4 Reasons Why Face-to-Face Experiences Are Essential to Successful Experiential Marketing

A couple getting their photo taken at the Ferrero Rocher brand activation
The past few years have caused the communications industry to rapidly evolve, especially as it relates to technology and the platforms we use to connect. With many of us feeling the effects of ‘Zoom fatigue,’ the demand for in-person events has increased significantly. For businesses and organizations, in-person events are an essential marketing tool to create meaningful connections and strengthen brand messages. While virtual events continue to have a strategic place for marketers, research shows they lack the same ability to connect audiences like live events. Why? Because nothing can replace the impact of face-to-face experiences. Whether innovatively showcasing new products or services, educating audiences on essential topics, or helping brands change consumer perceptions, live experiences offer many creative ways to generate leads and connect with new audiences uniquely and personally. Here are four key reasons why live experiential marketing is on the rise and best practices on how to increase engagement and take your audience relationships to the next level.

1. Stronger Audience Engagement

With the rapid return to live events, building meaningful connections remains the cornerstone of producing XM campaigns or conferences. However, a new study has revealed that the average audience attention span is just 8 to 10 minutes. During virtual interactions, this adds challenges because attendees can turn their cameras off, making it harder to know whether they are absorbing or connecting with your presentations.
The power of human connection is undeniable. Live events offer the ideal environment to network, connect with audiences, and interact with others in your industry. Whether through seating plans and table layouts or live activations and product launches, every aspect of in-person events is an opportunity to encourage audience engagement.

2. Enhanced Credibility and Trust

Face-to-face experiences also play a crucial role in enhancing credibility and building brand loyalty and trust. Conversations are often more natural when meeting in-person, enabling speakers to connect better with their audiences and establish trust.
Reading facial expressions and body language first-hand allows trust to grow because attendees can better align words to actions. According to Proof Strategies CanTrust Index, identifying audiences that matter to your organization is another crucial element in building trust. The Sanofi Pasteur Flu campaign is a prime example of how building credibility is essential to establishing trust with your audience. Understanding the most vulnerable in our community, we developed an impactful and compelling photo gallery and art installation that represented the flu’s impact on seniors. Connecting with their audience through an emotional and thought-provoking demonstration helped Sanofi Pasteur increase the trust and credibility of their FLUZONE® High-Dose vaccine.
Interacting directly with audiences through in-person events helps create shared experiences that enhance brand loyalty. This impacts their willingness to invest in your product or brand.

3. Expanded Audience

While virtual events continue to allow brands to connect with audiences unable to attend live, a new study suggests that human brains synchronize when ‘physically’ in the presence of another person. Researchers observed nine important “cross-brain links” between participants during an in-person conversation, compared to only one link during the virtual chat. The study’s findings could help explain ‘Zoom fatigue,’ which has led to shorter attention spans and slower response times.
The simple fact is nothing can replace the connections developed when we participate in face-to-face activations and events. In fact, according to Guillaume Dumas, a researcher with Universite de Montreal and the Sainte-Justine children’s hospital, “in-person communication makes it easier to convey and identify non-verbal cues, to anticipate what the other person might say and to recognize innuendo — subtleties that are more difficult to identify when speaking over a screen.”
Live events, including conferences, product launches, activations, etc., are an opportunity to engage with prospective customers and gain unimaginable feedback about your brand. In-person events also create the perfect opportunity to capture the attention of new target audiences in various ways. Take our recent campaign with Ferrero Rocher. By extending their brand beyond the traditional holiday season, we were able to reach new audiences and change consumer perceptions about their brand with a unique new product launch.

4. More ROI Opportunities

Live events provide a great opportunity to create more shareable content. Your authentic in-person connection with an audience is something your competitors cannot replicate. Interacting directly with your audience allows brands to gain access to more potential customers, resulting in more sales and business opportunities. With face-to-face experiences, we get to see your product, experience your service, and assess a brand’s capabilities in a more personalized way. Plus, when we meet in-person, we build trust with our audience which results in stronger ROI and increased brand awareness. We hope you found this article helpful in rethinking your experiential marketing strategies to deliver more personalized face-to-face experiences for your brand. There is no replacement for the value generated by shaking someone’s hand, looking in their face and interacting with other like-minded people.
Lorne Cooperberg

Senior Vice President, Growth & Innovation


Sharing is caring


Get in touch and let's start a conversation.