The pandemic brought with it the need to adapt and change in all spheres of life. Bringing some hard truths home about life, work, and our world in general and particular, COVID made us all sit up and have a thorough look at life with a fresh perspective, which demanded an ability to adapt to the new normal. Survival of the fittest in a new avatar.
Amongst the many changes and trends, one of the most impactful changes to the professional world came from the internet. During the long-isolated periods, it was the internet that kept us connected with one another, including saving many businesses and jobs that otherwise would have shut down. The pandemic underlined and highlighted the urgency to change with the times, which perhaps many of us were reluctant to do so earlier. To remain relevant and in business, it is essential to be progressive and tech-savvy.
Impact on the event industry due to the pandemic
The event industry suffered a massive dip initially, just like the other industries, till we slowly began adapting and innovating new ways to remain in business and stay connected. Since events are about people, it was essential to innovate ways to continue with the running of organisations and the many verticals that support the corporate and business world. Event agencies in the UK and event marketing worldwide have also adapted, inventing new ways and methods to keep the business afloat.
With the health risks and the need to stay safe being the new routine, in-person events have become an alarming prospect with the CDC warnings and guidelines and the accompanying fear. It has become clear that the virtual is here to stay and has become a significant part of our lives.
Conducting business and running companies has always been a face-to-face activity. Human contact played a considerable role in forming contacts, networking, and bonding, with events being the glue that made this possible and more straightforward. In the new normal, this was no longer feasible, so the events were now being designed to be held online with virtually viable activities.
New Approach in Event Marketing Post-COVID era
The creative event agencies are not only working hard to create and introduce new concepts for events, but they also needed to figure out new marketing methods and strategies.
- Hybrid Work Mode
A combination of in-person and virtual events in which limited physical attendance can now be shared virtually, allowing 1000s of participants to participate. A few points to keep in mind for organising and marketing the hybrid mode:
- Hybrid involves two different types of audiences, where on-site attendees have the option to remain occupied during the long periods of the gathering, which is not practically possible for virtual attendees. Thus, an innovatively conceptualised event will attract more attention and participation. This concept engages the virtual and on-site participants, with the marketing plan packaging the virtual activities attractively and highlighting the attractive features. For instance, fun and engaging activities are now transformed into online games, which are equally engaging and valuable for team building and bonding.
- Sessions are brief and fast-paced to keep the remote audience interested, choosing the more relevant sessions and keeping them short with concise content highlighting the critical points and features. A short, precise session will have greater engagement and retention.
- Employing various virtual tools to create sessions that involve and engage the participants. Like the live chat, Q&A, quizzes, etc. An event agency in the UK has a DJ on board, offering musical intervals where the participants can have fun, dance and even send in music requests via the chat box.
- The digital library for recorded content expands the reach to a broader audience, ensuring that those unable to travel or attend the event do not miss out on the main content.
The virtual world is flexible, with myriad options and opportunities to offer sponsors. The possibilities of a more comprehensive presence and reach will attract more sponsors, creating a new revenue system by offering personalised digital spots, sessions, and pages to showcase and exhibit their products and services, as well as fun activities built around the sponsor’s brand, like games and quiz sessions. The sponsors can offer prizes to the winners, and so on.
- Critical role of Data
Browsers and search engines automatically register and record virtual footprints. With the help of data analysis, companies can retrieve the virtual footprints to understand their target market better. This understanding helps improve the marketing plans and campaigns by making them more audience specific.
- Social Media:
Whether we approve or not, social media is a new reality and here to stay. The increasing number of people joining and being active on social media sites makes the sites the new ground for marketing and promotion.
- The marketing of any event begins with the event’s announcement and is followed up by a cleverly crafted marketing campaign to keep the target audience interested.
- Creating hashtags and posting teasers, pertinent details, posters, or names of sponsors with the hashtags widens the marketing scope. Use social media to engage the audience in exciting competitions and activities.
- Building anticipation for the event will increase interest, which will grow with each post, tweet, or retweet. Social media is like a vast ocean where every action has a ripple effect. An excellent marketing tool to promote events in the new ordinary hybrid world.
Although slowly and gradually we are returning to real life, with the existing presence of COVID and the apprehensions accompanying it, many people still prefer to maintain physical distance and taking measures to avoid an outbreak. Conducting business and attending events virtually is preferred now, rather than risking their health by meeting people physically. The business world recognises and understands this fact and has adapted well to the hybrid work mode, leading to healthier lifestyles and relationships, which is a much-needed and welcome change.