As much as I wish we were still partyin’ like it’s 1999, we’ve officially entered a new year. Everyone is making marketing predictions for 2019.

Every newsletter since October has had these trends listed. You know: the ongoing rise of AI, the importance of voice search and visual search (hello, Google Lens), more uses for VR/AR, ‘instant’ app-based orders and deliveries, marketing automation and more meaningful brand partnerships. Of course, with data breaches, “fake news” and agency transparency being questioned, security and overall brand safety will continue to be a marketer’s cry into 2019. And how many articles have you recently seen enter your inbox with ‘Blockchain’ as a title?

What excites us the most is the steady commitment to brand experiences in this new year. Experiential marketing is still on the rise, as brands try to claim their true authenticity.

Don’t take my word for it…

“Good brand in-hand experiences lead to an 85% intention to purchase and a 4:1 ROI. 2019 and beyond will be a time when brand experiences matter more than ever and budgets will need to shift to reflect this.” // Mark Stringer, PrettyGreen, The Drum

“It’s all about refocusing your strategy around experiences and an ongoing relationship with your customer, rather than just vying for a single transaction.” // Stacy Martinet, Adobe,

“In 2019, immersive storytelling and location-based experiences will draw customers to brands like never before. As people crave the experiential, the brands that understand how to deliver them narratively will see explosive engagement.”// John Bucher, Telling a Better Story, Content Marketing Institute

“In the year ahead it will be incumbent on brands to create a world of experience as opposed to selling products.”// Kantar, Business Live

There are many benefits to experiential marketing. If brands aren’t reaping those rewards yet – they soon will be!

We predict that experiential marketing will continue to grow and evolve in a number of ways over the course of this year. Here are how we see experiential marketing in 2019:

  • Brand experiences across all touch-points will be evaluated and improved
  • Live events will create brand-in-hand opportunities, as well as brand-to-consumer conversations
  • Pop-up activations and mobile tours will be on the rise, as brands begin evaluating stand-alone activations apart from festivals
  • Marketing and PR teams will work more closely together for more impactful brand experiences
  • In-store retail experiences will be part of the marketing conversation
  • Participants will be given more interactive opportunities to create or personalize an experience to their own preferences
  • A greater purpose, such as a charity tie-in or feel-good moment, will be part of more brand experiences as brands become advocates and relate to younger audiences
  • Experiences will be Instagrammable, duh

(Yes, I pulled that word from my 1999 dictionary.)

We might not have a Genie in a Bottle, or a crystal ball for that matter, but we’re predicting brands will be granting lots of surprises this year through experiential activation.

Experiential marketing in 2019 is quite exciting! So I miss my “Rachel” hairstyle with colorful butterfly clips, but I’m dressed for the future and ready to go. So, Don’t Steal My Sunshine.

Maybe it’s intuition…but some things you just don’t question. Experiential marketing is (still) the biggest marketing trend this year.

Seriously, the 90s rocked. But I bet 2019 is going to be even greater.

If you have your own predictions for experiential marketing in 2019 (or other throw-backs to the ’90s), be sure to post a comment below.