As the global health crisis eases, the world looks to in-person events. Concerts, festivals, theatrical performances and conferences are back in full force, enabling savvy retailers to build personal relationships with consumers again. While some experts talk about facing our shared global trauma, most people are ready to experience the joy of community again.
According to MarTech’s “Event Participation Index,” 60% of marketers plan to return to in-person events by the end of 2023. But while the majority of marketers miss out on marketing in-person events, many also believe in the power of virtual elements. As such, hybrid events could become a prominent trend in the coming years as event organizers increase attendance through a combination of online sessions and in-person activities.
In 2023, brands will need to access more traditional sales skills and techniques while integrating innovative online strategies from the pandemic. These hybrid techniques may require an adjustment for marketers as so much advertising and promotion has moved to the virtual sphere in 2020. By reinvesting in physical events, companies can offer consumers the chance to try new products, engage with services, build trust and connect with their brands in a deeper way.
As the world transitions into a post-pandemic environment, B2C companies can benefit from studying and implementing B2B event strategies. For example, brands can focus on visitor engagement while also leveraging technology and prioritizing safety. This commitment to consumer and employee well-being will improve the success and safety of events, especially now that most mandates are no longer in effect.
B2B event marketing techniques for B2C companies
In 2023, reaching new customers and retaining existing customers requires a balanced approach given the competitive market. Below are some ways B2C companies can learn from B2B events.
1. Prioritize participant engagement.
What determines a successful B2C event marketing campaign? Interactions with consumers. B2C events give audiences the opportunity to discover specific products and interact with brands. And for many companies, these touchpoints can be extremely valuable in the long run. Unfortunately, this is evident from the research of Bizzabo 45% of event organizers say they prioritize interaction, most organizers focus on attendance over engagement.
B2B event tactics such as networking sessions, interactive booths, and Q&A sessions encourage attendees to participate and engage. In addition, brand partnerships with influencers became commonplace during the pandemic. These days, many B2B events have social media stars in their guest lineups. B2C companies can use these B2B tactics to engage visitors and create a more interactive and immersive experience.
2. Use technology.
Events, of course, involve some technology. But as 2023 progresses, event organizers need to realize that integrating the latest innovations in communications technology can create a great event experience.
In terms of using technology to create more engaging and interactive events, B2C companies can adopt some techniques from B2B events. B2B events often use event apps, virtual and augmented reality, and live streaming to enhance the attendee experience and make the event more memorable.
“Virtual doesn’t just increase reach. It can also complement the physical experience in many ways. Virtual reality and augmented reality are more than passing technology trends at trade shows. Both can improve the brand experience and the visualization of a product or service.” say Adrian Si, experiential marketing expert and director of marketing strategy for ASV. “Should you equip the floor with video conferencing tools, attendees can have virtual meetings with attendees. Then the event is not just about watching demos, reading digital brochures or listening to speeches for virtual attendees. They have the ability to communicate directly with anyone on the trading floor. And depending on the platform used, non-attendees can ask questions, discuss pain points and obtain solutions through live Q&A features.”
3. Provide a safe environment.
While COVID-19 cases have declined event organizers should still be aware of the health and well-being of the participants over the past year. Even in the absence of mandates, event organizers must prioritize providing safe environments. B2C companies can learn from B2B events by implementing improved cleaning protocols and visible hygiene stations to give attendees a sense of security and confidence.
Event organizers are responsible for creating a welcoming, inclusive and safe environment for everyone. In addition, communicating clearly and transparently about all safety measures, not just COVID-19 related measures, can help address attendee concerns. Organizers can ensure a safe event by using well-trained security, ensuring that all areas of event spaces are well lit and monitored, and by maintaining clear signage and exit paths.
4. Understand the importance of data collection.
Data-first analytics and machine learning have revolutionized the retail world. As artificial intelligence and algorithmic promotion evolve, so should B2C event marketing. Personalization and consumer-relevant recommendations are the way of the future, enabling marketers to create tailored experiences.
B2B event organizers understand data best practices; they often collect and analyze data to better understand visitor behavior and preferences. B2C companies can also benefit from this practice. Use surveys, social listening, and other data collection methods to improve experience personalization. In addition, by promoting the event through social media, B2C event organizers can promote the event to those most interested in attending.
Planning the perfect marketing event is no small feat, especially in the wake of a global pandemic. However, as organizers move from virtual events to hybrid and in-person events, B2C companies can improve their attendance by relying on B2B event tactics. Organizers that focus on attendee engagement, use technology, create safe environments, and collect consumer data can deliver memorable, impactful events.