The dramatic shift in the meetings and events industry put even the most seasoned marketers on their heels. It’s a new landscape, but one with much more potential. So, if your marketing mix doesn't include meetings or events, you're missing a more complete channel to deliver deep engagement while also reaching large audiences. Still, with uncertainty comes challenges. From in-person, virtual, and hybrid events—the key to success is to have a marketing game plan to take advantage of all these event types, and that requires a new way of thinking.
Uncertainty continues but with it new comes opportunities
The new events landscape continues to have the word “uncertainty” attached to it. A fact of life due to the pandemic, and the variants that continue to surface. However, this means the events channel has expanded for marketers and another word is surfacing alongside the “U Word,” and that is: asynchronous. Or, simply put, an “always on event.”
The digital boom, driven by the need for virtual and hybrid experiences, drove this concept. Thinking of events like a 24-hour news channel is a seismic shift in thinking for marketers—but not a bad one. Event technology now provides an opportunity for marketers to extend and deepen the in-person and virtual attendee experience and engage attendees with more fluidity before, during, and after events. No more one-and-done, move onto the next. Your events can now deliver for you weeks, and even months after they’re “over.”
Break down silos & strengthen internal partnerships
When it comes to events, perhaps no other marketing channel was more impacted by the pandemic than events. When in-person events suddenly stopped, organizations were forced to innovate to survive. It was survival of the fittest, with evolution taking place in real time. Not only did organizations adapt brilliantly, they arguably changed the face of event marketing forever. And the days of planners and marketers working in silos, is over.
Here are a few reasons why:
- More organizations say that demand marketing is responsible for setting event strategy
- In-person events are now more digitally connected
- Successful events are now the result of marketers and planners working hand-in-hand to deliver dynamic, engaging event experiences
Taking advantage of the new event marketing opportunity demands marketers align strategy, technology, and teams to deliver the right event format (virtual, in- person, hybrid) for the right event type (events, conferences, meetings, seminars, training, etc.) for the right audience, at the right stage along the customer journey. And that means collaboration.
A new way of thinking
With uncertainly comes the reflexive action to doing things “the way we’ve always done them.” For marketers in 2022 and beyond, this is no longer a strategy for success. In fact, for many it’s likely a recipe for failure. To thrive, marketers must fold virtual and hybrid experiences into the existing in-person event marketing channel.
This shouldn’t be viewed as a burden, but as a benefit; virtual and hybrid events enhance marketers’ opportunity to reach and engage new and larger audiences, increase brand awareness and engagement, deliver more insights and, ultimately, drive revenue. Building a programmatic events channel requires reimagining traditional roles, removing silos, standardizing processes, incorporating dynamic data, and streamlining technology across the entire marketing function.
The result? Year-round engagement
Marketers spend a lot of time preparing for their events, and with this new digital landscape, planners and marketers have a great way to extend the conversation beyond a single event. All the hard work they have invested isn’t just condensed into two or three days. While nothing can beat in-person, increasingly, marketers should strive for creating communities around events. Before, during, and after. Tech makes that happen.
From pre-event conversation huddles to post-event experiences, like watching sessions they may have missed on-demand or re-watching and sharing their favorite keynotes and educational sessions—"always on” is boon to marketers from a lead generation standpoint. It greatly extends reach. Sure, pre and post-event engagement isn’t necessarily new, but is now both easier and more impactful.
To learn more about this topic, we encourage you to visit Cvent’s interactive hub on the New Event Marketing Opportunity.