When marketing budgets are tight and it’s time for a business to decide where and how to spend its marketing dollars, the decision can be a hard one. What will attract the attention of prospective customers? What will “move the needle” the most? What will bring the most conversions or the best ROI?
These decisions are generally made on the basis of past performance like website visits, email open/click rates, or event attendance. Too often, marketers don’t have access to direct feedback from the prospective customers themselves about what they prefer, particularly when it comes to experiential and live event marketing.
So what do consumers think?
Each year, Event Marketer releases its EventTrack Study, a survey-based research report that provides valuable insights about live event and experiential marketing activity in the U.S and Canada over the past year. Their seventh annual report actually contained two studies–one surveying marketers and the other surveying consumers.
As a result, now we know what consumers think. Below are the top five most valuable insights gained from this report about consumer attitudes and behaviors when it comes to experiential and live event marketing.
1) Positive Feelings
According to the EventTrack study, 91% of consumers surveyed have “more positive feelings” about a brand after attending a company’s live event or experience.
For anybody who’s either hosted or attended a live marketing event, this isn’t hard to believe. The very act of being immersed in a brand- or product-driven experience and interacting with other people and having fun is bound to create such positivity. The same likely can’t be said of reading an email. And while visiting a website, watching a video, or attending a webinar might engender positive feelings, it’s hard to imagine it would match that of a live experience.
2) More Likely to Purchase
While positive feelings are certainly something any marketer hopes for when trying to nurture brand recognition, such feelings are ultimately intangible and unquantifiable. For a business trying to sell products or services, it’s only a step in the right direction.
Fortunately for marketers, the study also revealed that 85% of consumers “are likely to purchase” after participating in live events and experiences. This is where otherwise intangible positive feelings start to yield results. By enabling a brand to create a personal connection with consumers, experiential and live event marketing can truly move the needle by converting prospects and creating sales.
3) One of the Best Advertising Channels
Positive feelings aside, experiential marketing done right can serve an important educational function as well, giving marketers the ability to immerse consumers in a live event focused on the features and benefits of a particular product.
In fact, when asked to rate the best advertising methods when it comes to helping them understand the benefits of a product, 41% of consumers said it was live events and experiences. This was second only to websites (at 46%) and well above physical retail stores (29%), online advertising (26%), or social media ads (26%).
This is no doubt sobering insight for the many businesses who have gone the path of devoting the majority of their marketing budgets to online ads and social media, rather than exploring more dynamic options like live events.
4) Samples & Demos Work
The EventTrack survey digs even deeper into the psychology of consumers by asking them what exactly it is about live events that convinces them to buy. Again, it can’t all be positive feelings. And as it turns out, it’s not all education either.
When asked what most influences the decision to purchase when attending live events and experiences, nearly half (47%) of consumers said the primary purchase decision factor is sampling, using, or seeing a demonstration of a product. Trailing behind at 16% is having a better understanding of the product, with discount coupons bringing up the rear at only 11%.
This isn’t surprising, of course. After all, the ability to provide live samples and demos is the key differentiator between live events and nearly every other marketing effort out there. Imagine trying to duplicate the experience of a wine tasting on a billboard, in an email, on a website, or in a video or webinar.
5) Consumers Know What They Want
Last but not least, perhaps the most intriguing part of the survey was the open-ended portion that asked consumers to discuss memorable live events or experiences they had attended in the past and to describe what exactly it was that made them so memorable.
Out of these responses came a list of ten common themes and recommendations that marketers would do well to pay attention to when planning their next live event:
- Make the experience welcoming.
- Know the audience.
- Provide interactive games or competitions.
- Inform and educate.
- Show how the product works.
- Provide samples.
- Staff events and experiences with knowledgeable brand ambassadors.
- Provide a sense of discovery.
- Offer an emotional tie.
- Be entertaining.
What Is Your Business Waiting For?
Armed with the insights found in the EventTrack study, we’ve learned from the consumers themselves that live event marketing instills positive feelings about a brand, makes consumers more likely to purchase products, even more likely when samples and demos are offered, and is one of the best advertising channels out there.
Are you ready to learn more about how experiential and live event marketing can take your marketing to the next level with unprecedented ROI and one of a kind experiences for your current or prospective customers?