Event marketers already have the mindset that will bring consumers back to in-person events.
Be it a pandemic, weather, natural disaster, or some other disruption, reacting to the unforeseen and coming up with a solution is nothing new for experiential marketing teams, although a pandemic is probably more of a Category 5 hurricane rather than a passing sun shower.
Our team took a high-level view at the event landscape (from a safe physical distance, of course), and we came up with three distinct goals you can work towards today to help you get back on track.
Goal 1: Detail Your First Event So It’s Safe to Attend
The first event is going to be the most tenuous one. If you’ve ever broken your leg, it will be a lot like getting the cast sawed off and walking again.
Think about how you’ll create an activation that is not only safe, but also is attractive enough so consumers will want to experience your brand:
· Is there a requirement to touch parts of your display (engagement technologies like VR or tablets, for example) and have you minimized those risks?
· How does your event technology function with protective layers (i.e. gloves and masks)? (Note that Apple recently updated its official statement on using disinfectant wipes with its equipment.)
· Will your giveaways and tchotchkes be desirable in our new, more distanced and sanitized world? (Or better yet, source ones that can potentially help reduce the virus spread.)
· How will personal protection for your team and consumers play out at your activations?
· Are you able to segment pre-registered attendees and inform them of safety procedures in a customized way?
It is absolutely critical to establish a comfort level through your targeted event promotion and technology services before the event begins, because if consumers feel you are not doing enough to keep them safe, they won’t show up.
Goal 2: Define the New Normal for Events
There will be a gradual back-to-normal process where the new safeguards will be fine-tuned for events.
What this means is that the changes you implement for your“first” event will probably be modified over the longer term. Because society will only accept a world where we go back to some semblance of normal, you need to consider the changes that will stick.
Here are some broader areas that will almost certainly comprise a new normal for events:
· Audience Management: throughput congestion, appointments, and footprint capacities will require active management (and technologies to assist)
· Protective Gear: ensuring your on-site teams and attendees have adequate virus protection while still being able to fully experience your brand
· Contactless Technology: capturing consumer information without “touching,” such as driver’s license scanning, a strong pre-registration game, or consumer-generated registration using personal mobile devices with digital QR codes
We have already helped some of our clients build safer, contactless event technology solutions. Our process in doing this was straightforward: virtually walk through the activation and examine each interaction to create alternatives that are safe.
Goal 3: Revise Event Metrics
Event marketers are going to have to recalibrate what event success looks like on charts and graphs.
This means that most of your 2019 metrics and benchmarks, if not all of them, are now invalid.
It sounds worse than it really is, but don't overlook the positive change by having some new, measurable opportunities made available in a post-COVID-19 world:
· Better time-of-day analysis: Session management and pre-scheduled appointments will provide a new layer of reporting, letting you plan and organize your events more effectively
· Increased registration intelligence: As consumers look for you to have more robust online and contactless technologies, you’ll have a better understanding of where and how they engage with your activations
When setting new metrics, always remember that they can be scaled up or drawn back. You’re never beholden to the goal you set; rather, you are setting a number which you think is attainable.
Set it, try it, and see how it plays out for you.