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November 21, 2023

The 5 Brand Activation Trends of 2023

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2023 has seen some major industry shifts for brand and growth marketers worldwide. As event marketing becomes an increasingly popular and important tool for building brand awareness, loyalty, revenue, and more, what works and why needs to be clarified.

That’s why we’re sitting down to share our behind-the-scenes data, incredible insights, and trends with the rest of our experiential community. 

So sit back, relax, and enjoy the trends we’ve pulled for you based on data analyzed from over 200k data points from consumers and their behavior in our system. 

And remember, you can take a look at our own trend-finding Pinpoint below!

1. Events and experiences drive greater improvements among men, but women are more likely to purchase post-event

Our data revealed an exciting divide along gender lines! Although for many parts of experiences, men and women were on par in most areas, we found a trend that had to be shared with you. 

Men had a higher increase in net promoter score from initial capture to post-event ratings, often starting lower than women but with a more dramatic increase. In fact, on average, men ranked a brand 35% higher post-event, while women ranked it only 27% higher

This trend shows that brand activations and events have a more pronounced impact on men’s brand perception than women’s, although both are positively affected.

Meanwhile, while women’s brand perception isn’t as affected, 69% of women surveyed go on to buy/intend to buy the brand’s product post-event. On the flip side, 67% of men surveyed self-report their intention to buy. While both are high, women are still slightly more likely to buy.

2. 21-30-year-olds are the most likely to attend an experience, no matter where it is, but they’re less likely to buy. 

Brand marketers know that the 21-30-year-old demographic is a huge target, and they’re not wrong. 21-30-year-olds make up the bulk of event attendees and are the most likely to travel short distances (under 100 miles) and the second most likely to travel 400+ miles for an experience (after 31-40-year-olds). 

However, we see a trend in the brand activation and event industry: they are one of the lower self-reported brand conversion rates at 61%, saying they are more likely to buy from a brand post-event. This is far below 31-40 year olds, where 81% self-report intention to purchase. 

We can chalk that lower brand conversion rate to an economy of experience vs. things for the 21-30-year-old mentality. Our data shows that when you consider the 21-30-year-old intent to purchase alcohol at brand homes, their conversion rate jumps to the more standard 86%. This is a clear indicator into values, where the experience and social community that comes with drinking, new experiences, and brand homes are more compelling to 21-30-year-olds than purchasing products.

3. Retail activations and events have the highest marketing opt-in rates.

Retail activations and events sport the highest marketing opt-in rates at 61%, well above the overall event average 35% rate. There are a few reasons for this: 

  1. Retail offers a clear value exchange in exchange for marketing opt-ins, aka discounts in stores. 
  2. Retail in-store events encourage brand conversion, meaning consumers can make more impulsive purchases and sign up for loyalty programs from which they can immediately benefit. That kind of value exchange goes a long way for many consumers.
61% Marketing Opt-In Rates in Retail Events

4. Most brand events and activations happen in the summer.

The numbers firmly back up the theory of seasonality, with a slow increase in events and attendance beginning in April, peaking in mid-August, and steeply dropping in September. 

Outdoor events are easier for brands to launch and often less expensive since they don’t need to consider renting a building. This is also when most festivals and other large tourism events happen, meaning activations can find bigger sponsorships that guarantee more consumer attention.

5. Consumers who already have a relationship with a brand have more resonance with their activations and events. 

This one surprised even us! Consumers that brands already have a relationship with have a more dramatic change in brand perception than attendees who don’t. 

On average, their net promoter score starts higher than those without a prior connection at 79 vs 70 and below. They come in with a positive perception already, and post-event, they see a 15% increase overall — 5% higher than even those who agree to marketing opt-ins for the first time! Those who encounter a brand for the first time start at an average of 70 NPS, boosting to 77. Their second time joining a brand experience, they jump all the way to 91!

Let’s dig into why. Because these consumers already have a pre-existing relationship with the brand, they’re in the perfect position to have their expectations blown away. They feel more positively connected to the brand in person, and the brand is more able to personalize the experience based on their existing consumer information. 

Use These Trends

2024 planning has only just begun — these trends will be vital for making sure your events and activations are targeted for the highest return on investment, no matter what you decide your ROI metric is. 

Use these data trends to better amplify your strategy! For example: 

  • If your brand sells a product targeted towards women, you should use your activation to promote or sample the product since they’re more likely to buy it.
  • If you’re targeting 21-30 year olds, don’t be afraid to market farther afield, since they’re more likely to travel. 
  • If you’re in retail, asking for marketing opt-ins and focusing on growing your database will be more effective.
  • If you’re doing outdoor activations, load it up for the summer for more popular events!
  • Don’t forget to continue inviting new consumers to your events! Use your events to create a cycle, bringing on new supporters, then increasing their brand perception with events and activations through their year. 

No matter how you use this data, remember to check your own and compile your best metrics to enter the new year swinging. 

Step 1: Evaluate Your Scheduling Software Needs

Before researching online booking systems, evaluating your business needs is essential. After all, you don’t want to overspend on bells and whistles when you only need an online form. For newer events looking to scale, a more sophisticated system might be the goal but not the starting point.

Consider the type and size of your business, the nature of your services, and the volume of transactions you handle. For instance, if you run tours and tastings, you should look at solutions meant for high-volume enterprises that can include add-on shirts, beer steins, and more.

Scheduling Software Flowchart

We made a helpful flowchart to help you decide if you’re ready to invest fully in online bookings or look into a free scheduling app, like Google Forms, as a better starting point.

As someone trying to make smart investment decisions, you don’t want to buy a booking and ticketing solution that doesn’t meet your needs. Use our guided questions to determine where you are in your investment journey.

Booking System flowchart
Use the flow to gauge where you are on your journey!

2. Compare Booking Page Features and Pricing

Booking Page Features

Once you have a clear idea of your business needs, you can compare online booking systems that meet your criteria. Have a list of your most essential needs and what would be nice for you to have. Some features you should consider including on your list include:

  • Website integration
  • Branded booking page
  • Configurability to match your brand
  • Payment processing and add-on sales
  • Automated reminders
  • Automatic data analysis
  • Feedback collection and analysis
  1. Website integration
  2. Branded booking page
  3. Configurability to match your brand
  4. Payment processing and add-on sales
  5. Automated reminders
  6. Automatic data analysis
  7. Feedback collection and analysis






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