Getting guidance and doing business cannot replace the value of personal events. Therefore, meetings and events before the COVID-19 pandemic accounted for 25 to 30 percent of B2B marketing budgets.
Today, after months of widespread closings in the global economy, organizations have switched to virtual formats to keep their events alive. But the landscape is starting to change: small, manageable live encounters sometimes take place amid waves of closure and reopening.
Where face-to-face meetings will take place again, new formats and trends will determine the course of marketing opportunities in the years to come. This article describes three of these trends and explains how you can take advantage of them while keeping your visitors safe.
- Hybrid is the future of opportunity marketing
89% of event planners say that the virtual elements, even if taken over in person, will remain essential to the strategy of the post-pandemic event, according to a global survey by Aventri.
As the name suggests, hybrid events combine personal and remote or virtual speakers and participants. For example, you can host 100 people in one place and share content with 1,000 virtual participants worldwide. The virtual components also provide an excellent backup plan to save an event in an emergency and participants who cannot travel.
In addition to the virtual format and the ability to reduce risks, hybrid resources serve only to expand the public, build dynamic experiences and create differentiated sponsorship opportunities.
You can successfully run your future hybrid opportunities:
- Realize that hybrid encounters attract two different target groups. On-site guests have plenty to do between sessions, from meetings to dinner and entertainment, but that is not the case for remote visitors who cannot tolerate an eight-hour conference day.
- Do not try to reproduce the experience of a live event in the digital world; it will inevitably fail. Keep any audience engaged, but use technology to do it in almost different ways.
- Short, quick sessions are best for remote participants. Choose your best sessions and keep them for an hour or less. Remember to reduce your conference day to four instead of eight. Making content concise, without omitting important information, increases audience engagement and retention.
- Involve digital participants with interactive tools such as live questions and answers, chat, video chat, recording, and social sharing. Instant polls and polls allow presenters to tailor their sessions to the needs of the audience. Increase engagement in creative ways. For example, some merchants offer 15-minute music breaks with DJs and chat music requests.
- Facilitate interaction between local and online visitors. Why not allow them to filter the list of participants based on common interests? Give them the tools to schedule individual video calls during and after sessions.
- Create new revenue streams. There are many possibilities with hybrid features: you can feature sponsors on your virtual welcome page, or you can host sponsored digital sessions, showrooms, networking rooms, and game challenges.
- Build a digital library of recorded content. Marketers promote different levels of access through individual packages and group packages. Digital libraries provide a critical path to the future: even after restrictions are lifted, many companies will be afraid of personal contacts. Conference registrations also extend the scope of your event to people who are unable to travel due to health problems or budget cuts.
- Data and analytics will play a critical role
In the current climate, it is essential to show that investment in opportunities pays off.
A major advantage of hybrid and virtual events is that it is easier to involve the data. When participants make contact, all actions are traceable. This includes exhibitor page views, scheduled meetings, generated instructions, submission of sessions, length of stay, documents, polls, polls, languages, downloads, social media likes, and more.
The data provides a window into the participants’ preferences and weaknesses. Successful companies use this intelligence to enrich the customer experience.
To start, you can recommend sessions, exhibitors, and other attendees that customers can contact based on common interests. After the event, continue these discussions and share white papers and articles that correspond to the participants’ priorities.
In the long run, the analysis provides a better toolbox to quantify the event’s ROI and improve marketing. Modern event management software solutions align with marketing automation and CRM platforms, which create a more complete picture of purchasing behavior over time. Using a multi-touch attribution model, you can track the visitor’s journey during the purchase process. You demonstrate how your opportunities generate revenue and contribute to the company’s bottom line.
But the benefits of event data go beyond measuring ROI. New insights from the buyer can help inform everything from list development to the main generation, sales priorities, and content strategy. Use this business intelligence to improve sales and marketing performance across the board.
- Check-in and contactless service are becoming the new standard
The pandemic forced organizations to be creative and adopt new technology solutions to meet strict requirements for face-to-face events, which require contactless and socially distant procedures for the safety of guests.
For this, modern badges and bracelets have short-range communication (NFC). This is the same technology like Apple Pay. There is no need to exchange business cards or manage money – NFC laptops allow contactless payments, lead recycling, access control, session monitoring, material distribution, and more.
Event reservations are another example of how contactless meetings are. Between shipping and packaging, traditional badges are usually processed before reaching the registration counter. Also, convenient check-in usually means waiting a long time while people line up.
With the help of modern check-in solutions, visitors can print their own badges at home or on-site. Automated on-site scanning stations provide quick, contactless access to events.
When major commercial efforts are resumed, large-scale facial recognition software can create personalized, contactless reception. The latest systems check the registration, greet each participant with their name, and print a personalized badge in seconds. The essential elements for the success of facial recognition are excellent cameras, lighting, processing power, and a facial recognition mechanism.
Compliance with privacy regulations is also essential. Make posting photos optional for attendees. Do not save the images; instead, use them to create digital signatures for an occasion.