The last few years have seen many marketers take events, conferences and seminars off the marketing plan and instead focus more of their resources on digital according to Ryan Taylor from audiovisual outsourcing company, AVPartners.
The main reason for this is cost. Events are seen as more costly than seemly inexpensive, and sometimes free, digital channels. However, digital activities cannot replace the powerful human element that events can deliver.
In fact, it shouldn’t be one or the other. Marketers should be using a combination of both offline and online marketing tactics to achieve cut through.
While digital marketing can reach tech savvy audiences with bite size information to elicit an action, it requires a large effort and volume of content to get a response; hence the conversion rate can be quite low. But with events, you hold an audience’s attention much more effectively and are able to use the human element combined with great AV and staging techniques to create a lasting positive impression that results in a much higher conversion rate.
Before marketers make the decision to strike events off the marketing plan, they should consider that events have the ability to:
Directly and physically influence an audience
In an increasingly digital world where many interactions occur online, events provide a human and physical element which can be powerful and influential, leading to higher conversion rates and hence an increased ROI
Share content in a truly immersive and engaging manner
With increasing focus on the impact of effective content on customer behaviour, events remain one of the best ways to deliver content in a way that is immersive, erasing ambiguity and creating engagement because of person-to-person interaction.
Convert customers while they are in a state of interest and excitement
In a world where marketers are fighting to gain attention from increasingly distracted audiences, events provide the opportunity to focus the attention on a single proposition, person or idea. They can also create excitement and leave audiences in a state of anticipation, the perfect opportunity where you are more likely to be effective in achieving sales conversions.
Create a meaningful and memorable experience for your customers that correlates to a positive brand experience
The importance of positive branding and consumer sentiment cannot be underestimated. Events can allow you to leave a positive imprint on your audience by creating an in-the-flesh, in-the-moment wow factor that has a lasting effect and can stimulate positive word of mouth.
Engage your audience to become your marketers to amplify your message beyond your event via social media
The combination of physical and digital can be powerful. People attending and posting to social media about an event can quickly amplify to become trending topics. Savvy event organisers that use social media hashtags, handles and pages can take the brand beyond the physical event.
Events can play an important role in the marketing mix. They allow brands physical access to target audiences, can have a big impact on brand association and can help to deliver on sales conversion objectives. Even with squeezed budgets, events can still deliver one of the highest ROI of any other marketing tactic.