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With another turn of the calendar, brands are launching new campaigns with fresh budgets and leaning into emerging trends to boost their visibility in the marketplace. Experiential marketing has left the “trend” moniker behind, as it’s repeatedly cited as a channel that CMOs and brand managers invest in year after year. Because of measurable results showing deeper relationships between brands and customers, experiential marketing is now an avenue that facilitates some marketing trends. Here are four marketing trends to watch in 2024 that have an experiential impact. 

4 Marketing Trends in 2024 with Experiential Impact 

 Trend to Watch #1: Brand Power in Purpose-driven Marketing  

Brands continue to feel the impacts of the social narrative – consumers have more and more influence on how brands are perceived and portrayed across connected media. Those with a strongly defined purpose that want to impact change beyond a commercial goal have regained their narrative power. They share their values unequivocally and through every consumer touchpoint, so there is no margin for misinterpretation or inauthenticity.   

Experiential marketing is an easy choice for purpose-driven brand marketing. Brands sponsor or build activations at events that align with their values. Or associate with causes that reflect a shared purpose among the brand and audiences. Hiring a professional team of brand ambassadors adds an authentic and human connection to reinforce what the brand stands for in an engaged and meaningful way. It’s not bandwagoning because purpose-driven brands clearly state what is important to them and invite audiences who share that purpose to connect.  

 Trend to Watch #2: Mass Adoption of Generative AI  

Experiential Marketing Trends

If 2023 was the year the early adopter marketers started experimenting with Generative AI, 2024 will likely be the year the majority emerges. Brands will quickly figure out how to activate it in their customer journeys. The question will be how audiences react to brands’ use or overuse of the emerging tech. For now, social media platforms are introducing Generative AI via photo backgrounds and other enhancements as consumers become more comfortable with the idea of computer-generated content.  

The cool factor is a selling point, as brands want to be seen as relevant and cutting-edge. Experiential marketing is a logical place to adopt the trend since brand representatives and staff can be on hand to ensure any activation featuring Generative AI stays on brand and within the spirit of the campaign. In a brand-endorsed setting, Generative AI complements the experience and doesn’t become the experience. The human element of experiential marketing to foster connections between brands and audiences can’t be replicated.  

Trend to Watch #3: Challenger Brands Gaining Ground  

Data from Kantar’s 2023 Brand Footprint shows that 1 in 2 shoppers prefer to buy from smaller companies over larger brands whenever possible. As start-up brands increase market penetration to become challenger brands, they can leverage live activations, events, and pop-up opportunities to create a one-to-one brand introduction that quickly evolves to one-to-many as word of mouth and social sharing builds.  

Read more about why experiential marketing is a strategic growth channel for start-up and challenger brands here.  

Trend to Watch #4: Brands Embracing Culture  

bilingual brand ambassadors

McDonald’s Brand Ambassadors/Chinese New Year Festival

 A pillar of experiential marketing is for brands to go where their audiences are already. The best campaigns uncover opportunities to perfectly intersect the brand message with the right audience in an environment where they are open to connect. Brands that embrace the culture of the moment can connect with consumers in a more relevant way, and the impact of that connection is made stronger when a person like them delivers it. 

The prevalence of influencer marketing has made everyday people representing brands the norm. However, an influencer strategy is still a one-to-many approach, and brands potentially hand over a lot of narrative power. Even if the brand message is delivered correctly, the overall environment might not be conducive to a long-term connection. For brands that understand the narrative power of cultural relevance, the point is sometimes to be present, and it isn’t always appropriate to sell.   

Experiential marketing is a multi-faceted channel that allows for a myriad of execution strategies that are customizable to a brand’s goals, scalable to the audience, and aligned to a moment in time. Many moments and trends in 2024 are yet to be seen, but savvy marketers will find a smart way to deliver them directly to consumers.  

 ATN Event Staffing is your partner in planning top-tier experiential marketing events. Our expertise makes the hiring process of event teams or brand ambassadors a seamless part of your planning process, earning you positive brand engagements and connections. Our clients look to us for local, regional, and national events, where we’ve provided experiential professionals for over two decades.  

Contact ATN for Your 2024 Event Staffing Needs