Alongside travel, tourism, and hospitality, the events industry was one of the first to be directly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Bans on travel, public gatherings, and more recently complete lockdowns render events an impossibility.
Events and other related industries have come to an interim standstill; there isn't any mystery there. However, let us not make the fatal assumption that things will persist this way. Historically speaking, we have braved worse pandemics and more severe economic slowdowns, making a full recovery and progress more than likely in the near future.
While patience is the genius move in the current circumstance, there must be preparedness on the part of marketers to have planned a foolproof post Covid 19 marketing approach.
If you ask me, one channel stands out with great prominence, and that is experiential. Consumer product businesses, corporate service providers, aggregates, tech you name it- this is a channel that must be on their marketing department's radar.
Experiential marketing refers to marketing that takes place in the realm of reality. Think product demos at an expo or a product launch event. Experiential marketing not only showcases the features, functionality and costs associated with your product or service in the best way possible, but also gives users an opportunity to test out the product or service and interact with the team first-hand.
The long and short- it allows audiences to experience a product, service or the team behind it.
Having driven home the idea of experiential marketing, let’s look at one of the best ways of implementing it- via an event.
A product launch event, focusing on demonstrating a new product or service
Exhibiting at an Expo or Trade Show
A Roundtable for your existing customers to understand their feedback and talk about product updates
A conference that brings experts in your industry together
A Meetup that allows customers and interested buyers to interact with your core team
Anything that provides audiences and opportunity to interact with your product, service or the team behind it, is a relevant example of Experiential Event Marketing.
While virtualization is a brilliant channel to maintain business continuity in the interim, make no mistake that this will not become the new normal. Live events will return. Product demos will resurface. Physical retail will reopen. This is simply because of the inherent preference of humans to place value to products and interactions that are tangible and real.
One of the most prominent challenges with conventional marketing channels such as media advertisements, or digital ones such as online advertisements is that it neither provides open opportunity for dialogue, nor allows audiences to interact with the team behind the product or service which is being advertised to them.
Ample studies have pointed out that regardless of how effective eCommerce channels are for raising product awareness, most prominent eCommerce stores notice anywhere between 50-80% rates of cart abandonments (ie, visitors browsing products, adding them to their online carts, but not proceeding to make the purchase online).
Most users are skeptical to make purchasing decisions in the absence of a human touch, or dialogue with the company they are buying from. And rightfully so.
The ability to be able to conversate and have a dialogue with audiences at events is a significant and unique proposition of experiential event marketing channels.
Buying a product or service without having the ability to test it is no better than making a blind guess. A very likely loosing gamble. It’s 2020 and consumers know better.
Having a physical product or the team providing a service in front of them allows consumers to build rapport and know when they’re placing their trust in.
Targeting audiences is often vague and confusing via online channels and nearly non-existent in traditional marketing channels. Events however, allow you to attract very niche-specific audiences based on your theme, choice of venue, and agenda of activities.
Email newsletters nagging at your or a smart salesman? Who would you like to hear from. As great as digital channels like email are, some things are best carried out via spoken word. Nothing is more productive to your business than a smart salesperson who engages with an interested prospect in real time.
Having such conversations at events help deals close faster.
Government representatives, famous business personalities, entertainment stars, social media influencers. You are a lot more likely to run into and successfully attract the attention of an influential individual at an event, than via online channels.
Consumers love to share pictures of themselves doing fun and engaging things on social media. When you invite them to a memorable experience, they’re highly likely to capture their favorite moments on film and share them with people they know. That gives your brand free grassroots advertising that’s hard to come by any other way.
It is always a good idea to ensure that your event venue is rich with your branding, so as to ensure that any photos or videos covering the event will also include your branding making it noticeable to those that view it.
If your company has never organized an event, it’s one of those things that you just oh have to try!
Let’s park the sweet marketing and ROI benefits to the side for this point. Organizing an event will bring people from across your company together. It will give them an opportunity to brainstorm, debate, ideate and reinstate the values of teamwork. Events are a great internal exercise as well.
By putting your brand on the spot, it really makes you dig deeper to find the true values that you endorse as a company and showcase them to the audience.
The best way to get started:
Here’s the deal. If there’s one thing that will help step up your marketing game in 2018, it is events. Grab a free consulting session with us, by inquiring on strideplus.com
Define your marketing objectives
Identify your target audience
Ideate relevant event ideas
Plan and propose budgets based on your requirements
If you like what we propose and decide to organize and event with us, we will ensure that the right audience turns up to your event and they all have a great show.
Until next time, have a good one folks. Cheers.
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