Brand experience is becoming increasingly vital piece to a brand’s marketing strategy. According to Zippia, there are over 27k field marketing managers in the United States alone, growing yearly.
Brand experience marketing, or experiential marketing, brings your brand to life and showcases it to your customers. Whether that’s a round of basketball in a Nike store or trying a JustEgg free sample at your local grocery store, experiences are everywhere.
And they convert — big time.
What does the data say?
Our data shows that brands that use experience and field marketing boost their conversion rate from 20% to 50%. That means after the brand experience, many see increased customer loyalty, and attendees are more likely to buy your product.
So we know it works for increased brand recognition. The big question is: what’s next?
Let’s dive into the top 10 brand experience trends of 2023.
Brand Experience Trend 10: Sustainability + Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity (DEI)
So it’s not fair to call this a trend; we prefer the term ‘evolution,’ to be honest. Sustainability and DEI are vital in 2023 and rightfully important for future brand experiences.
Number 10 is expected and needs to be proactively demonstrated at brand experience events to meet consumer demand. But what does that mean exactly, and how can you use it for customer acquisition?
Who cares the most about DEI and Sustainability?
Deloitte surveyed Gen Z in their recent buyer survey and found that overwhelmingly, 94% expect companies to take a stand on important social issues as part of their brand identity, and 90% say they are more willing to purchase products they deem beneficial to society.
As Gen Z grows in purchase power, this trend will continue to become more prevalent, regardless of your target demographic. Getting customer loyalty should be a big focus for your scaled growth and strategy.
Accessibility in the Experiential Economy
Accessibility is the ease with which many people can access your experience. That can be anything from a wheelchair ramp at the front of your building to sign language interpreters during large events. Considering all kinds of people and how to make it easy for them to participate creates an accessible event. Creating powerful brand experiences means taking extra care of every user experience.
DEI in the Experiential Economy
Wikipedia defines the practice of DEI as “Diversity, equity, and inclusion refers to organizational frameworks that seek to promote ‘the fair treatment and full participation of all people’, particularly groups ‘who have historically been underrepresented or subject to discrimination’ based on identity or disability.”
That means hiring a wide range of people from different backgrounds, from executive leadership to daily tour guides. It also means considering how you can get involved in DEI causes in your community by hiring and supporting generational wealth growth. That can look like anything from internships, scholarships, and partnering with businesses owned by historically underrepresented people.
Brand Experience Trend 9: The Recession Doesn’t Hurt Consumer Spending
We didn’t expect consumer spending to be booming despite the global market trending downwards, but here we are!
From “Revenge Tourism” to self-care, discretionary consumer spending remains resilient despite a generally negative outlook. The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index rose to 64.6 in their January survey. It’s the highest reading since January 2022, up 8.2% from December’s 59.7 indexes.
Spending is bouncing back, especially from where it was in the past few years. We want more after the Zoom-heavy digital age brand experience era.
Customer experience will be an important part of 2023.
This consumer sentiment index is crucial because it’s a reliable economic predictor to forecast the likelihood of a customer buying something within the next 12 months. So prepare for increased spending, and solidify your field marketing and cross-sell strategy accordingly.
Field activations, or a branded customer experience, where guests can become familiar with your product, will ensure that your memorable brand experiences are top of mind when purchasing. That emotional connection helps you stick more firmly in their memory and influence buying behavior.
Brand Experience Trend 8: AI & Machine Learning
Data: it’s everywhere. I know I know — hypocritical to say when we’re literally a data company. But it’s the truth!
We all collect a ton of brand experience data from a million different places, and it will only get more confusing to sort through and pull out what’s valuable. Not to mention, once you collect it all, put it in one place, and pull out the most meaningful insights, you must figure out how to use it.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning will be vital in 2023 for processing and analyzing data at scale. That’s good news for those of you collecting thousands or millions of data points from your consumers during your brand experience strategy and other brand experiences. Having an algorithm that assesses your data, measures it, and pulls out what you need to know will be a game changer moving into the year.
AI paves the way for an easier brand experience strategy
Precedence Research estimated the global AI market size at $119.78 billion in 2022, expecting it to hit $1,591.03 billion by 2030. That’s a huge jump, and it’ll impact every facet of our lives, let alone our jobs.
Brands that leverage the power of AI to more efficiently analyze all of the different data points they’re collecting for their brand experience will be able to pull out trends and optimize much faster.
With the rise of more and more AI products, brand experience management will become more automated and even easier to implement in your marketing campaigns and for your user experience.
You can even automate customer feedback using AI and email automation. For example, many of your customers use TripAdvisor to provide customer feedback on their user experience. You can set up an email to automatically go out within hours for the best chance of response.
Brand Experience Trend 7: Staffing Shortages Worsen
Staffing shortages will continue to plague the brand experience industry, as the Society for Human Resources Management learned. According to their predictions, the deficit will last years and continue impacting businesses.
