Bringing back physical experiences doesn’t mean abandoning the digital

Marketers should not take the return to face-to-face events (conferences, symposiums, trade shows, etc.) for granted. Conversely, and in most cases, a hybrid strategy that combines physical and digital experience will be more effective. according to According to a Bizzabo survey of professional event organizers in Europe for the summer of 2022, 68% of organizers plan to integrate a virtual component into their future face-to-face event. Thus, this number already shows the interest of companies in the hybrid organization of future events. By multiplying the experiences, customers will have all the freedom to choose the format that suits them best.

If the excitement of the return of conferences or other face-to-face congresses is palpable (according to the Union Française Française des Métiers de l’Evénement, the activity rate in France in 2022 was about 85% compared to 2019), it is possible to ignore what digital technology teaches and brings not. Nevertheless, the need for physical contact has arisen during the lockdown, and this human contact is essential to stimulate the trading and purchasing process. Therefore, the optimal solution is to meet consumers where they are, offering them both physical and digital options.

Extension of uncertainties

It is likely that we will continue to thrive in this dynamic and changing environment for some time to come. Right now, there really aren’t any absolutes, and the “rules” around digital and physical are changing. We are gradually coming to terms with what we have experienced in the last two years and it is impossible to predict when the situation will stabilize. Face-to-face events will likely experience an increase in participation due to pandemic frustration and digital fatigue, but they certainly won’t be what they used to be.

Preservation of flexibility

Marketers have always had to adapt. It is more important today. While it may be tempting to go back to the “old way,” organizing a face-to-face event now requires a new approach. The business environment is more dynamic and constantly requires the ability to interpret and react quickly to change, whether internally, with your team, or externally with customers and suppliers. Patience, empathy and a sense of humor can help teams do their best to face all these developments.

Focus on your goals to meet each moment

How do you juggle an ever-changing marketing mix, ever-increasing customer expectations, and the ability to meet new challenges? By focusing on well-defined missions. It has never been more important for marketers to define specific goals (short and long term) and specific goals for each target audience. By focusing on one goal, brands can stay in sync and appeal to different segments depending on where they are in their journey. Every buyer is on a different journey, and each of these journeys is characterized by its own dynamics. Any brand that wants to survive in a post-pandemic world must be able to connect with its customers through authentic experiences at every touchpoint, whether those touchpoints are digital, physical, or perhaps both. Consumers are looking for an experience that combines physical and digital. For example, according to a study by Oney in France, 82% of respondents expected to have more digital services in their stores.

Often times, it’s important to diversify approaches to match what the public is looking for. Then you have to jump into the deep end to determine what really resonates. There will be times when digital makes the most sense. In other cases, applying a physical or hybrid strategy will be appropriate. By combining direct and contextual customer data with business analytics and insights, it will be possible to deepen the understanding of your audience to better meet their expectations.

Author: Page O’NeillChief Marketing Officer at Sitecore

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