COVID-19 or the coronavirus has gripped the world, and whether you’re organizing events yourself or inviting clients to concerts, football matches or other occasions, most event marketing efforts have come to an abrupt halt. We won’t be organizing any events for the near future, but what will become of event marketing after the virus has made its rounds? Are we all going to flock back to our in-person events or has something changed fundamentally?
Event marketing after the coronavirus: what will change?
The state of event marketing in times of lockdown
The impact of the coronavirus on events is quite clear. Driving your sales by creating better client relations through in-person events simply isn’t possible during lockdown. Fortunately, human creativity knows no bounds and event professionals across the globe are finding new ways to bring their communities together. From live streams and group calls to online concerts and fairs, event organizers are still trying to find their way. As is to be expected, events are currently shifting to online formats. For the business-to-business environment, we see that webinars are an effective way of online event marketing. But do they tick all the boxes?
Webinars clearly offer some advantages for your customers and prospects, making them an attractive alternative for in-person events. Even without an almost worldwide lockdown.
- Clients won’t get stuck in traffic or on public transport, but can dial in from the comfort of their home offices. This means fewer obstacles to overcome and less effort required, which might increase the number of people attending your online event.
- A larger audience doesn’t necessarily require more budget. Expenses won’t grow proportionally to the number of attendees, so events are more cost-effective. Make sure to check the price plans of the tools you use.
- The content of your webinar can be recycled on your website or social media to attract new prospects.
In-person events will be back!
We’re convinced that actual, physical events will return in the post-corona era. Why, you might ask? Real-life experiences create shared memories that shape our client relations more than any online format can hope to do. Casual conversations in the margin of your event, for example, aren’t really possible during a webinar, but it’s these informal moments that strengthen the bonds with your customers – and it’s often these moments that lay the foundation of future business. What’s more, capturing the undivided attention of your audience when they’re sat behind a computer is a challenge, if only because crucial parts of communication, such as body language or touching and using your physical products, are often lost through an online medium.
The final balance
The exact future of event marketing is hard to predict. Budgets might come under pressure and we can only guess how long this exceptional situation will last. In any case, in the initial period after lockdown we expect fewer events and fewer people attending them. But we believe event marketing remains an important tool to drive business and that it will gradually be ramped up. We think companies that have discovered the advantages of online events might go for hybrid event models. To have the best of both worlds, online and offline events will be combined in future event strategies. Part of the audience will attend in the physical room while others join the webinar.
High ROI events will become even more essential to event marketing, and getting the right guests to attend is a prerequisite for this, whether they are online or in-person. This implies a well-oiled invitation process that uses the right tools for marketing and sales to get a full house with the most valuable guests. In addition, the ideal tools allow you to easily send out the right communication at the right time to your clients and prospects as well as track their registration for your event.
Finally, we believe in the value of tracking attendance and event reporting for all event types combined, including webinars. By integrating your event marketing tool with CRM or marketing automation tools, you increase your ability to analyse and report on your event strategy as a whole and close the loop.
To prepare for the post-corona era of event marketing, we have integrated the follow-up of webinars into our software. Use the webinar tool of your preference and simply add the link of your online session to our app. You will then be able to handle everything – inviting, tracking and reporting – in our application, both desktop and on the go, making it easy for sales and marketing to work together. Want to experience this new feature first-hand? We’re happy to demo it for you.