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Event and Experiential Marketing


 What are current trends and best practices for event marketing?

"Next-gen" events can drive depth and breadth of customer engagement that lead to better brand awareness, lead generation, retention, and loyalty. However, with the hybridization of events, inflation and budgets tightening for companies and individuals alike, an ongoing concern marketers face revolve around event and activation strategies, which can also be something of a moving target.

It comes without surprise that despite living in an increasingly digital world, with virtual events now part of the norm, many people still value physical events as a way to connect with each other as well as brands, according to Inspira based on Forrester research. Instead of forgoing one for the other, marketers should embrace a varied and holistic approach to events that meet the needs of various audiences. 

For instance, Cvent stressed the importance for teams to make sure brand events are inclusive, whether finding accessible venues to accomodate visitors in wheelchairs, establishing places for service animals at activations, designating wellness spaces, as well as providing audio-visual assistance from stage lighting to sets.

In addition, leading with purpose and personalization can help marketers plan events that provide value and meaning for attendees. Following up after the event with supplemental information, videos, and other offerings can boost engagement as Cvent reported that "post-event viewing of event content can extend engagement by 20 percent or more."

Moreover, a more localized approach can aid this strategy, and provide a way to speak authentically and effectively to different groups, as well as create more intimate and accessible settings. Bigger isn't always better. For instance, Apple does this on a micro-level experientially as it focuses on building community within its physical stores; Ray Sheehan, founder of Old City Media, wrote in an ANA blog post, "Apple Store experience offers customers an immersive encounter, allowing them to interact with products, attend workshops, and receive personalized assistance. This approach has not only led to increased sales, but also cultivated a fiercely loyal customer base." Intentionality matters, and makes a notable difference with success.

Matthew McCarthy-Clark, marketing manager at SHRM, explained at an ANA event to lead with purpose, and how it's made a difference for SHRM events, stating, "We are more thoughtful about purpose and audience."

Below are resources on event strategies that provide a general sense and flavor of event strategies and trends today and tomorrow.

Trends and Best Practices

  • Unlocking the Power of Events. ClickZ, April 2024.
    In the world of marketing, events still emerge as a cornerstone for brand engagement and customer interaction. Event marketing encompasses a spectrum of activities aimed at promoting and elevating the profile of an event. This could range from a local workshop to an international conference, each requiring a tailored approach to reach its intended audience effectively. The essence of event marketing lies in its ability to create immersive experiences, whether in-person, virtual, or hybrid, that resonate with participants and forge lasting connections. With a significant portion of marketing budgets being allocated to events, the importance of a well-crafted event marketing strategy cannot be overstated. It is a multifaceted process that begins with a deep understanding of the event's purpose and unfolds into a comprehensive plan that covers promotion, audience engagement, and ultimately, the successful execution of the event itself.

  • The Event Trends That Matter Most and How to Meaningfully Deploy Them. Cramer/Event Marketer, January 2024.
    Business events are poised for transformation as content is revolutionized, sustainability takes center stage, artificial intelligence cracks open efficiencies and traditional formats are deconstructed. This guide explores what's changing in culture and in the event industry, and how B2B marketers are giving even the flashiest of consumer events a run for their money.

  • An Outlook on Events: The Biggest Challenges, Top Trends, and Power of Event-Led Growth. Splash, 2024.
    To understand the state of events in 2024, Splash surveyed marketers in the United States and United Kingdom who are involved in their company's global events programs. We found that across both regions, a single event marketer planned an average of 14 events in 2023 — that's about one event every four weeks. Sample finding from Splash's survey:

  • The Ultimate Guide to In-Person Events. Cvent, September 2023.
    Whether you're planning a small face-to-face onsite, a large-scale conference, or anything in between, this guide has everything you need to create a successful and memorable in-person event that delivers results. Filled with practical tips and insights that will help you plan, organize, and execute successful in-person events, this eBook will help you achieve your event goals and exceed your attendees' expectations. It includes:
    • Tips for choosing the right venue for your event
    • Strategies for promoting your event and driving attendance
    • Best practices for creating memorable onsite experiences
    • How to ensure accessibility at your event
    • How to measure the success of your event
  • The Power of Brand Experiences at Festivals. ANA, March 2024.
    After years of leaning into performance marketing, the landscape is once again shifting to in-person experiences. According to 2023 Forrester research, more than three-quarters of marketing executives are returning to experiential marketing to educate, engage, and build trust with consumers. Music festivals, such as Coachella and Lollapalooza, and food experiences, like the New York City Wine & Food Festival, are a natural fit for brands and prime opportunities to build brand love. This article looks at how consumers feel about events and the impact that participation has on brands.

