Covid-19 challenged various industries across the world with its destructive force. The experiential marketing industry was no exception. As an industry that demands physical events to mark a stronghold on the sector, it became difficult to continue functioning amidst the lockdown implemented. But every difficulty brings opportunity, The Pandemic bends the curve towards modern ways of functioning rather than following the mainstream ways. With physical events becoming a distant possibility, virtual events have taken over.
The virtual event model is organized in an online environment connecting the target audience, helping companies in breaking up constraints of the physical environment. With a variety of add-on elements such as 3D immersive events which use virtual reality, live streaming on a 3D stage, engaging breakout sessions, exhibitions with 3D product display, networking lounge, engagement zone, resource Center etc., virtual events have emerged as a valuable tool in attracting a large number of participants present in different geographical areas. The industry and various organizations successfully pivoted virtual events into their structure. Virtual events also provide immense value add over on ground events when it comes to metrics such as operational cost, audience insights and engagement etc.
Virtual events go a long way towards elevating the brand experiences even in the times of Covid-19. More than adoption, the event industry saw a trend that will continue as fast-forward thinking. Various global reports suggest that even when the world is howling with the pandemic, experiential remains a key investment for businesses. As during Covid-19, everyone is bound to stay at home and not attend events or gatherings or watch pop-up shops, etc, but the experiential marketing industry re-emerged rapidly and capitalized on unique experiences associated with their business or brands. Interestingly, the increase in consumption of digital media and decrease in ad spend has pushed businesses towards utilizing the power of virtual events more than ever before. The following trends of PHYGITAL where being physically present and experiencing a brand is not challenged because of circumstances but with a new normal. The adoption of digital technologies like AR, VR, and AI-based experiences has entered our lives in various formats.
Thus, the year saw brands adopting various such technologies and recorded higher viewership for their virtual product launches, digital events, virtual shops to experience and buy products, various giveaways, is all moving the overall marketing space towards experiential marketing with a high level of involvement in the lives of the consumers. Businesses understood that in these tough times the ability to connect deeply with the audience is going to create more brand recall, where virtual events give a new taste to experience the brand.
What does the future hold for virtual events and Experiential Marketing?
There is no denying the fact that events and the experiential industry are going through uncertain times. Will it return to traditional ways Post Covid-19? Whether businesses will continue to spend on event marketing in a world headed towards social distancing and zero-touch? Well, it’s early to answer. The coming year will see the increased adoption of Hybrid Events, a mix of virtual and online events. The culmination is going to reap benefits for the brand and give a new addition to the essence of experiential marketing. Hybrid events will be an essential tool for helping brands stand out from the noise.
It is safe to say that the disruption of virtual events has reinvented experiential marketing. Virtual events are successfully creating a memorable experience for attendees, making an event impactful by deeply connecting with participants and taking it beyond a computer screen. It’s time to experience an event virtually and then give a definitive answer.