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Experiential Marketing Summit - AGAR

5 Brand Takeaways from the 2024 Experiential Marketing Summit

Last month, AGAR got inspired and took the stage at the Experiential Marketing Summit. We joined leading brands in Vegas to discuss the ever-changing industry and what it means to create something that’s truly experiential in 2024 and beyond. Our team is sharing five quick takeaways from this year’s conference that brands should be aware of when planning their next experiential activation.

1. The new hyperlocal is going micro.

While the idea of localization is nothing new, we’re starting to see a shift in execution. Historically, localization has referred to bringing local elements into your environment, space, or event (curating local products, showcasing local landmarks with design, etc.), but in 2024 that’s no longer enough. Successful brands are now taking their services and products on the road, connecting face-to-face with local consumers, at local events. Increasing personal connections and more importantly, a lower price of entry and less brand competition. It’s no longer about competing with brands at the macro events, it’s time to consider the micro: the local farmers markets, the city festivals, and the relevant community events that breed loyal brand fans and make a meaningful impact on a smaller scale.

2. What’s driving Gen Z?

Alex Sapiz, Senior Vice President, Corporate Marketing at Cisco summed it up best when she said, “For Gen Z, novelty is the new loyalty.” Younger consumers are constantly craving new experiences to cultivate their individuality. They are motivated to spend their money on new products, flavors, collaborations – and even events. According to a recent study by ICC, almost two-thirds (65%) of Gen Z event-goers said ‘novelty’ was the most important part of their event experience. This need for new is maybe not surprising considering Gen Z spends more time on their mobile devices than any other generation, increasing the expectation to always be served up fresh news, content, and products in real-time. Brands need to employ a data-driven approach to meet Gen Z consumers where they are with unique, on-trend products and experiences.

3. Content should never be more than a tap away.

We are quickly approaching the day when scanning a QR Code is asking too much of a consumer. More and more vendors like Tap2Interact are leveraging Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to share content with the tap of a phone, no camera focus needed. From product information and education to videos and exclusive entertainment, the possibilities are endless. While this technology has been around, mainly utilized in mobile payments, the cost today makes the solution much more accessible. Brands should consider the possibilities, both during and after consumer events. This technology could be used in real-time for event access and mapping, product information within retail environments, or promotional opportunities. But brands could also leverage the tech post-event, sharing follow-up information like guest surveys, relevant future events, or loyalty access. NFC provides endless opportunities to create a more seamless user experience.

4. Measuring event success is getting emotional.

Brands are looking at new ways to measure event success. With restrictions on personal data, new KPIs are being defined. While event measurement is still in its infancy and typically looked at through media impressions, number of attendees, or samples distributed, new technology is allowing us to look at the emotional side as well. Companies are rolling out new concepts that leverage facial recognition to track this type of guest sentiment – software that can detect smiles, laughs – and in turn, seemingly recognize and measure happiness. While this technology is still new and presents some obvious privacy concerns, digital tools will continue to evolve to allow brands and event organizers to track mood, emotion, and expressions to better inform attendee sentiment, and ultimately even event success.

5. The importance of event equity.

On Day 3 of the conference, AGAR’s own Corey Hawthorne joined P&G’s Andrea Wilkerson on stage to discuss our successful activation of the Cincinnati Music Festival. Andrea said it best when she said, “Multicultural marketing is marketing.” In today’s world, you cannot separate one thing from the other, your audience is more diverse than it’s ever been, and experiences and destinations need to reflect that. The goal of any event should be to make sure guests, fans, or attendees feel like they’ve received equitable value from the experience. Consider not just your primary audience but those that they bring with them. Are all the elements within an experience: sights, sounds, access, or opportunities to engage, supportive of those in attendance? These lessons go beyond events though, developers, architects, and retailers should consider their environments and whether or not the space supports the experiences that are happening within their walls.