5 min

Live Experience Marketing and the Boom of Concerts

In the post-pandemic landscape, people crave real-life experiences, leading to a boom in concerts, live events, and brand experiences like pop-up events. Consumer psychology has evolved since the pandemic, and people want to recover a “sense of presence” through which they can reconnect with the outside world.

A significant surge in demand for live events was driven by various factors like pent-up post-pandemic desire for connection, the return of major artists and events, and a general sense of optimism. 

Live Nation, the world’s largest live music company, reported a 24% increase in event attendance in 2022 compared to 2019, and expects 2023 to surpass even that. Major tours by superstars like Taylor Swift, Bad Bunny, and BTS have sold out stadiums worldwide, with some tickets fetching exorbitant prices on the secondary market. Coachella, the iconic music festival in California, returned in April 2023 after a two-year hiatus, drawing record-breaking crowds over its two weekends.

The high demand for live events has translated into increased ticket prices. According to Axios, 2023 has been dubbed the “year of the $1,000 concert ticket.” 

The urge for in-person experiences remains strong, and the live event industry is positioned for continued growth in the years to come, but what exactly did that look like? 

First, let’s take a look at what exactly experiential marketing is:

Experiential marketing refers to creating an experience for the customer rather than approaching them through traditional marketing methods. These kinds of experiential marketing can involve guerrilla marketing campaigns that use the element of surprise, pop-up shops and events, or brand activations. It is a unique way to connect with customers and provides them with real-life experiences to raise awareness, build understanding, or increase sales of products or services. 

There is an inherent emotional value to live experiences, as they become memories that consumers retain long after the experience ends.

The importance of experiential marketing in a post-pandemic world

The psychology of live event marketing, especially in the post-pandemic world, sheds light on why there has been an increase in event attendance following the COVID-19 pandemic. 

People are experiencing a greater amount of FOMO (fear of missing out), and this, mixed with the power of the emotional value of live experiences, is a driving force behind the uprising demand for live events. We could refer to this collective FOMO as a reaction to being locked in or with limited mobility for nearly two years. Recent surveys show that over 40% of boomers planned to attend more events in 2023 than in 2022. More than 60% of Gen X and millennials say the same. Less than 10% of all respondents say they plan to attend fewer events. This push for more live events can be seen in the growth of global consumer experiential marketing, which grew 8.2% in 2021 to $67.63 billion.

Case studies

Bad Bunny: World’s Hottest Tour

Bad Bunny was the top streamed artist on Spotify in 2021 and 2022, and his tour, the World’s Hottest Tour, was the highest-grossing tour in 2022, with $117 million in box office sales, according to Wikipedia. In an article published in 2023, Forbes named Bad Bunny the new king of pop justified not in the context of a specific musical genre but as a recognition of Bad Bunny’s global reach in recent years. 

Bad Bunny has broken records like the most streamed album on Spotify and is the first Latino artist on Billboard’s Top Artists 100 Chart. This can all be accredited to the brand he created around himself, his ability to connect to his audience – particularly Genzers-and his authenticity. 

The Eras Tour: above and beyond marketing

In another record-breaking example, Taylor Swift’s Era’s tour stands out. The Eras tour grossed over a billion dollars and sold 4.35 million tickets across 60 tour dates. According to the U.S. Travel Association, Swift fans during the U.S. leg of the tour have exceeded conventional spending norms by averaging $1,300 on local expenditures, encompassing travel, lodging, dining, merchandise, and more. Cities like Los Angeles witnessed a significant economic impact, totaling $320 million. These numbers only show the impact of the U.S. leg of the tour. However, Swift’s fans in Latin American countries like Colombia bought tickets to see the artist in Argentina, Mexico, Germany, and Spain. Their willingness to spend significantly on airplane tickets, hotel accommodations, and more shows the powerhouse of Taylor Swift. 

Beyond Music

Live experience marketing also transcended concerts. People flooded the theaters this year to watch Barbie and Top Gun: Maverick, which grossed $8,361,223,808 and $7,369,505,492, respectively. Looking at Box Office numbers, these movies made more money on average per theater (domestically) than the most successful movies in the last 11 years. This could signal a comeback of big studio movies, including the Barbenheimer phenomenon. According to The Numbers, annual tickets sold for 2023 are expected to reach 922 million. That’s compared to 2022, when total tickets sold reached 709 million. 

Barbie-Mania: An Experience that Transcended Movie Theaters In the case of Barbie, it is well noticed that the marketing efforts around the movie transcended traditional mediums. Mattel turned the world’s best-selling doll into an Influencer character with a net worth of over $6.12M. This was achieved through a transmedia storytelling campaign encompassing multiple platforms and formats, including dozens of brand collaborations. A few months ago, we covered the impact of this transmedia storytelling campaign here.

Looking into the future:

Live-event marketing will continue to grow in the new “roaring 20s.” Here are some statistics of what 2024 will look like: 

  • Global market size: The global live events market is expected to reach USD 577.3 billion in 2024, growing at a CAGR of 7.56% from 2023 to 2028. (Source: Grand View Research)
  • North American market: The North American live events market is expected to reach USD 256.7 billion in 2024, growing at a CAGR of 6.2% from 2023 to 2028. (Source: Grand View Research)
  • Asia Pacific market: The Asia Pacific live events market is expected to reach USD 180.8 billion in 2024, growing at a CAGR of 9.2% from 2023 to 2028. (Source: Grand View Research)

Brands should leverage this increased demand for live events and use it to create customer-centric experiences to further develop their brand loyalty and awareness. At Hylink, we can help you craft the ideal experiential campaign for your brand to ensure you can make the most of this unprecedented time of high demand. Don’t just be present at live events; own the experience!

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