08 Aug Face to face events: game over?
We are a digital generation. We live in an online world. The question is no longer whether your business needs to centralise digital marketing, but when.
So what exactly does this mean for face to face marketing? Specifically, for events?
In an era of virtual communication, the virtues of face to face interaction are often sidelined, and the events budget is often the first to be slashed when a marketing department is told to reduce its outgoings. Events can be complex and costly to manage, with travel and accommodation hiking up expenses before you even consider collateral, an exhibition stand and so on.
We’re all aware, whether or not we think about it in much detail, that face to face interaction is perhaps the most effective form of communication available to us. Imagine having to give a key presentation to your boss. Would you rather do it over Skype, or in person? Why do hiring managers almost always follow up phone interviews with in-person ones?
Statistics back up this intuition. The Maritz Institute released a white paper in 2010, sharing their findings that in-person events do a better job of capturing attention, inspiring positive emotions, and building networks and relationships. Meeting Professionals International has found that 40% of prospects convert to customers through face to face meetings, while 28% of current business would be lost without them. Events can operate as such face to face meetings themselves, or they can be a highly effective platform for setting them up in the future.
Meanwhile, Nielsen has found that 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations above all other forms of advertising – and face to face events are, of course, an ideal format for communicating such recommendations. Finally, when we consider that the key to effective digital marketing is compelling content, it’s clear that digital marketers need regular sources of information. Face to face events can supply this information; a survey by HubSpot found that 75% of event attendees cited them as an important source of content.
So face to face events are by no means a dead element of your marketing arsenal – in fact, they could hold far more potential than you’ve ever considered. The trick is to manage them effectively, and, ultimately, ensure that you’re getting face to face with the right people.
This is where digital marketing comes back into play. Social media and email have been identified by marketers as the most cost-effective channels for driving attendees to events. Inbound marketing, and specifically these snappy, highly responsive digital formats, are what will ensure that interested parties – warm leads – are at the front of the line at your events, with key topics already in mind to discuss with you.
Ultimately, face to face events should be approached as part of the sales cycle, part of an end-to-end engagement with your brand. Too many businesses still silo events management, but to get the most out of your exhibitions, trade shows and conferences, they need to be fully integrated into your wider inbound marketing strategy. Events, in fact, form a key crossroads between the physical, and the virtual, the long-standing and the brand-new.
Talk to us today and find out how we can help your business
Get in touch