Technology is moving forward at a breakneck pace in today’s world. New tools and innovations are emerging daily. It can be incredibly overwhelming to marketers who are trying to provide the most up-to-date experiences for their audience, but it doesn’t have to be.
After looking at the rising trends across the digital landscape, it’s clear there are three major concepts that should be your focus. Let’s look at these concepts in detail and how they are informing the future of marketing.
The fusion of experiential and digital marketing
Experiential marketing has been around since the dawn of advertising, but it’s recently been thrown back into the limelight, as companies are seeing the power it holds when combined with digital marketing efforts. At its core, experiential marketing appeals to the five senses by providing an experience involving the brand.
Here are some great examples of experiential marketing:
The Simpsons Movie
This is an oldie, but a goodie. As a Simpsons fan, I was floored when 20th Century Fox partnered with 7-Eleven to turn several of their locations into Kwik-E-Marts from the Simpsons TV show. They went all out and turned the exterior and interior into a snapshot of the show.
The effort included products from the show to create an engaging brand experience and a great promotion for the upcoming movie.
To announce the opening of a new studio in Belgium, TNT put together a flashy and intense marketing stunt within a small town square. You can see the full video of the event online, which has earned over 50 million views.
Imagine how many of those people decided to tune in to the network after seeing this in person or online. That’s the power of experiential marketing.
Of course, that kind of budget isn’t realistic for a small business, but that doesn’t mean this type of marketing is reserved only for the big corporations. By combining these tactics with digital marketing, a business of any size can achieve this type of brand engagement.
Consider these ways you can start combining your digital and experiential marketing efforts:
- If you host a live event, promote it on social media before, during, and after. This creates more engagement at the actual event, but it also brings in members of your audience who weren’t there in person.
- Utilize live streaming tools like Facebook Live to create a digital avenue for online members of your audience to be included in your experiential marketing.
- Monitor your experiential efforts in real-time and use this data to improve future campaigns.
- Encourage feedback on social media and upload any relevant video to your YouTube channel to continue engaging your audience after the event is over.
As time goes on, the digital and physical sides of experiential marketing will continue to blur, so it’s important to look for ways to bridge the gap and maximize the power of your campaigns.
The rise of brand storytelling
In the past, brands would simply include a logo and create branded content to promote their business. In some cases, the content isn’t even created by them and doesn’t further the brand’s story. The reality in today’s world is that branded content is dead. Instead, brands that want to thrive and grow must tell their story and incorporate that approach into everything they do online.
As part of this new approach, just about every business is making a blog to tell their story. This creates a platform for them to start producing content that provides value to their readers, while also promoting their unique story and the motivations behind their brand.
Here are some of the major benefits your brand can take advantage of when you start telling a story in your marketing:
- An opportunity to showcase your brand’s unique personality and differentiate yourself from the competition.
- The ability to place your brand into familiar roles to which your audience can relate. For example, the journeys they can take if you’re an automobile manufacturer selling cars.
- Stories provide a platform for you to convey stale topics like statistics in a compelling way that appeals to your readers.
- Your stories will create an emotional connection with your audience, which is what drives them to make purchasing decisions.
These are great benefits, but how does a brand tell their story? Where can marketers incorporate storytelling in terms of marketing efforts? Here are some options:
In today’s world, engaging online users is far easier said than done. That’s why it’s important for brands to get creative with their storytelling. An excellent example was the choose-your-own-adventure campaign by Phillips called “Designed to Play.”
The concept was a marketing campaign that would get young men interested in electrical grooming.They created an interactive campaign that allowed online users to choose how to continue the story. This particular example combines both experiential marketing and digital marketing with storytelling to a spectacular effect. Engagement was huge in this campaign and purchasing consideration went up across the board.
The takeaway here is that brands should find ways to tell a story that incorporates their audience and their product — thereby showcasing how it benefits and enriches their lives.
Sometimes it’s not about telling your story via a product campaign. Sometimes, the focus should be solely on your brand and your message. This is where a marketing campaign like Chipotle’s “The Scarecrow” represents a perfect example. This short animated film encompasses the very ethics behind the Chipotle brand. It’s not meant to promote a specific product or item on their menu. Instead, it illustrates their approach to responsible sourcing and all-natural ingredients.
This video, combined with their new smartphone app, has helped existing and new customers understanding the true thinking behind the brand. It engenders loyalty and an emotional connection with the brand.
One of the major benefits of brand storytelling is showcasing the human side of your business. Ultimately, there’s an entire team of people working behind the logo you’ve designed for your brand.
Social media is the perfect platform to share these bite-sized elements of your brand’s story. You can promote blog posts where you showcase behind-the-scenes elements of your business, or you can post short video clips showing your business at work. The possibilities are almost endless and completely up to you.
Wearable tech, which falls into several categories, made its way into the spotlight when Facebook purchased Oculus Rift for $2 billion in 2014. This kind of investment into the virtual reality scene showed a major shift in the way this technology could be used.
Whether it’s virtual or augmented reality, it’s clear this tech goes far beyond the confines of the gaming world. It’s already being used in classroom settings and marketers are seeking out new ways to incorporate it into their efforts as well.
Of course, wearable tech goes beyond wearing headsets. There are now types of clothing that can monitor your health and vitals. In Germany, wearable tech has been used to train football players.
The most obvious marketing use for wearable tech is an enhanced experiential campaign. Here are some exciting ways marketers can start using wearable tech like Google Glass and other devices in their campaigns:
- Create personalized overlays in place of static banners.
- Incorporate push notifications based on location and timing.
- Obtain real-time data through facial recognition and retina reading.
- Gather “deep data” to create customizable and personalized experiences beyond anything we’ve seen thus far in marketing.
Wearable tech of all kinds will become commonplace by 2020, at which point the typical U.S. consumer will have up to eight pieces of this technology. It can be used to better engage millennials, while also providing a new level of engagement and data tracking.
Technology is drastically changing the marketing landscape. By staying ahead of the curve and preparing for these upcoming and evolving concepts, marketers can realize their potential for business.
Matt Banner is the head honcho of On Blast Blog, which puts proven and practical strategies to the test to help clients’ blogs blast off. He has helped nearly 10,000 people start blogs and has consulted for Fortune 500 companies.