Technique 2 minutes, 27 second read Nick Gold, MD, Speakers Corner, President, International Association of Speakers Bureaus
This year, the historical ‘safe bet’ of any marketing strategy, the events and face-to-face channel, guaranteed to raise brand awareness, has been off limits. The best laid plans and careful strategies have been ripped up and thrown away as individuals, businesses and society have been dealing with the immediate situation.
Marketers have seen their planned events schedule turn from physical to virtual and are trying to replicate their event offering in this new climate. There was a quick realisation that this was not a sustainable strategy, both financially but also with the infrastructure or technology underpinning the creation of the event. This has meant there is a growing realisation that the event model needs to be re-imagined from ground up to deliver the impact, results and returns that came from the physical model.
Whilst daunting, this situation provides fresh and unchartered ground which gives marketeers the ability to demonstrate their true creative minds where there are no preconceptions or expectations of how things should be done.
The virtual model allows marketeers to create events and meetings with little lead time at relatively small expense. As technology improves, marketers can position their business as a brand which embraces innovation while creating new experiences that enable a deeper emotional relationship between customer and brand.
For example, we have run a series of virtual masterclasses since lockdown began, with themes ranging from the personal (mental health) to the collective (teamwork and leadership). The follow-up conversations have allowed our team and our audience to share their thoughts and experiences collectively. Whilst this naturally helps the business relationship it also supports the personal relationship upon which the foundations of business are built.
The flip side is that the networking element of that physical interaction seems to be widely missed as people long for the days when we return to face-to-face. Therefore, marketers need to be considering what the new physical event model will look like.
The challenge for marketers is how the virtual event has moved from a place where people would attend as it was something new and different, to a place where there is plethora of virtual events happening at any one time and to stand out is hard.
This has pushed the focus onto the content being delivered. The delegate wants to see how the event will both help them in their personal and professional journey but also ensure they can justify their attendance. Creating a proposition which ticks those two boxes is the key driver for the success of attendance at the event.
The marketeers or event planners who can balance up the benefits of the different mediums to deliver their events and goals, who understand the mediums, appreciate the distinctions and how they will deliver a different ROI will be those who achieve success. This is in a marketplace where the possibilities are expanding exponentially, especially as and when the physical event becomes a regular and trusted environment for any delegate to attend.