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  • Writer's pictureBrook Jay

Are You Ready to Enter the Age of Experience? 3 Powerful Experiential Trends for 2020

These are three trends shaping the future of customer experience in 2020 you should know

In my last piece, I emphasized that one of the things I am leaving behind this new year is clients who don’t appreciate the work, time and resources it takes to deliver the level of service we provide.

And it’s only been a week, but I have to say that so far I am thrilled by the response to experiential marketing in the new year. I’ve seen many articles, thought pieces and heard from people who are recognizing the incredible role XM is going to play in marketing strategies this year.

It’s no secret that experiences are a major factor in successful marketing for 2020. And with that comes new trends, new technologies and new collaborations that make XM more exciting than ever before.

As we continue to engage with clients who are prepared for bigger and bolder creative experiential engagements, here are a few of the incoming trends that I am most excited to try.

1. AR/VR

Ad Week certainly has this one right — new and insane technologies like the advanced sensors, holographic tech and computer vision they mention are creating an incredible merging of physical and digital spaces. AR and VR have been topics for a few years now, but expect to see them in improving and innovative ways this year.

In fact, as Forbes noted, “IDC analysts predicted 65 percent of consumers will extend physical and digital experiences using voice, images, and augmented reality (AR) to interact with brands…”

And the coolest thing about AR and VR is how you can combine it with other trends to create something potentially groundbreaking…

2. Sensory-based

…Such as a complete sensory immersion. We’re seeing experiences that hit on all 5 senses become a major trend for the upcoming year, as pop-ups, food experiences and even concerts continue to expand and evolve in unexpected ways.

I expect to see a good number of these based on the Olympics as well, since cultural events like the games and elections will shape a majority of conversations consumers are having online and offline. Physical activity and fun spins on Olympic games involved all the sense will be all the rage.

Martech notes that “Multisensory experiences help brands break through the clutter and make an impact that is felt and retained at a deeper human level because it imprints on more of the brain, creating a more powerful memory.”

What’s more important in our space than that?

3. Personalization

This trend isn’t just for experiential marketing — everyone across the industry is talking about personalization and how to do it the right way. And what does that look like in experiential, when experiences are designed and strategized on a large scale? How do we create a unique experience for each consumer? That’s a question we’ll be asking ourselves a lot as we play on each of the other trends.

There’s no doubt that AR and VR will play a major role in this event-level personalization.

And in so many respects, immersive XM is inherently personal — and shared. Also don’t forget the follow-up. Experiential branding is a great end in itself but done smart also amazing recruitment for on-going data-driven personalized CRM.

And, of course, let’s not forget about authenticity. Because it’s never a good idea to try a trend just because you want to. If the shoe fits, wear it. But if the creative concept and the brand don’t go together, don’t force them to. Consumers won’t believe it, and therefore won’t buy into [or buy] it.

We’re seeing authenticity and transparency as a major trend in and of itself, as more brands are talking about sustainability and CSR.

These are just a few of the trends all of us in XM will be trying out this year, at the right times for the right clients.

But let me tell you what isn’t a fad — experiential marketing. You know why? Because we’re here to stay. 2020 is just the beginning.

Experiential marketing does more than drop a person’s name into a mass email, it actually builds relationships. Nothing is more personal than face-to-face experiences. And that’s never going to go out of style.

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