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The Marketing Guidebook for In-person and Hybrid events

 By Bhavnesh Sawhney Co-Founder & Director, FB Celebrations

Rapid inclination towards virtual events may have been the product of the year in 2020, but the consensus is that in-person and hybrid events are here to stay and exist cordially as virtual trade shows and other such events can’t replace the benefits of face-to-face interaction. However, for a short time, like every other industry, the events industry also pivoted from occasionally offering virtual and hybrid event options to providing those experiences as a mainstay but in a recent survey of 20,000+ brand marketers, 78 percent are keen on harnessing the twin powers of events – in person and hybrid that connects local in-person gatherings with a global virtual audience.

Shaped by the lessons learned, the event organizers are now relearning and reshaping how they are structuring event format, length, attendance, venue and more by blending the most dynamic elements of virtual and in-person to create immersive experiences. It is the result of these immersive learning’s  that in-person and hybrid events experienced a 255% increase between the fourth quarter of 2021 and the second quarter of 2022. In addition, so far in 2022, 81% of events have had the elements of in-person model.

Marketing Guidebook for in-person and hybrid events

From traditionally focused on planning and logistics to now onboarding enhanced skill sets around data analysis, marketing operations and digital production, the event management industry has come a long way. But as the event experience leaders are navigating the new world of in-person and hybrid events, they need a structured guidebook that not only provides the audience with an immersive experience but also equally complements event organizers’ marketability and visibility. So, the following is the integrated marketing guidebook that would help you with in-person and hybrid events-

Connect the audience to a specific purpose

In the quest for scaling up audience engagement, the next generation of human connections relies on digital connection but nothing can beat the age-old idea of face-to-face interaction, so in order to gain the audience’s attention try to commit to a bold purpose early and tailor your audience to that purpose. Every different event attracts different audiences and generates different outcomes, so don’t strictly adhere to silos of management, take time to understand the hearts and minds of the target audience and create tailored outcomes.

In order to successfully implement two different event experiences, in-person and hybrid, you also need to learn the art of finding the sweet spot between delivering the two and creating a unified synergy. And the best approach to unifying these two is by choosing the right hybrid event technology and platform that can facilitate a smooth connection between your in-person and virtual attendees to ensure complete experience.

Have a well-designed and functional promotions strategy

As per a statistics, 60% of virtual event owners say they use social media to drive registrations, 76% of event marketers consider email the single most effective way, 51% of B2B companies use their business partners and 49% of marketers say that programmatic advertising is a large contributor to event registrations. So, the options are wide and you need to understand what works best for your target audience and then optimize your email, social media, PR, and advertising campaigns.

Include data to understand your return on events

Leveraging data can be a powerful marketing channel to drive business results. The captured data through assessment can offer audiences better, more valuable experiences and personalize experiences. For a long time, in-person events have been a black box, impenetrable to data collection, but today the industry is embracing and applying the data collection lessons they have learned from previous events as they go forward.

Leverage learnings from past events to influence your marketing initiatives

Even if you’re organizing your first hybrid event, this probably isn’t your first rodeo for marketing event initiatives. So, leverage learnings from your previous experiences and track KPIs as to what works and what doesn’t for these online and offline events as they can help you find the best medium to promote events moving forward. So, this means that your virtual efforts, in-person efforts, and your entire hybrid event as a whole will all need their own KPIs assigned for measurement.

Plan for the unknown

Incorporating hybrid events into your total event program was not in the picture a couple of years ago but today they are a key piece of the event management industry as we navigate the next unknown. They bring essential flexibility by helping you save on costs, increase your audience reach, provide numerous branding opportunities for the exhibitors and organisers, capitalising on objectives, and overall help to cultivate maximum event ROI. And as in-person continues to return, the organisers need to broaden their horizon and approach in designing their purpose and evolving data practices. Both models have longer shelf-life, in comparison to complete virtual events, so by striking the right balance between these two, organisers can achieve multiple returns from the same event.

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