As the global health crisis winds down, the world looks toward in-person events. Concerts, festivals, theater performances, and conferences are returning in full force, allowing savvy retailers to build in-person relationships with consumers again. While some experts talk about confronting our shared global trauma, most people are ready to experience the joy of community once again.
According to MarTech’s “Event Participation Index,” 60% of marketers intend to return to in-person events by the end of 2023. But while the majority of marketers miss in-person event marketing, many also believe in the power of virtual elements. As such, hybrid events may become a prominent trend in the next few years as event organizers increase attendance through a mixture of online sessions and in-person activities.
In 2023, brands must access more traditional sales skills and techniques while incorporating innovative online strategies from the pandemic. These hybrid techniques might require an adjustment for marketers since so much advertising and promotion 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 businesses can benefit from studying and implementing B2B event strategies. For instance, brands can focus on attendee engagement while also leveraging technology and prioritizing safety. This commitment to consumer and employee wellness will improve the success and safety of events, especially now that most mandates are no longer in effect.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 ones requires a balanced approach considering the competitive market. Listed below are some ways B2C companies can learn from B2B events.
1. Prioritize attendee engagement.
What determines a successful B2C event marketing campaign? Consumer interactions. At B2C events, audiences have the chance to explore specific products and engage with brands. And for many companies, these touchpoints can be enormously valuable in the long term. Unfortunately, Bizzabo’s research shows that although 45% of event organizers say they prioritize interactions, 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. Additionally, during the pandemic, brand partnerships with influencers became commonplace. Nowadays, many B2B events include social media stars in their guest lineups. B2C companies can use these B2B tactics to engage attendees and create a more interactive and immersive experience.
2. Utilize technology.
Naturally, events include some technology. Still, as 2023 continues, event organizers need to realize that incorporating the newest innovations in communication technology can create a fantastic event experience.
In terms of utilizing technology to create more engaging and interactive events, B2C businesses can adopt a few techniques from B2B events. B2B events frequently use event apps, virtual and augmented reality, and live streaming to improve the attendee experience and make the event more memorable.
“Virtual does not just expand reach. It can also complement the physical experience in many ways. Virtual reality and augmented reality are more than passing trade show technology trends. Both can improve the brand experience and the visualization of a product or service,” says Adrian Si, experiential marketing expert and director of marketing strategy for ASV. “Should you equip the floor with video conferencing tools, attendees can take meetings with those attending virtually. Then, the event is not just about watching demos, reading digital brochures, or listening to speeches for virtual attendees. They have the option to interact directly with whoever is on the trade show floor. And depending on the platform used, those not present can pose questions, discuss pain points, and obtain solutions via live Q&A functionalities.”
3. Provide a safe and secure environment.
While COVID-19 cases have decreased over the past year, event organizers still need to be aware of attendee health and well-being. Even in the absence of mandates, event organizers should prioritize providing safe and secure environments. B2C companies can learn from B2B events by implementing enhanced cleaning protocols and visible hygiene stations to create a sense of security and confidence in attendees.
Event organizers are responsible for creating a welcoming, inclusive, and safe environment for everyone. Additionally, communicating clearly and transparently about all safety measures, not just COVID-19-related ones, can help alleviate attendees’ concerns. Organizers can ensure a safe event by utilizing well-trained security, ensuring all areas of event spaces are well-lit and monitored, and maintaining clear signage and exit pathways.
4. Understand the importance of data collection.
Data-first analysis 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, allowing marketers to craft customized experiences.
B2B event organizers understand data best practices; they often collect and analyze data to better understand attendee behavior and preferences. B2C businesses can benefit from this practice as well. Utilize surveys, social listening, and other data-collection methods to improve experience personalization. Additionally, by advertising the event via social media, B2C event organizers can promote the event to those most interested in attending.
Planning the perfect marketing event is no easy feat, particularly in the wake of a global pandemic. However, as organizers switch from virtual events to hybrid and in-person ones, B2C companies can improve their turnouts by depending on B2B event tactics. Organizers that focus on attendee engagement, utilize technology, create safe environments, and collect consumer data can produce memorable, impactful events.