Experiential marketing is all about raising the bar. Everyone wants to host wildly successful events that “wow” attendees. Keeping your finger on the pulse of what attendees are doing, how they’re engaging, and how they’re reacting is critical to creating a successful event.

As technology evolves, so does the way consumers interact and engage with brands. Eventgoers get savvier with each gathering, so the way they engage is a constantly moving target. Event marketers who are able to adjust their strategies accordingly and implement them effectively won’t have to fear falling behind.

Making the Experience

For more than a decade, technology has been a major catalyst of change in the event space. Consumers used to sign paper release forms, but they now scribble their signatures onto tablets. What once was a standard driving simulator is now a VR experience. Even event registration and data capture have moved from standard applications to wearables that register consumers and hold their user data for any event interactions.

These new engagement trends are quite effective, but experiential marketing is an approach that is only about 60% of event creators leverage, according to an Eventbrite study. The remaining 40% are missing out on campaigns that capture audience attention while humanizing a brand or leaving lasting and positive impressions.

Here are three strategies to leverage these trends in your own marketing campaigns:

1. Identify your audience. Find out the age, social status, likes, and dislikes of your base. Will they enjoy an immersive VR experience, or will it overwhelm them? Thinking about the preferences of your audience members is the key to determining the best experiences for your event.

Each year, we produce the Lexus Performance Experience at the U.S. Open golf tournament. High-tech attractions don’t go over as well with this audience, but they enjoy physical activities like swinging a club or using a putter at golf events. Get a sense of your audience members’ interests so you can build events that engage them.

2. Figure out what you can afford. Determine how much of your budget can go toward activities and experiences. While you may have to scale back your offerings, you can still get pretty creative with a small budget.

A client of ours wanted to find an affordable way to commemorate a company milestone at one of its big trade shows. We ended up producing a simple green screen photo opp and uploaded a custom background with an outline of the client’s product and key marketing. Guests could take photos of themselves, with arms outstretched, in front of a green backdrop; we then placed their shots into the branded photo. Cost-effective solutions like this allow experiential marketers to create memorable brand experiences on their own financial terms.

3. Know where you are. Are you producing a one-off event or the first of many gatherings? What is the theme? Will you be inside or outside? Knowing your surroundings will help you tap into the right engagements.

At automotive events like the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance during Monterey Car Week, technology isn’t the driving force — the events are much more lifestyle focused. While we have rolled out various driving experiences at events like this, it doesn’t tend to be the focus. These events concentrate more on serving tasty food and drinks, providing a comfy place for people to sit, and offering a nice hospitality setting. For that crowd and location, that’s what seems to really work.

Experiential marketing can take many forms, and rapidly developing technology is creating even more options. Consumers want memorable experiences, and they’re willing to share them with their social networks. Staying up to date on the latest engagement trends ensures that you can give audiences an experience they will never forget.