Economists also agree that although the job market was at its highest in 21 years in 2022, things are slowly falling again, and economic inflation will worsen matters.
So how do you avoid staffing shortages when your strategy hinges on memorable brand experience moments and effective customer service?
Building customer loyalty with reduced staff
There will likely be a philosophical measuring shift regarding experiential offerings, breaking down the value by brand size. For larger brands, that means moving from quality to quantity, not experience but spending. Field marketers and loyalty managers should focus on increasing their average spend per visitor to compensate since it’s easier to cross-sell than upsell. That includes add-ons and more diversified brand experience investments.
Smaller brands are in a reverse shift. Dropping the number of services to focus on quality over quantity to deliver a more intimate user experience is in their best interest. Rather than rely on previous brand perception, they’re seeking to build first-time and second-time returners and transform them into brand advocates through smaller, more personalized brand experience moments.
This customer journey improvement creates a more positive brand experience and solidifies where your brand stands with consumers.
Brand Experience Trend 6: The International Traveler Makes a Comeback
From China reopening its borders to many saying they are no longer concerned about COVID, 2023 is a bounce-back year for international tourism!
The Economist agrees. They forecast that 2023 spending by international tourists will increase by the trillions, approaching (and occasionally exceeding) spending in 2019 pre-pandemic.
Those in brand experience marketing, especially in popular tourist destinations, should be ready to invest more in strategic digital interactions and seasonal advertising to drive attendance and fuel strong brand experiences.
Brand Experience Trend 5: Brand Flagships / Homes
From festival booths to sponsorships, many experiences come with an expiration date. This makes Trend #5 so interesting: 2023 is bringing permanence.
Brand Flagships and Brand Homes are two new brand experience and field marketing trends that started mainly in the distillery industry but are now expanding outward. These are permanent brand destinations where customers can go and immerse themselves in a complete and consistent brand experience. From booking software with a positive user experience to unique brand assets in the brand home itself, these create lasting customer relationships that stand the test of time.
What is a brand home, exactly?
Brand homes, sometimes called brand houses, are experiential and interpretive venues designed to connect brands and consumers to build advocacy, foster community, and grow revenue.
Think tours, tastings, and brand museums, like the Ben & Jerry’s Museum at their Vermont factory. They’re tourist attractions and great places to test new products and boost revenue through add-on purchases. As a fun bonus, they’re an easy win for flashy and exciting interactions that add a new revenue stream.
2023 will see the fast-tracking of brand experience flagships, rising above the digital clutter, and accessing consumer demand for a real-life brand experience.
Brand Experience Trend 4: Onsite Accommodations and Fine Dining
Time spent at your brand experience is vital; 2023 brings finding new reasons to extend attendee visits. When you increase the time spent, you raise guest spending.
This means two crucial new value adds: accommodating longer stays and luxury dining experiences. These might sound difficult for anyone not in a major metropolitan area, like New York or Paris, but more and more brand experts are finding new and exciting ways to bring dining and a deeper brand experience to life.
Lauren Sileo Pavat from Pernod Ricard on Onsite Dining
Add-ons and cross-selling increase revenue by around 70%, depending on your industry. Hubspot has even collected data revealing that 63% of teams they spoke to prefer bundles to cross-sell. And what makes a better bundle than dining post-tour?
These two add-ons are key elements of brand experience destinations, and we see a rise in adoption, especially for alcohol brands.
Brand Experience Trend 3: Trusted Two-Way Value
Secure, ethical, and transparent consumer data collection and two-way value exchange are imperative for brands entering 2023. In a growing age of digital privacy, many customers are rightfully hesitant to give their data to brands. Every day brings more emails into our spam inboxes, and ads are desperate to dodge pop-up blockers.
Conference Board pulled together statistics that really hit home about how prevalent the data protection trend really is. To overcome this level of mistrust, brands need to step up what they offer and how they offer it beyond personalization.
The Data Privacy Stats for Existing Customers and Beyond
- 57% of US consumers would forego marketing personalization to protect their data
- 44% of consumers globally are willing to forego customized content — like personalized messages, offers, and experiences — in exchange for not having their data collected
- 20% of global consumers report abandoning or reducing their use of a brand over its data practices
- 19% of global consumers report switching to a competitor company for better data policies
- 63% of consumers simply view brands as the biggest benefactors of the data exchange
Data is king, but not at the expense of your customer’s security and rights. That exchange is where field marketing comes into play — by offering a brand experience equal in perceived worth to your attendee’s data, you gain a brand loyalist and increase your customer’s lifetime value.
That can include a free sample of the product, a free onsite makeover, or learning how to make a new craft.
Adding value boosts trust and marks you as a differentiator from your competitors. So take advantage of the data privacy trend! Give your customers a valuable, emotionally connecting brand experience in return for what they choose to give you. And capitalize on that feeling of goodwill by keeping forms and review platforms close through well-placed QR codes and intuitive self-registration kiosks.
