Marketers lacked trust in virtual platforms that were not tried and tested, and, while different platforms have different functionalities, none can replicate all the features of a physical event.
EI has reacted to these challenges by building new frameworks to assess event quality, as formats have undergone change. For instance, content booths or microsites replacing physical booths, or live polling being incorporated into sessions to keep audiences engaged.
Audience engagement versus post-Covid fatigue: Innovating with content
In an age of content saturation, snackable and punchy content delivers results. Our research suggests that the power of interactive and video content has increased, as visual content is more memorable. To that end, marketers have been successfully repurposing existing content into interactive infographics to make it more accessible and using data from Q&A sessions to generate content that can be used to re-engage attendees post-event.
To overcome ‘virtual fatigue’ and increase audience engagement, you need a hook beyond great content and speakers. Incentivising audiences and increasing the human touch in virtual settings can make a world of difference. For example, leveraging mail-outs like tasting boxes and offering live virtual experiences like whiskey tastings, live fitness sessions and competitions with prizes.
Future gazing: Hybrid events on the horizon
The sentiment from our barometer respondents shows that marketing teams have predicted the shift towards hybrid event models, and the B2B businesses that will have an advantage in this environment are those that have developed a marketing strategy integrating physical and virtual engagements.
Virtual and hybrid event models are here to stay, and they offer a wealth of benefits to businesses, including higher audience retention levels, content longevity and amplified brand positioning. This has accelerated the need for marketing teams to collaborate with events teams and start to embed events into their marketing strategy. The remit of marketing teams is changing to accommodate this shift through upskilling to run and manage digital events, data and real-time analytics through martech and digital tools. Teams can plug this new digital channel into ROI measurement, as well as to integrate virtual events into wider content campaigns.
Barometer 3 sneak peek: The suppliers’ view
The final iteration of the barometer in 2020 will be incorporating the views of third-party publishers, B2B media and event suppliers to gather insights from the supplier side, as well as continuing to track B2B Marketers’ sentiment, challenges and trends. This will highlight marketers’ views of how their roles and activities are adapting over the coming months, alongside suppliers’ upcoming plans. Some questions EI is asking suppliers are as follows:
- What are your strongest alternatives for clients looking to plug the gap created by the lack of F2F events?
- What is your biggest challenge in providing networking opportunities at virtual events?
- When are you planning for F2F events to return to your portfolio? Will you be considering hybrid?
- What do you expect to be the lasting changes to your business as a result of Covid-19?
Tapping into the thinking behind strategic planning from events and media providers will help us to garner a wealth of information on how the B2B events and media industries are moving in these uncertain times, reflecting on what has worked well so far and what their next steps are. Positioning third-party views alongside B2B marketers’ views will enable us to identify if the media suppliers’ plans match current marketers’ needs, which is, ultimately, the goal in these turbulent times.
The barometer is designed to track sentiment, challenges and trends among B2B marketers as they navigate and pivot to the new normal, offering a peer group collective view of how the outlook is moving. So far, EI has run two barometer editions in 2020 (April – May and May – August) to map how sentiment changes over time. These take the form of fast-pulse surveys, with questions amended for each iteration, based on changes in the market.
Each barometer incorporated the views of approximately 60 participants across tech, consultancy and FS firms, resulting in 28 key insights in total. Here, we present some of the top insights across the two barometers: https://ei-a.turtl.co/story/ei-go-to-market-barometer-summary
Source : https://www.b2bmarketing.net/en-gb/resources/blog/pivoting-new-norm-eis-go-market-strategy-barometer-2020
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