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Chris Sutcliffe
Editor at The Drum Network
Julie Cohen
Chief Executive Officer at Across The Pond
Bridey Lipscombe
Managing Director and Co-founder at Cult LDN

Are events the most valuable and engaging method of marketing today?

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

Marketing may be all about communication and connection, but there will never be a replacement for face-to-face interactions. Not surprisingly, in our study, The State of the Experience Industry: The Changing Face of Events, we found that experiences account for a reported 70% of regular customer acquisition.

Marble LDN release report assessing the role of experiential marketing today.

Although social media, paid digital advertising and physical marketing nurtures, leads and builds brand awareness, live events provide a valuable opportunity for forming in-person connections.

Experiences allow companies to integrate many forms of marketing — for instance, combining the benefits of technology like AR and VR — to leave a memorable impression on the attendee. In response to this shift, experts predict that by 2020, the consumer experience will overtake price and product as key brand indicators.

As the future of the experience industry evolves, specificity is key no matter the scale and budget. Companies need to be agile and inventive in tailoring each experience to their target consumer. To support this point, we asked our respondents where they saw the experience industry going in the coming years and 26% revealed that they thought brands would be using more unique and unusual event design and/or venues, while 27% believed that brands would be personalising event content based on collected attendee data.

We believe experiences are best created when the consumer’s relationship to the company is kept in mind. Experiences are so much more than just events; they can the consumer's life.

Marble LDN’s CEO Teddy Watt and COO Emily-Rose Perez-Fragero both think that in future, experiences will undergo a shift in focus towards more green and sustainable experiences that are driven by smarter tech and management systems, keeping track of the attendee's data. The term ‘event’ is no longer enough to describe what Marble LDN does.

Watt said: “We work over a broad spectrum of live initiatives and everything we work on is about driving a customer's experience, whether that be a festival or an activation. The word ‘event’ doesn't reveal what we do."

So, what is it about live experiences that makes them so worthwhile? Not only do they present new opportunities to showcase your brand, but they create a space where marketers can get to know clients on a first name basis. Face-to-face social activity plays a pivotal role in nurturing leads and building brand awareness that can’t be achieved through digital marketing alone. Clients leave events with a clearer understanding of the brand, and marketers gain a better understanding of their client. Combined with collaboration across industries, such as marketing and communications teams, experience delivers a broader marketing strategy. Live events can work as more well-rounded campaigns as they leave no stone unturned.

Ultimately, the key difference between an event and an experience is the sense of community that the attendee takes home after an experience. Consumers want to feel connected to a product and experiences allow brands to showcase their human side, so it’s no wonder that 63% of marketers plan on increasing the number of live events they organise, according to the report. While 90% of marketers see live events as an essential part of their marketing strategy.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can create an experience with our holistic approach, download our The State of the Experience Industry: The Changing Face of Events report.

Rachel Butler, senior marketing manager at Marble LDN.

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