30 Mar How to benefit from Experiential Marketing at your next Virtual and Hybrid Events
Experiential marketing utilizes the power of experience to connect with people. By interacting with them in a creative way, through personalized exchanges and emotion-provoking content you can build memorable long-lasting relationships with brands and messages.
This type of marking is about showing something rather than just talking about it, whether that is through sharing experiences rather than stats or encouraging participants to get lost in the event by engaging all the senses.
Alternatively called engagement marketing, experiential marketing allows companies to add value through innovation and interactivity, using tangible and sensory means. Typically, in a live event setting, this could include pop-up shops, brand activations, workshops, or parties. However, we will explore how these principles can be benefited from in a hybrid or virtual application.
Experiential marketing at virtual events
It is important to bring the same excitement to a virtual event as you would to a live one. With a focus on experiential virtual events, it is evident that the emphasis must be on the viewer experience and interaction and how best to share content to achieve this. Although a virtual event can just take the content from a live event and stream it, companies should really understand how people can best consume each piece of content and absorb it to achieve maximum longevity.
Using a virtual events company to handle virtual event management services and online event production, can allow companies to come up with fantastic content and allow the virtual events company to provide the most effective solutions for the manner in which that content is communicated with the audience.
Virtual event platforms can be used as a ‘virtual venue’ and is a great way to elevate the feeling of a virtual event to a true experience. With the ability to customize the visual identity of the platform to represent different brands, with space for sponsors and even ads there is no limit to the individuality each virtual event can have. Taking it a step further you can also modify the experience for each category of the viewer if necessary, from speakers to VIP’s the process can be tailored.
Once the virtual event content has been decided upon, one way to share this in an interactive way is to think of the event as a broadcast – maybe even filmed in a studio for dynamic watching by maximizing online event production. By mixing informational content with behind-the-scenes shots or personal stories as well as collaborative panel sessions or ‘virtual audience’ questions will deliver a unique viewing experience.
Experiential marketing at hybrid events
Although in-person events are returning, many people have begun to embrace that hybrid events are here to stay, as online virtual production has really proved its place. Some people are still not able to attend live events for several reasons and now that we have the virtual event companies’ knowledge and support, hybrid events can be the way forward.
It is important that both in-person and virtual guests have a positive takeaway, and each area of the event is given equal weight. This doesn’t mean that everything must be the same, but each element, both virtual and in-person needs to be considered in the same way. For example, both groups may receive swag, but should it be the same? It might be that the virtual group receives wireless earphones or blue light glasses whereas the in-person group water bottles and sanitizer.
For hybrid events utilizing experiential marketing, there must be an emphasis on manufacturing interactive experiences that inspire and share the desired message throughout every part of the event – in both the live and virtual setting. This can be achieved in many ways, but it is important to think outside the norm – engage multiple streams of interaction and content mediums such as podcasts, virtual keynote speakers, live Q&As, visible virtual live audiences, or hybrid workshops. If you are hosting an in-person gala dinner, why not provide vouchers or send a meal delivery service with drinks to the virtual guests. Or if you have an awards ceremony host live steam and have virtual guests join on zoom and interact with each other.
Hybrid events should be looked at as a positive as they allow companies to have a potentially far wider reach than in-person events and make use of resources that they may not be able to previously, such as international speakers. This digital content will also create a bank of information that is recorded and can be used beyond one single event, be it through on-demand content, social media posts, or promotional activity. In addition, Q&A’s or poll results are not only much easier to collect, analyze and share but can also be gathered from a much larger pool of people when completed digitally.
A great way to facilitate this is with a virtual event company providing a virtual platform and event mobile app; to not only stream the content but host polls, Q&As and gather feedback. They will be able to take the unknown out of the online event production and make it a streamlined process from conception, throughout logistics and registration, beyond the live event and feedback. You can create a personalized space, that fits the brand and message creating an immersive virtual venue – with wider scope including advanced metrics and sponsorship and networking possibilities. With both in-person and virtual guests having access to the event app and having features such as online meetings or chat functions, you will start to build a rapport between both sets of attendees and encourage interaction. You can also have everyone submit questions to polls or contributions via the app so no one group is heard louder. This can be reinforced with activities that can be done together with icebreaker sessions or workshops that can be hosted in-person or online and enjoyed by the whole group, fostering connection.