The "experience economy" is one of those buzzwords everyone is using. So, if you haven’t heard of it yet, you soon will. Particularly as it’s being dubbed one of the most significant global trends in marketing. But what exactly is it? And what does it mean for marketing and event teams?
What is the experience economy?
Put simply, the experience economy is where goods or services are sold by emphasising the effect they have on people’s lives. So, rather than focusing on “stuff”, businesses are creating “experiences” to appeal to their customers.
Of course, for event aficionados like Apex, we’ve long understood the power of experience. So, it comes as no surprise to us that this approach is leading to wider business success.
How can event organisers succeed in the experience economy?
In our modern, multi-sensory world, expectations are high. And, when it comes to creating events, merely hosting a conference, roadshow, expo etc., isn’t enough. You also have to reach out to attendees in new and absorbing ways. And put the individual at the heart of everything you do.
With businesses everywhere looking to up their game, what can you do to create the type of events people want and will remember?
Well, increasingly, our clients are turning to Apex to appeal to a discerning and demanding audience. And, if you'd like our help we can provide you with creative ideas based on sound commercial strategy. But, in the meantime, here are some of our top tips:
1. Create shareable experiences
In our connected digital world, simply going out for a meal or a few drinks can be turned into an ‘event’; with people using social media to capture key moments and share these with thousands of followers. So, even someone sitting at home in front of the telly can now feel part of an event, regardless of where and when it is happening.
Demonstrating how it can be done, the Spark Arena in New Zealand recently provided free Wi-Fi to fans at a Green Day concert. These fans took advantage of the service to share their experiences live. And, while not every corporate event can reach the same audience as a rock concert, the theory behind reaching out and sharing activities with a wider audience remains the same.
“Here at the Arena, we’re all about creating amazing live experiences and lasting memories for fans. We could see over the weekend that fans embraced the new technology for things like event information and of course capturing and sharing the buzz of the live gig through social media.” General Manager at Spark Arena
2. Deliver immersive experiences
You must find ways to construct compelling, multi-sensory experiences that evoke genuine emotions from your attendees. And, one method brands are using to do this is through the power of VR and AR.
Of course, letting your attendees delve into another world is a fun and awe-inspiring way to capture their attention. And, with Google announcing plans to make VR/AR accessible to millions, and the cost of such tech becoming more and more affordable, event and marketing teams may soon be creating virtual experiences that are as powerful as real ones.
For example, at a recent food and drink festival in Singapore, visitors were provided with a VR headset, earphones, and a dram of whisky before being transported to Scotland for a multi-sensory tour of the Glen Ord distillery.
Today, VR/AR must be on every event organiser’s radar; particularly as it won’t be long before we see businesses having access to the technology necessary to create entire virtual events - customised to their specifications – with attendees able to take part from anywhere in the world.
3. Create disruptive experiences
People go to events for many reasons. But, most often they want to generate and strengthen relationships, learn something new, and discover a sense of purpose.
While the disruptive event stays true to these core aims, attendees should also leave with a fresh perspective. In short, disruptive events should change the way people think forever. They should literally disrupt your attention by doing something different.
4. Provide sensory experiences
Today’s event attendees are looking for experiences that are experimental and/or uniquely memorable.
78% of event professionals believe that multi-sensory events deliver more memorable and creative experiences for event attendees, while 42% say sensory activations can also help events stand out from the competition. However, only 27% believe that the five senses are being effectively stimulated at events.
So, businesses must look at how best to incorporate sensory activities into their events. To help you do this, consider using music, light activations, culinary experiences, and interactive activities that require visitors to get hands on.
For example, at the annual Elior Awards for Excellence in March 2017, Apex installed DMX controlled table centres and lasers throughout the event, while for entertainment we sourced two stunning laser violinists to perform a duel.
As attention spans become shorter and expectations increase, immersive, multi-sensory, and disruptive events will stand out for all the right reasons. And become shareable for that very reason.
At Apex, we understand the immense effort that goes into preparing for events, and we work with you to help reach your goals and achieve a truly positive experience. If you’d like to find out more about how we can make your events a success in the experience economy, contact us today to find out more, or give us a call today on + 44 (0)1625 429370 to discuss your requirements in more depth.
 London and Partners