Whether you are organising brand activations, thought leadership panels, speaker series, conferences or product showcase events – one thing is certain, your marketing event strategy needs to be adapted for the long term. Today, marketing teams have adapted to the new normal, events are no longer just a question of increasing your digital presence – they should bring a new offering to the table.
Over the past year, 68% of event marketers reported that a hybrid solution that can manage both virtual and in-person events will play a key role in the 2020 and 2021 event strategies*. As a result, rather than seeing virtual events as temporary solutions, businesses are investing in more unique ways to engage and interact with customers.
52.9% of event marketers believe that this is a challenge, but one worthwhile* if the return of investment into a futuristic event strategy creates more memorable experiences for attendees, through the online world in comparison to pre-COVID in-person events.
What the customer really wants: the element of surprise
With a soaring increase of 74% in online purchasing over the course of 2020 in the U.K., the need for brands to stand out from the competition is higher than ever. Knowing how to tailor the customer experience to create not only a seamless, but memorable experience for the customer starts with some innovative thinking.
“We’re approaching a new era where traditional marketing is reshaped by machine learning. Marketers are getting smarter about customer experience and personalisation at scale as machine learning can help understand customer journeys to increase engagement and add value at key moments.”Magda Kotlarzyck, Head of Sales, Google Poland**
Personalisation at scale of the buyer journey is a key element to providing a unique experience for your prospects and customers – now more essential than ever. Whether you’re looking to add value for your audience during virtual events or for potential leads as part of a lead acquisition campaign, including an element of surprise is key to differentiating your customer experience, from the one next door.
The basics to cover during your virtual events
The market is seeing a gradual rise of new hybrid event models – combining digital and face-to-face interaction in small groups to create memorable online and offline experiences for the customer. Brands are finding new ways of engaging people by prolonging the digital experience for attendees, beyond simply hosting a digital event.
When promoting the event, offer attendees something unique to incentivise them to click “attending”. This could include the opportunity to interact with your speakers or even a voucher gifted when a sign-up is confirmed.
Innovating your digital experience for the customer
A good digital event is interactive and participatory, encouraging interactions and promoting exchange in your communications running up to the event and during will increase your engagement levels considerably. Set the expectation for your participants, letting them know what role you expect them to fill during the event – will they just be spectators or will they be expected to engage with your speakers and other industry experts?
Think of how you can thank your participants, in a way that could potentially extend the experience for them. The attention to detail around the hospitality side of the event, even with everything being online, demonstrates the attention paid by the company to its customers. When setting your production budget, look at dedicating a part of it to food for the customer to enjoy during, or after your digital event.
Adapting with small changes
To discover more about our learnings and ways of adapting event strategies to impress, incentivise and wow your customers, take a look at how gifting could be the missing element to your marketing tactics.