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April 17, 2006

Let's get engaged

Three-quarters of US consumers believe exposure to a live marketing experience, such as a well-designed and branded exhibition stand or a tailored event demonstrating a particular product or service, makes them more receptive to the message being delivered. This are the findings of research carried out by the Proficiency Group.

The study, which was commissioned last year by events company Jack Morton Worldwide, also revealed that the reach of such experiences is likely to extend beyond the event itself. Three-quarters of the 2,574 consumers surveyed said they would probably tell others about it. In fact, 80% of those who had previously experienced a live marketing event said they had mentioned it to friends and colleagues.

Consumers aged 13 to 65 of both sexes participated in the research, with interesting trends emerging across age group and gender. It showed, for instance, that live marketing experiences vary in their effectiveness, depending on the individual. The group that was shown to be particularly receptive was women, 60% of whom chose live marketing over other media as more likely to influence them to actually buy a product or service. Meanwhile, young people between 18 and 23 also fell under the spell, with 59% of those questioned claiming it would lead them to buy more quickly.

The key here is the clear signal of how effective live marketing is at engaging with consumers. This is something which is becoming increasingly difficult for marketers faced with a populace that's ever more adept at filtering out the advertising messages that don't interest them. It's no surprise then that more marketers are turning to live marketing as an important tool in reaching their target audience. This phenomenon was revealed in a recent HPI Research Group study of European marketers which found that 68% of those surveyed had increased their spend on experiential marketing in 2005 compared to 2004. Furthermore, nearly half said they plan to spend even more during 2006.

"Overall, more than two-thirds of all consumers say experiential marketing would be extremely or very influential on their overall opinion of brands and products," says Liz Bigham, Jack Morton's Vice-President and Director of US Brand Marketing. "Out of all those surveyed, 70% said that participating in a live event marketing experience would increase their purchase consideration, while 57% said it would result in quicker purchase."

Interestingly, 73% of all respondents had never participated in a live marketing experience before, indicating an opportunity for marketers to steal a march over their competition and use live events as a key differentiator in their overall marketing strategy.

"Marketing methods need to be innovative and inventive to keep current with the new realities of the landscape our clients compete in," says Jack Morton's chief executive officer Josh McCall. "Experiential marketing offers a valuable strategy to brands that need new ways to reach their targets. Our research shows that experiential marketing is completely effective at influencing brand perception and purchasing decisions, and yet is still underutilised in reaching consumers."
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