The event and experiential category is undergoing enormous change as people's attention spans become shorter and their consumption of intense volumes of information increases.
As a result, events are consumed in a wide variety of ways across multiple channels and during lengthy timeframes — as a live experience, a social connection or online at a later date. Over the next few years, “layers” — events within events — will become the gold standard.
“Think of the first layer being digital only, the second being the event itself and the third being all the custom content that comes afterward,” says Donnalyn Smith, executive vice president, regional director, North America, for Momentum Worldwide. “The third layer will include real-time tracking, as well as the ability to engage people in commerce and content capture.”
This collision between the digital and physical worlds has greatly increased the reach of events and experiences, a phenomenon Momentum calls “phygital.” As an example, last year, Momentum client American Express' intimate “Unstaged” concert series reached about 1,000 people at each event. This year, the series, which was filmed and uploaded to YouTube, has collectively drawn 44 million views.
But perhaps the most pivotal change in event marketing is the opportunity to enhance consumer behavior, fueled by technology solutions like iPad tablets and smartphones, and the ability to share experiences in real time. American Express made it all happen at this year's U.S. Open by sponsoring “course curators” — kiosks distributed around the course that, when swiped by card-members' lanyards, customized their experiences with details about the event like what golfer is teeing off at which hole and where the concession stands are. The data captured helped American Express craft future messaging.
“Social media has changed consumers' expectations,” Smith says. Consumers don't' see the value of an experience unless other people see them experiencing it. That will be driving the industry as a whole as we move forward.”