COVID-19 causes shift in experiential marketing

RedPeg%27s+experiential+marketing+event+with+MGM+National+Harbor+at+the+15th+annual+Chance+for+Life

Courtesy of RedPeg

RedPeg's experiential marketing event with MGM National Harbor at the 15th annual Chance for Life

In a nutshell, coronavirus has impacted virtually every industry across the market. One specific industry taking a hit in response to the virus is experiential marketing. What exactly is experiential marketing? It is known as a strategy that engages consumers using a branded experience. Examples of these experiences may be events or pop-up activities as part of a campaign. Trade shows, conferences, and mobile tours can all be related to experiential marketing. With the spread of covid-19, popular events that had been planned well in advance are now being canceled or postponed.
Coachella, a known musical festival, has been pushed back six months. The event which originally took place in April is currently scheduled for October. According to Goldenvoice, last year 99,000 attendees made an appearance each day of the festival. Stagecoach, another acclaimed music festival, has also been rescheduled for October as well. While these festivals are not technically experiential marketing, many brands go to these events and set-up booths. These pop-ups help bring a branded experience to attendees.
As consumers all around the world are quarantined, there will continue to be a decrease in real life experiences in relation to marketing. With this in mind, many companies plan to switch to digital advertising. Some of these event experiences may have taken months to execute keeping in mind budgeting, promoting, and maintaining all the materials needed for the event. As part of McDonald’s marketing, they have added coloring pages, activites, and games to their website. Animal Crossing has also tapped into digital advertising. The game has included branding into customization features, such as in the user’s interior designing or clothing items. Animal Crossing has allowed for brands like CORSAIR and Wendy’s to include their logo in the villager’s t-shirts and more. Marketing agencies have to pivot their business as a result of corona. This basically means they must establish fundamental changes to their company by developing a contingency plan.
Brett Hyman, the founder and president of NVE Experience Agency, wrote “Some companies are looking to live stream events and some are looking to have an interactive digital event with participatory elements.”
An American DJ, Marshmello, serves as one example for creating digital experiences. Marshmello held one of his concerts on the well-established video game Fortnite. The event ended up being a big success with over ten million players making a virtual appearance.
On another note, marketing firms themself have also had to make some adjustments to their work. RedPeg is a marketing agency in Alexandria, Virginia, that promises to “make every experience make a lasting impression.” RedPeg’s social media and digital specialist, Amanda Tinkleman, opened up about her experiences with changes in the company as a result of the virus.
“My work has kind of shifted more towards business development, so looking at new oupportunities, getting case studies together to showcase our past work and what we can do for future projects,” said Tinkleman.
Since it is RedPeg’s 25th year since their opening, the comapny planned to celebrate with external initiatives for the clients and internal initiatives for employees. However with the coronavirus shutting down all gatherings, RedPeg had to pivot their plans. The same goes for all other events RedPeg has been working on, such as creating experiences for companies Geico and Yuengling.
“We still have our regular Monday Morning Huddle which is the entire company coming together and talking about what’s going on with clients and what culture events are coming,” Tinkleman said, “ and there’s still this one team aspect. Everyone is working towards the greater goal of helping RedPeg.”