  • Experiential Marketing 101: Basic Best Practices. ANA, January 2024.
    ANA's on-demand training course "Brand Activations That Drive Results" offers six best practices for conducting experiential events:
    • Have a clear purpose: Think about what customers need and develop the activation with that in mind.
    • Immerse customers in the brand: Go beyond 2-D and engage attendees' sense of touch, etc.
    • Bake in PR: Involve public relations in the early stages of activation's development to give them the runway and the opportunity to offer input necessary to create buzz-generating PR.
    • Consider integrating with existing events: Doing so can provide an opportunity to test ideas that can be scaled later.
    • Ensure digital scalability: Use hashtags and make selfie spots and filters available to guests to promote sharing on social media.
    • Innovate: The experiential space is a crowded one, so you'll have to think creatively to stand out.
  • Using Experiential Marketing to Build Customer Loyalty. ANA, October 2023.
    In an era of ever-evolving consumer preferences and relentless competition, businesses find themselves in a perpetual quest for strategies that not only attract customers, but also keep them coming back for more. The traditional methods of advertising and marketing — while undeniably effective in their own right — are often fleeting in their impact, fading into the background noise of our daily lives.

    Experiential marketing, also known as engagement marketing, emerges as a formidable strategy amidst the incessant deluge of traditional advertising. It transcends the ephemeral and transient nature of conventional approaches, aspiring to carve a lasting niche in the memories of its audience. Experiential marketing revolves around the creation of memorable and immersive experiences for customers, signifying a departure from traditional advertising by prioritizing direct engagement, emotional connections, and active participation.


  • The Weather Company Makes a Splash at Cannes Lions. ANA, June 2024.
    The Weather Company's "Weather Gallery" at Cannes Lions created a multi-sensory journey through history, showcasing weather's influence on pivotal moments and current business impacts. Using AI-generated artwork and interactive displays, the gallery captivated senior business leaders, the press, and agency executives, highlighting the importance of a weather strategy in an ever-changing climate. The campaign surpassed engagement goals, significantly increasing awareness of The Weather Company's B2B offerings and reinforcing its position as a thought leader in weather-driven insights.

  • T-Mobile Celebrates 5G Trailblazers. ANA, June 2024.
    T-Mobile for Business aimed to differentiate its brand in the competitive telecom market by launching the Unconventional Awards, an initiative celebrating innovative applications of its 5G technology. By showcasing pioneering achievements in customer experience, employee empowerment, industry innovation, and community impact, T-Mobile positioned itself as a leader in network innovation. The campaign effectively engaged industry leaders and potential customers through a comprehensive nomination process, dynamic event features, and extensive promotional efforts. This resulted in a significant increase in attendance, entries, and overall reach, solidifying T-Mobile for Business's reputation as a trusted partner in digital transformation and fostering a community of forward-thinking business leaders.

  • Four Campaigns That Leverage Experiential Marketing. ANA, May 2024.
    In today's world, endless scrolling not only saps attention, but also clutters the marketplace with information and products. For a brand, this situation can be a challenge when trying to differentiate in a crowded forum. Crafting experiences that bring people together and inspire fun, however, can be a game-changer. What better way for a brand to build community and create fond memories? This article looks at campaigns that surprised and delighted consumers through experiential marketing.

  • Mixing Style: KitchenAid's Fashion Week Debut. ANA, May 2024.
    To launch the 2023 Color of the Year, KitchenAid transformed a 100-year-old icon into a 12-piece couture collection and launched it at New York Fashion Week. The brand proved that while other appliances must use design trends to influence their products, only KitchenAid products could influence design trends.

  • HP Leveraged Experiential Marketing to Engage with Gen Z. ANA, April 2024.
    In its first live event since the pandemic, OMEN by HP wanted to make a triumphant return by breaking through the noise and creating a major splash in the anime world. HP's biggest challenge was building brand awareness among fans of anime and cosplay.

  • Coke's AI Gives Festivalgoers Their Own Customized Music Videos. ANA, April 2024.
    To place its brand at the heart of music culture internationally and throughout the music festival season, Coca-Cola wanted to create a traveling activation platform that could be reactivated over and over and that could leverage AI to create a dynamic experience and scalable content for every participant who visited.

    The experience was conceived of and designed to target a young demographic of festival attendees who were fanatics for music and who loved nothing more than to capture themselves enjoying festivals and to share the content for clout on social media. The experience was designed to allow groups of one to four participants at a time and was a unique experience every time with infinite generative permutations, which led to frequent repeat guests.


  • Event Marketing Plan Playbook. ANA/Demand Metric, March 2024.
    Use this step-by-step playbook and set of 21 premium tools and templates to create a comprehensive event marketing plan.


  • Sponsorship & Event Marketing Committee. ANA.
    The Sponsorship and Experiential Marketing Committee is for members who are responsible for their organization's sponsorships, corporate partnerships, and experiential marketing initiatives. Members of this committee benefit from a forum where marketers share case studies, best practices, and network, ultimately elevating each other's expertise while helping to effectively support their organization's overall marketing efforts.

The Marketing Knowledge Center actively connects ANA members to the resources they need to be successful. You can visit the ANA website to engage with the MKC in three ways.

  • Explore content to access best practices, case studies, and marketing tools. Our proprietary content includes Event Recaps, which share actionable insights from conference and committee presentations.
  • Connect with our Ask Research Service in real time for customized answers to your specific marketing challenges.
  • Stay on top of trends with Marketing Futures Pulse issues, which explore how new technologies and innovations will affect marketers and consumers alike.

Submit a request to Ask Research Service here.


"Event and Experiential Marketing." ANA, 2024.