Experiences are Everything: The Importance of an Experiential Marketing Strategy

You don’t need us to tell you that music has the power to create incredible experiences. It can cure a breakup, take you back in time and totally make or break a party. But some music experiences are just more memorable than others.

Nothing comes quite as close to the exhilaration of seeing your favorite band live. The act of sharing the moment with a community of fellow fans, sweating it out together as you scream lyrics from the top of your lungs—that’s when real memories are formed.

It’s no wonder that 67% of Pandora listeners prefer spending money on experiences over things.1 We think it’s because the “high” you get from purchasing the latest gadget or a trendy handbag never lasts as long as we’d like. Experiences, on the other hand, have the power to profoundly impact our emotions and memories. Music is one of our favorite ways to achieve this. According to Nielsen, 52% of music spending in 2015 went to live concerts, trumping both physical forms of music and paid online streaming services.

An appreciation for music experiences is especially strong among younger audiences. Millennial females, for example, favor experiences over things by 74% to 26%.1 Perhaps this is because young people are more prone to draw out the experience with the perfect outfit (festival fashion, it’s a thing), selfies and by sharing it on social media.

Experiences Give Brands a Chance to Shine

Marketers have long realized the power experiences have to connect brands and consumers in ways that can’t be achieved online, on TV, in magazines, or over the phone. Think about any conference or trade show you’ve been to lately. The brands you noticed paid big bucks to have sponsorship status at the event or a floor-level booth with signage. According to eMarketer, a whopping 80% of B2B marketers have either hosted or attended a conference; 70% a trade show.2

Events give marketers the opportunity to engage customers and prospects with exclusive access to content or product updates by handing out desirable product samples or entertaining with an interactive brand activation. It’s in-person interactions like these that can make brands more “human” and more memorable.

The same strategies have a place in consumer-facing music events as well. Concert and festival-goers have a unique set of needs (shade, water, charging stations, comfortable seating, to name a few) and when brands provide experiences or amenities that are organic to the event, fans feel thankful and will keep them top-of-mind when making purchase decisions. In fact, it’s more likely they’ll form a positive emotional connection with the brand too, which lasts long after the show is over.

When we asked Pandora listeners how they feel about brand presence at their music events, 82% said they indeed notice when brands are at a concert or festival they attend.1 And 1 in 3 Millennials told us they are more likely to actually purchase a brand’s product after seeing them sponsor an event.1

“Nothing in the world compares to live events,” says Kristina Wallender, Vice President of Marketing at Ticketfly, the technology company delivering the world’s most powerful platform for connecting fans with live events (and a subsidiary of Pandora). “Millions of fans visit our website network every month to scope out and purchase tickets to shows across the continent. In 2015, concert industry ticket sales in North America reached $6.9 billion.3 These massive numbers tell us that, more than ever, people are looking for ways to connect with one another in the real world, and live events provide that connection. They move, inspire, and excite. When brands can find organic ways to be part of these singular, memorable experiences, there’s no doubt that attendees connect deeply with them as well.”

Real-Life Results—Summer Crush Case Study

At Pandora, we create immersive, live music events for exactly this reason. With concerts spanning from Country to R&B, Indie, Pop, Alternative, Latin, Hip Hop, and everything in between—we create personal connections between artists & fans, and build engaging onsite & digital experiences that make a lasting impact for our brand partners.

This summer, Pandora Summer Crush™ brought over 4,000 Teen & Young Adult listeners together in Los Angeles for a free concert that was also live streamed to fans nationwide. Hosted by YouTube star Meredith Foster, the event included performances by Daya, 5 Seconds of Summer, and Fergie.

As part of this year’s event, we partnered with an independent, third-party research firm, SRi, to conduct an onsite survey amongst attendees. The results not only gave us key insights into the efficacy of the event overall, but also illustrated how the event impacted the opinion and consideration of participating brand sponsors. The survey revealed that a whopping 84% of attendees visited a sponsor’s activation area, and of those, half said they came away with a more positive view on the brand. Take a look at the full results of the survey here:

[slideshare id=69018882&doc=summercrushresearchstudyresults-slidesharev1-161115193908]


To learn more about the custom events Pandora hosts: CLICK HERE

Sources: 1 Pandora Soundboard, Event & Experiential Study, January 2016 2 Demand Metric, “Event Engagement: Accelerating the Customer Lifecycle,” December 2015 3 Pollstar Pro, Year End Business Analysis, 2015