Marketing of events has changed significantly over the past months without doubt. In situations where an event hasn’t been postponed or cancelled, it has been transformed. Conference centers, large ground or auditoriums are not the venues anymore. Rather virtual meeting spaces behind our computer screens have been hosts to all events since the past few months.
Event marketers, however, must still focus on creating engaging experiences for their audience. We can take comfort in the fact that the core of event management and fundamentals of event marketing remain rather unchanged. The basic goals of any event like building brand awareness, generating leads or sales and boosting customer loyalty are still relevant.
But as event managers struggle to steer their way through this new normal, business leaders and marketers should be prepared for a growing strain on business resources and assets. The combination of remote working, reduced teams, and increased responsibilities has created inefficiencies and kaput event programs.
This can only be solved through economies of scale. Marketers and event managers should focus on scaling up virtual event design and audience/event data. By doing this, event managers will gradually be able to grow their events with fewer resources. It will also ensure a robust system ready and in place to create hybrid event when in-person event enter our lives again. Because they will, and stronger than ever.
Event Identity and Design
Event marketers have had to adapt their event strategies just as quickly as the pandemic hit. This had put an increased pressure on event companies and their resources. Through all the chaos and uncertainty, the shift to virtual events has certainly hit the importance and brand identity of event agencies and industry at large. Being one of the first sufferers of the pandemic, event managers and marketers have seen the conventional event design take a huge hit.
This is an unfortunate situation not only for the event managers but also for brands. An event design or experience is the first interaction a potential consumer has with the brand. Experiential marketing has seen tremendous growth in the past few years and is only more crucial in times of crisis. The brand experience for a consumer means more today than ever before and hence companies should keep steady focus on developing such experiences in coming times to establish a connect with their customers.
For event agencies, this is a trying time in a crowded market as the pressure to create impacting events in a latent market and with fewer resources is huge. Agencies must establish strong connections with brands to mutually create experiences for consumers. Brands will have fewer in-house resources and teams to support their marketing plans in the coming months. Hence, event agencies need to work harder to ensure that their teams are able to offer unique virtual and hybrid solutions to brands.
In an otherwise saturated virtual event space, the way to build compelling branded event marketing strategies is to build event designs, including marketing collaterals, that can be replicated in multiple events and by multiple teams. This is how an event agency would have successfully achieved economies of scale – by alleviating pressure of reinventing and redesigning, utilising already developed resources, and establishing more control over event execution processes. It also helps in ensuring that the event marketer stays ahead of the curve and generates revenue in a damp economic scenario.
What Difference Will It Make?
In between balancing the rush to understand the virtual event landscape and with fewer marketing resources available in a time of crisis, teams are invariably working in silos also because many are operating remotely or working from home. This has led to delayed results, data and resource loss, and lack of event reporting. In such a situation and with lack of these, marketers and business leaders are losing huge opportunities to understand this potential in terms of audience, business size and growth.
In order to avoid this unfortunate circumstance, marketers must prepare now to collect and analyse data of event marketing and design technology. It is crucial to understand which events are creating the biggest impact and have the potential to generate revenue.
Because the current situation is not the only outlook. Event managers need to eye the future when in-person and hybrid events make a comeback. Either way, leaders need to focus their energies on cracking the virtual event ecosystem and build a robust model around it. Analysing trends and its data is important to understand what’s working (and what’s not working). This also enables in staying aligned with virtual and in-person events, both in the past and for the future.
The bottom line is that if event managers and marketers don’t take action today to scale their hybrid event design into a well oiled automated system, the gap in the future will only widen, especially when resources are only expected to become more and more limited, leading to lost opportunities and declining growth.
We are all moving faster than ever before to ensure continued event operations and figuring out the evolved landscape along the way. While adapting to the changed environment seems the natural and most common thing, those who are able to predict future scenarios and develop strong and suitable event designs will experience faster growth than others. Resources are becoming increasingly strained for event agencies and brands which intensifies the need to work towards building a connected ecosystem, reassessing event management approach, and beginning a journey towards scaling event design and data operations.
Physical event aren’t gone forever. They will come back however in a new avatar. It is time to stop thinking of physical and virtual events separately but in a single idea. At the end of the day, leaders who can solve this problem of creating a scalable event design in minimal resources would have achieved long-term growth in coming times.