Based on a CEIR Predict session by Nancy Drapeau, IPC; CEIR Vice President of Research
We’re taking a page from the Open Source community and making all the critical lessons from this year’s CEIR Predict available to everyone.
It’s okay if you’re wondering..
- What is omni channel marketing anyway?
- And why should I care?
Both are great questions.
<Please Note: If you are already well-versed enough to write this blog on omni channel marketing yourself, feel free to skip to the meat below.>
Answer 1: Omni channel marketing is meeting one’s customers and prospects where they are – with a unified customer experience. Think Amazon as you purchase products through the app on your phone, via the Alexa device on your kitchen counter, or shop in a Whole Foods store. It is multichannel, connected, and seamless to the consumer. It’s a marketer’s nirvana.
Answer 2: Because events have the potential to be the crown jewel in an omni channel marketing strategy. Plus, your organization can help unlock the needs of your customers’ customers and shed critical light on their post-COVID-19 behaviors, expectations, preferences, and mindset shifts. Today’s marketers face disturbances in the personal and professional lives of their target audiences. Your team can be a marketer’s best friend.
An increasing number of organizations are reaching their customers and prospects through omni channel marketing – integrated experiences across multiple communication channels. This strategic shift creates additional opportunities for event brands and digital properties alike.
Earlier this year, CEIR commissioned new research, The Omni Channel Marketing Study, with a goal of providing insights to your teams to help them retain brand marketing dollars, create new revenue streams, and identify opportunities to deepen relevance with your clients and communities. At CEIR Predict, Nancy Drapeau, IPC, Vice President of Research at CEIR shared the results.
Key Take-aways & Study Findings:
- B2B exhibitions enjoy a strong brand image
- COVID-19 is the deterrent, not a negative image of the channel
- Think of Omni Channel Marketing as being complementary, not competitive to events
- Seize opportunities to deepen your relevance, increase value and engagement for exhibitors and attendees, and you’ll see a return in attendance, membership, subscriber acquisition, and exhibitor/sponsorship sales.
Nancy was asked if any of these findings surprised her. (She’s a researcher’s researcher, so we doubted it.) And while not *surprised* exactly* she was struck by just how strong the connection to the live events channel is and high effectiveness scores assigned by exhibitors – particularly compared with scores assigned to other media used during the pandemic.
Nancy believes we’re already starting to see a renewed appreciation for live events – particularly from those companies where relationship marketing is critical. She described it as “an aching to go back to events.” Perhaps a sales strategy for event organizations – to focus on markets where trust/power of a handshake/visceral connection is fundamental to their business vs. transactional sales.
Nancy expanded on the study’s findings (and her philosophy) about omni channel being complementary, not competitive to events. Consider the power of ‘proof of concept.’ Does omni channel marketing create a test kitchen with a lower barrier to entry? Is there an opportunity to form a new community online and then connect it face-to-face once it proves viable? Is now a good time to integrate events and digital sales teams and break down some legacy silos?
The study findings outlined several ways to leverage omni channel marketing specifically for events companies, such as deepening relevance, value, and engagement. I asked Nancy if she felt specific organizations were getting it right today and if she might provide a best practice example. She gave me two, and they are very much worth a read. Though there are no case studies available from the Omni Channel Study at this time, there are case studies from the Global Virtual Event Trends Study that speak directly to this issue:
- Learn how Tom Kemp, CEO and Chairman, Northstar Travel Group, and his team used their pandemic time to grow the portfolio, deepen the connection with their audiences, and innovate in their market. Access Full Case Study (free to subscribers and non-subscribers)
- Gain insights from Sherry Carrigan, VP of Business Development and Meetings, School Nutrition Association (SNA) on how SNA kept a laser focus on the needs of the membership when developing financially viable virtual events. Access Full Case Study (free to subscribers and non-subscribers)
In the meantime, we thought you might enjoy this thought piece by David Byrne of the Talking Heads on the power of human connection. After all, it’s why we’re in this incredible, wonderful, crazy industry.
Ps. Don’t forget – Nancy & Dr. Allen Shaw, Chief Economist with Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc. hosted a webinar on 9/30 with an update on the state of the B2B event industry. It you missed that session, no worries, you can access the recording for free. To do so go here.