Experiential Marketing Myth-Busting

The phrase "experiential marketing" has been buzzing for years with many brands and agencies talking about it, yet few doing anything with it, and when planning live, event-focused marketing, this can be a very dangerous proposition not only to brand attitudes, but to the ROMI.

It's easy to look at tentpole headline-grabbing events such as CES, Mobile World Congress and Comic-Con, but the truth is, most industry events do not experience that same kind of attention and publicity. So, marketing managers are faced with the risk of spending a lot of money without the guarantee of returns.

The goal of this article is to dispel myths around event marketing:

Myth 1: Events are just fun, they don't generate sales

Fact: In an article published by Statista it found that 79% of U.S. marketers generate sales using event marketing. This is substantial, eight out of ten brands will see conversions. Along with that the brand will also generate awareness which will add to top funnel metrics.

Myth 2: Brand opinion won't change, it's a "sea of sameness"

Fact: It turns out that 74% of event attendees have a more positive view of the brand based on research conducted by Event Marketer. Increasing a brand's perception by nearly eight out of ten attendees is a powerful statistic, especially if a brand has a strong event portfolio strategy in place (which is the subject of a forthcoming article).

Myth 3: No brand marketers really believe events are worth it

Fact: Whereas it may be true that senior marketing managers with control over the pursestrings might balk at investing in event marketing (which this article seeks to dispel), 80% of marketers believe that event marketing is critical to their business. This finding by event software company Bizzabo shows the internal split between investment by management and demand from marketing managers.

Myth 4: There is basically no digital media earned

Fact: Again, it seems as that may be true, it turns out not to be. Industry publication Event Marketer found that 72% of customers were influenced by their connections' branded experiences on social media drove them to purchase. This is also in addition to the fact that Event Marketer also reported that 98% of consumers create or share their social profiles at events and experiences, and 100% use them to share their experiences.

It is clear that there is inherent benefit to brands' top- and bottom-lines by having a presence at events. it is important to note, however, that just showing up to events and trade shows is no where near enough to meet these statistics. It is a well-crafted formula that leverages:

  • Business goal(s) the experience is meant to impact (this should always be first)

  • The event portfolio that your brand crafts

  • A set of strong insights to help develop the experience

  • The creative execution of the experience

  • Leveraging both physical and digital mediums to optimal effect

  • Developing a strong media plan that operates pre, during and post the experience(s)