According to research by the brand experience agency ID, almost half of marketers expect to spend more on experiential marketing next year. A total of 49% say they plan to boost their spending on the medium, with half attributing this decision to the proven effectiveness of the discipline.
The survey also found that 72% of respondents believe experiential marketing encourages brand loyalty, while 89% suggest it is the most effective at getting brands close to consumers.
"Research such as this provides a strong case for spending on experiential marketing," says Paul Ephremsen, ID's chief executive. "The results are compelling and the benefits of this sector are being reaffirmed. What we may have previously spoken about anecdotally has now been substantiated.
"This research proves that experiential marketing has truly established itself as an essential component of the marketing mix. Marketers are actively choosing to redirect budgets and invest in live activity because they recognise experiential marketing's ability to deliver different results to traditional media choices - namely brand and product advocacy and affinity among consumers," he adds.
ID commissioned specialist research company HPI Research Group to conduct qualitative and quantitative interviews with 64 senior marketers across a range of sectors. Each has experience of experiential marketing.
Hewlett Packard's consumer marketing director, Vic Foti, was a contributor.
He said: "We are integrating all our marketing spend above and below-the-line into one experiential marketing campaign simply because we want to connect better with our consumers and make our brand more relevant to their lifestyle."
The research also sheds light on current levels of investment in the sector. It reports that the average campaign costs £500,000, accounting for an average of 10% of overall marketing spend - and 9% of respondents indicated that they were currently investing more than £2m per campaign.
And commitment to the sector has already begun, with 68% of marketers reportedly spending more on experiential marketing in 2005 compared with last year.
Nick Adams, managing director of fledgling brand experience agency Sense, sits on the steering committee of trade body, the Live Brand Experience Association (LBEA). He says: "The tables are certainly turning from five years ago.
"Previously the experiential element was added into integrated campaigns. Now we are starting to deal with campaigns centring around brand experience, with other below-the-line disciplines built around the activity."
Similarly, brand experience campaigns are increasingly being used throughout a product's life, with 70% of marketers recognising that experiential marketing is no longer being used solely to launch a new product or service.
"We've seen a real shift from using experiential marketing just for new products. More and more brands are using brand experience as another communication channel for the promotion of an existing product," adds Adams.
The LBEA is in the process of appointing a research company to undertake its first research project - a project it is expected to begin within the next two months.
Emphremsen says: "As part of the LBEA we realised there is not a lot of pre-existing research. Just a handful of bespoke research has been done."
He indicates, however, that ID will continue to produce proprietary research in addition to the LBEA. "I feel we've now set a precedent," he says.