What B2C companies can learn from B2B events in a post-pandemic world

by The Insights

As the global health crisis winds down, the world turns to in-person events. Concerts, festivals, theater performances and conferences are making a comeback, allowing savvy retailers to reconnect face-to-face with consumers. While some experts talk about confronting our common global trauma, most people are ready to experience the joy of community again.

According to MarTech’s Event Attendance Index, 60% of marketers intend to return to in-person events by the end of 2023. But while the majority of marketers are missing out on event marketing in person, many also believe in the power of virtual elements. As such, hybrid events could become a mainstream trend over the next few years as event organizers increase attendance through a mix of online sessions and in-person activities.

In 2023, brands need to access more traditional sales skills and techniques while integrating innovative online strategies stemming from the pandemic. These hybrid techniques might need an adjustment for marketers, as much advertising and promotion has shifted to the virtual sphere in 2020. By reinvesting in physical events, companies can offer consumers the opportunity to try new products, engage with services, build trust and connect with their brands in a deeper way.

As the world transitions to a post-pandemic environment, B2C companies can benefit from studying and implementing B2B event strategies. For example, brands can focus on engaging attendees while leveraging technology and prioritizing safety. This commitment to consumer and employee well-being will enhance the success and safety of events, especially now that most mandates are no longer in effect.

B2B Event Marketing Techniques for B2C Companies

In 2023, reaching new customers and retaining existing customers requires a balanced approach given the competitive market. Here are some ways B2C companies can learn from B2B events.

1. Prioritize participant engagement.

What determines the success of a B2C event marketing campaign? Interactions with consumers. At B2C events, audiences have the opportunity to explore specific products and engage with brands. And for many businesses, these touchpoints can be extremely valuable in the long run. Unfortunately, Bizzabo’s research shows that although 45% of event organizers say they prioritize interactions, most organizers focus on attendance rather than engagement.

B2B event tactics such as networking sessions, interactive booths, and Q&A sessions encourage attendees to participate and engage. Additionally, during the pandemic, brand partnerships with influencers have become commonplace. Many B2B events these days include social media stars in their guest lists. B2C companies can use these B2B tactics to engage attendees and create a more interactive and immersive experience.

2. Use technology.

Naturally, events include some technology. Yet as 2023 drags on, event planners need to realize that incorporating the latest innovations in communications technology can create a fantastic event experience.

In terms of using technology to create more engaging and interactive events, B2C companies can adopt a few B2B event techniques. B2B events frequently use event apps, virtual and augmented reality, and live streaming to enhance the attendee experience and make the event more memorable.

“Virtual doesn’t just extend reach. It can also supplement the physical experience in several ways. Virtual reality and augmented reality are more than passing technology trends at trade shows. Both can enhance the brand experience and viewing of a product or service,” says Adrian Si, experiential marketing expert and chief marketing strategy officer for ASV. “If you equip the floor with video conferencing tools, attendees can have meetings with attendees virtually. Then the event isn’t just about watching demos, reading digital brochures, or listening to speeches for virtual attendees. They have the ability to interact directly with anyone in the room. And depending on the platform used, absentees can ask questions, discuss pain points, and get solutions via live Q&A features.

3. Provide a safe and secure environment.

Although COVID-19 cases have declined over the past year, event organizers should still be mindful of the health and well-being of attendees. Even in the absence of mandates, event organizers must prioritize providing safe and secure environments. B2C companies can learn from B2B events by implementing enhanced cleaning protocols and visible hygiene stations to create a sense of safety and trust among attendees.

Event organizers are responsible for creating a welcoming, inclusive and safe environment for all. Additionally, communicating clearly and transparently about all safety measures, not just those related to COVID-19, can help ease attendee concerns. Organizers can ensure a safe event by using well-trained security, ensuring that all areas of event spaces are well-lit and monitored, and maintaining clear signage and exit routes.

4. Understand the importance of data collection.

Data-driven analytics and machine learning have revolutionized the world of retail. As artificial intelligence and algorithmic promotion evolve, so should B2C event marketing. Personalization and consumer-relevant recommendations are the way of the future, enabling marketers to create personalized experiences.

B2B event organizers understand data best practices; they often collect and analyze data to better understand participant behavior and preferences. B2C companies can also benefit from this practice. Use surveys, social listening, and other data collection methods to improve the personalization of the experience. Additionally, by advertising the event via social media, B2C event organizers can promote the event to those most interested in attending.

Planning the perfect marketing event is no small feat, especially in the wake of a global pandemic. However, as organizers move from virtual events to hybrid and in-person events, B2C companies can improve their attendance by leveraging B2B event tactics. Organizers that focus on attendee engagement, use technology, create safe environments, and collect consumer data can produce memorable and impactful events.

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