Europe in the dust.

Freeman reports that 42 percent of Asian marketers use sensory interaction, while just 28 percent in North America do so. Western Europe is really trailing behind with just 13 percent taking advantage of the tactic. Sensory interaction is highly prevalent in experiential marketing, and often uses one of the less common senses (taste, smell, or touch) compared to traditional marketing (visual and audial). Tapping all five senses is often an idyllic experiential marketing strategy.

The same trend continues with virtual reality. VR in itself isn’t experiential marketing (it is great media though), but it can be a component of an event. In Asia, 31 percent of marketers use VR, but just 9 percent in Western Europe and 7 percent in North America do. Asia is leading the way in gamification as well with 22 percent of marketers using the popular tool, compared to under 10 percent in the other two regions.

Respondents say they’re seen nothing but positive results with experiential marketing, also dubbed immersive and sensory brand experiences. When asked what kind of experiences they’ve offered audiences, everything from live events to trade shows, exhibits, installations and “cutting-edge pop-ups” were named. Overall, they found the results included getting closer to their customers, nurturing loyalty, and the ability to stay “top of mind in purchase decisions.”

The next phase will certainly see these brands leverageing Experience Relationship Management (ERM) platforms to bring a level of data intelligence to their experiences as they seek to learn more about the ROI and effect of their marketing dollars.

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