Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has receded, it’s the perfect time for brands to get started on some strong event marketing. After years of lockdowns, restrictions, cancellations, and diminished human interaction, consumers are excited to return to the world by getting active, traveling, and going out.
Brand activation events are a great way to leverage this excitement and use it to your business’s advantage. That’s why the moment is ripe for event marketing.
How the Pandemic Changed Marketing
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the entire marketing industry in a lot of ways. Some brands used this time to create or develop their online presence due to restrictions, while others saw opportunities to get out into the field, since there was less competition.
Many brands pulled back from traditional forms of marketing like radio and print. With more people working from home and not spending as much time listening to the radio while commuting, radio spots lost attractiveness. Meanwhile, the newspaper industry continued–and continues–to decline each year.
During the pandemic, headline news stories also raised the public’s consciousness around issues of social injustice. That made companies focus more on their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and integrating these efforts into their marketing campaigns.
One of the most striking changes, however, has been the increasing importance of event marketing.
Why Now Is the Time for Event Marketing
Dr. Anthony Fauci has called COVID-19 the worst pandemic in 100 years, but coming out of it has opened another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Savvy marketers can use brand activations to capitalize on people’s desire for the authentic connection and human interaction that only such events provide.
In addition, there’s still less competition in the event marketing space than in other forms of consumer outreach. Only some brands are starting to bring back their field marketing teams, which means businesses can get a jump on their competitors if they act now.
Moreover, the best part of hosting events is that they aren’t a huge investment. Brands can go out, test the waters, and see how these activations perform. The barrier to entry is low, while the benefits could be high. Doing events can open up whole new markets and revenue streams for companies.
If that incentive isn’t already enough, most event coordinators are so excited about producing brand activations again that they’re willing to give clients a discount. Businesses have all the negotiating power at the moment, so don’t be afraid to ask “Is this the best price?” You can currently get even more value for every dollar you spend on event marketing than usual.
That’s why now is the perfect time to remind consumers about your brand and tell them your story. Let them know you made it to the other side, since plenty of companies were less fortunate. Tell them how your business weathered the pandemic, have a conversation with them about how resilient your team has been, or educate them about your new products or services.
Today’s consumers love it when brands speak to them directly and give them that immediate connection because they feel like the business shares the same likes, interests, and values as them. By relating to them on a personal level during brand activation events, you can cultivate real feelings of affinity and warmth toward your business. At the same time, they make consumers more willing to listen to your brand’s messages and understand your perspective.
Nevertheless, event marketing itself has changed due to the pandemic.
How Event Marketing has Changed
For most industries, the fundamentals of event marketing remain the same as before the pandemic. Brands must formulate their objectives ahead of time, develop attention-grabbing events that attract the target audience, and engage them effectively.
The food and beverage industry is an exception, however. Due to the pandemic, most people have a heightened awareness of germs and how they spread. Before, food and beverage brands commonly deployed representatives to grocery stores to set out items on trays or tables without sneeze guards, but this practice can seem taboo to some customers today.
Accordingly, consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands should avoid offering unpackaged samples, since these still present concerns for a certain percentage of the population. Most people find securely sealed, individually wrapped samples more acceptable than sharing food with strangers today.
Regardless of what sector your company is in, the pandemic has driven home the importance of always being prepared to pivot. This is true for your event marketing efforts as well. What if one of your brand ambassadors gets sick? Do you have adequate staff? Are you prepared to move your event outside so that the host location can create a more open flow inside? If difficulties do crop up, just stay calm and stay flexible, adapting to the real-world conditions on the ground.
Event Marketing Brings Handsome Rewards
Given all the advantages of event marketing in this post-pandemic world, your brand can expect to be handsomely rewarded by venturing in this direction. The only way to know what event marketing can do for your business is to try a few brand activations and evaluate their effectiveness, so get out there, start hosting events, and make some powerful new connections!