Add-Ons for Brand Experience Examples
It can be hard to zero in on add-ons and value add when you’re in the think of your brand experiences. But it’s undeniable that they add an extra layer of pizazz to any customer interaction and is part and parcel of a great brand experience strategy. So we pulled out our favorites we’ve seen in the field that our customers use to drive value and create a complete brand experience.
This is a chance to win a prize by entering contact information. Many brands use sweepstakes to get more personal information with their valuable brands as an incentive. The benefits of sweepstakes include increased engagement with customers, increased brand loyalty, and the ability to collect valuable data. Best practices include making the prize relevant to your target audience and making it easy to enter.
Branded merchandise such as t-shirts, hats, and other items are a great way to show off a brand’s products and create a positive user experience. The benefits of swag include increased brand awareness and loyalty, and the ability to create a tangible connection between the customer and the brand. Best practices include making the swag high-quality and relevant to your target audience.
Offering a discount on a product or service can be a powerful incentive for customers to provide their personal information and feedback. The benefits of discounts include increased sales, customer loyalty, and new customers. Best practices include making the discount compelling and easy to redeem.
Providing customers exclusive access to events or experiences can be a powerful incentive to provide personal information and feedback. The benefits of exclusive access include creating a sense of community around the brand. Best practices include making the experience relevant to your target audience and easy to access while maintaining a consistent brand voice.
Offering customers early access to a new product or service is a great way to offer sneak peeks to a few big experiences or even smaller opportunities. The benefits of early access include increased engagement with customers, increased brand loyalty, and the ability to generate buzz around the launch. Best practices include making the product or service compelling and relevant to your target audience.
Providing customers with a free product or service trial is a great way to introduce many consumer brands and create hands-on brand experiences without commitment. The benefits of free trials include improved brand visibility, the ability to convert customers into paying customers, and the chance to blow customer expectations out of the water. Best practices include making the trial easy to access and use and providing clear instructions on converting to a paid subscription.
Offering customers the opportunity to donate to a charity of their choice in exchange for their personal information and feedback can be a great incentive. The best in the business are using their positive user experiences and revenue to give back to the community. Doing good is not only great for the community, it enhances someone’s personal experience by collaborating for a good cause.
Offering customers a VIP experience, such as backstage passes or access to exclusive areas, in exchange for their personal information and feedback can be a powerful incentive to engage with a brand at festivals or events. This type of giveaway allows brands to create a sense of exclusivity and community while also providing customers with a unique and memorable experience. Best practices include making the VIP experience relevant to the festival or event and ensuring that the experience is aligned with the brand's values and target audience.
Brand Experience Trend 2: Compliant and First-Party Data Collection
According to Hubspot’s Demand Generation report, 44% of marketers say that their top priority for their strategy is better to measure the ROI of their demand generation initiatives.
With the death of cookies and the unreliability of third-party data, turning to first-party data collection will be top of mind for 2023. Field marketers have an advantage here, as often field activations and other brand experiences often collect valuable data from consumers as the brands create authentic connections.
As we pointed out in Trend 3, consumers will often be willing to share their data (including contact information, demographic factors, and even feedback on your brand) in exchange for a value add brand experience.
This self-collected attendee data is not only compliant, but it’s also marketable. These behavioral insights dive deeper than face value and hit all digital and IRL consumer touch points.
Three actionable consumer data-related KPIs for B2C field marketers:
- Marketing Opt-Ins as a percentage of total guests
- Ratio of guests who are new to the brand (acquisition) vs. existing customers (retention)
- Impact of experience or event on post-visit consumption (Return on Investment / Customer Lifetime Value)
Data can also be used to establish benchmarks using the numbers to gauge success moving forward per quarter and beyond. For example, breweries like Anchor Brewing use a booking system (guess who) to gauge their success and work on improvements moving forward.
Brand Experience Trend 1: Premiumization
“Premium” is a word that carries a lot of weight.
But for a branded customer experience, it doesn’t just mean luxury or an added cost. This trend centers on elevation, from your attention-grabbing brand experiences to pricing.
Our data shows that the average ticket price for a brand experience like tours and tastings increased by 15% between 2019 and 2022.
Putting a premium, an additional upcharge, on more personalized or private experiences will be a major selling point in 2023. It enables brands to capture more revenue, increasing the lifetime value of their loyal customers.
So how do you use premiumization in your field marketing?
- Limited edition versions of products
- Customizable products that guests can personalize, like bottle engraving or labels
- Smaller and longer groups for tours and tastings
- Bespoke experiences based on attendee-specific personalization
Brand experiences are vital for loyalty
The brand experience and experiential marketing industry has seen immense growth over the last decade, with thousands of field marketing managers across the US alone. Consumers crave a real-life brand experience from their favorite brands, and it’s a great way to boost conversion rates significantly. These strategies are becoming the backbone of customer satisfaction and the number one way to facilitate positive brand experiences.
Brand experience trends are always changing and evolving, so use these ten trends while you can: 2024 might be a whole different ballgame.
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.
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
- 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