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Experiential Marketing Returns Strongly After The Pandemic.

Global consumer experiential marketing, including radio staples such as event sponsorships and live event marketing, grew 8.2% in 2021 to $67.63 billion, following a staggering drop of 25.7% in 2020 due to the pandemic, according to PQ Media. The media segment had been growing consistently for two decades before the worldwide COVID-19 health crisis. Global experiential marketing is on pace to grow at an accelerated 11.1% to $75.16 billion in 2022.

The research firm says the pandemic wrought massive damage on the consumer event sector – more than any other media industry segment – in such a brief period that it was unparalleled in the history of advertising and marketing. Despite that, secular trends driving brand marketer investments in experiential marketing for decades are expected to accelerate in the years ahead.

PQ Media’s Global Experiential Marketing Forecast 2022-2026 includes detailed data breakouts and analysis of the two major experiential marketing channels – consumer event sponsorships and live event marketing.

The forecast features a deep-dive data on 11 key experiential marketing categories, including within the consumer event sponsorship channel: sports; entertainment, tours & attractions; causes; arts; festivals, fairs & other events; and associations. Covered in the live events channel are sports & entertainment; virtual events & mobile road shows; grassroots; college campuses; and mall & nightlife.

Consumer event sponsorships were the larger of the two at $35.82 billion in 2021, with sports being the largest category at $23.63 billion, a 66% market share. Live consumer events were the faster-growing overall channel, up 9.5%, with sports & entertainment being the largest category at $11.56 billion, a 36.3% market share.

U.S. experiential marketing spending grew 12% in 2021 to $31.36 billion, with event sponsorships being the largest channel at $16.08 billion. Sports is the largest category at $11.40 billion, a 70.9% market share. Meanwhile, live events were the faster growing overall experiential channel, up 13.5%, with sports & entertainment its largest category at $5.15 billion, a 33.7% share. Going forward, U.S. experiential marketing spend is on pace to rise 13.7% in 2022 to $35.65 billion.

“Experiential marketing has steadily become more important to brands over the past decade because live experiences, such as major music festivals and global sporting events, provide excellent opportunities to engage more elusive and fickle younger demographics. We expect to see more brands using advanced smart tech marketing, tracking, and analysis going forward to create interactive experiences that bridge the physical, digital and virtual worlds,” PQ Media CEO Patrick Quinn said. “Several instances of these evolving tactics emerged in the past two years, including music events that went virtual through online videogame platforms, such as Roblox and Fortnite; NASCAR races that took place in e-sports leagues; hybrid media experiences at the Beijing Winter Olympics; and the return of lucrative political fundraising events.”

PQ Media’s research indicates the emerging trend of hybrid events will gain strength in consumer experiential marketing. Media, entertainment, and telecommunications are embracing these strategies more than others.

PQ Media says among the key trends driving growth in consumer event sponsorships in 2022 included many sports leagues signing record sponsorship deals, such as the NFL’s $1.8 billion investments, up 12 %. Additionally, attendance at music and tourist events surged in 2022, and sponsored arts events offering “immersion” experiences became vogue in 2022 after the popularity of the “Immersive Van Gogh” tour. Meanwhile, sponsored hybrid events have become the norm, such as the Consumer Electronics Show, where 25% of the audience was online.

Fueling the upside in live event marketing was sports & entertainment events, which saw consumers returning to attending games, concerts, and shows after nearly two years of little activity. Virtual events also remain popular, as many consumers are working from home and pop-up mobile road shows are hot, while mall & nightlife events saw traffic soar in 2022.

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