2016 Predictions for Experiential Marketers


It’s that time of year for annual predictions. The bets our own chairman, Jeffrey Harrow, made at the start of 2015 paid off—and now it’s time to see what new ideas and big developments will emerge in 2016. In this post, top marketers recap their experiential marketing prediction for 2016 and we weigh in on the trend.

Use Wearables to Make Connections

Kate Heinle
of Vantage Advertising says her 2016 experiential marketing prediction is about using wearable technology. “Wireless communication is taking off as more and more companies utilize technology that allows people to share files, contacts and information just by touching devices.”

Heinle suggests companies attending trade shows incorporate wearable and touch technology devices into their booth design. “Instead of connecting with attendees on a tablet, you can share company information with just a touch of your smart device.”

For example, imagine upgrading your lead capture process. Reps equipped with wearable technology gather attendees’ contact information and streamline this important part of the event experience.

Focus on Customer Advocates

Too often marketers focus heavily on customer acquisition, according to Tim Asimos of circle S studio. His 2016 experiential marketing prediction is companies will concentrate on providing value beyond the sale to turn clients into promoters. “Referrals have long been considered one of the most valuable forms of marketing, delivering qualified leads that tend to become clients and remain loyal over a long period of time.”

Asimos says, “While loyalty programs have been a staple in the retail world for quite some time, we’re starting to see other firms leverage their own version.”

Trade shows and events are a prime place to deepen relationships with advocates. Use the face-to-face opportunity to reward and recognize your biggest fans. At your next event, extend a special invitation to evangelists to join company executives for a special networking event or Q&A session.

Video Use Will Explode

“Experiential marketing has emerged as an incredible platform for capturing content—for the rest of the marketing mix,” says Harrow.

Video content, in particular, is on the uptick. For Daniel Newman, founder at BroadSuite, video is his experiential marketing predication in 2016. “If you want to engage with millennials, video is a must-have marketing tactic; they prefer to find entertainment and education on YouTube over conventional channels like television,” says Newman.

Newman predicts, “The next year will see video continue to shine and streaming move to the forefront of marketing, with innovative new campaigns that allow consumers to be the stars.”

While the rise of Twitter-owned Periscope gives event marketers the ability to easily produce live streaming video, Harrow says look for “Live events to feed video content to social media sites, media billboards, viral videos and more.”

Snapchat Becomes a Serious Contender

Himanshu Sareen, CEO at Icreon, believes Snapchat is an important event strategy, key to his experiential marketing prediction for 2016. With presidential candidates using Snapchat to connect with voters, marketers should see the writing on the wall. “Snapchat is a platform users are flocking to, in order to digest social media in real-time.”

Just recently, Snapchat expanded its Live Stories feature. “The idea is that when multiple people upload content of the same real-life moment…users can swipe on their phone screen when watching a Live Story to see different angles of the same exact moment,” says Kurt Wagner.

While these Snapchat stories right now are centered around headline events like the American Music Awards, it’s a matter of time before user-submitted videos bring other large and small event experiences to many more viewers.

If you haven’t started with Snapchat yet, it’s time to start experimenting. Encourage event attendees to snap and share their personal event experiences.

Results and Metrics Matter

In a previous post, we mention "that opportunities to collect data are everywhere at events—pre-event emails, registration systems, interactive technologies, mobile apps and the list goes on". Thankfully new tools and technologies make mining and managing data easier than ever. According to Newman, “2016 will be a banner year for incorporating big data and perhaps more importantly, analytics into marketing decisions.”

Even more so, Newman says, “CEOs, CMOs and every other influencer in the C-suite will look to marketers for data before, during and after campaigns to validate return on their marketing investments.”

Aside from protecting your event data, develop an event measurement framework and use those metrics to build better event strategies. Lauren Malone, Strategist at Sparks, shares, “Research shows there’s a 15-20% increase in marketing return on investment for companies that put data at the center of their marketing and sales decisions. And companies that measure event performance are 41% more likely to expect increases in their marketing budget.”

Posted by Kristy Elisano | Request as a Speaker

Caffeine dependent Jersey girl. Inspired by creative risk takers and underdogs. Chief Marketing Officer, Doodle owner and lover of all things chocolate.