Digital Uptrend

Transform Attendees Into Engaged Online Participants

Much like everything else in the world, the pandemic had an impact on marketing as well. Virtual platforms replaced in-person experiences for consumers and thus it became imperative for marketers to re-strategize and plan their marketing campaigns. With most businesses forced to shift online, traditional marketing practices became a thing of the past, paving way for digital marketing.

The upcoming year will see more and more businesses adopting this practice because going digital is cost-effective and productive at the same time. It is best for marketers to capitalize on this opportunity since it resonates with the current generation which forms a majority of the consumer base today.

Here are some of the Digital Marketing trends that all marketers should keep an eye out for:

Live Stream and Micro videos will be the future:

Video is the future and it is not going to be any different in 2021. In the light of recent events, it is predicted to grow faster than expected. A recent study shows that live video blew up by 99% in 2020. Keeping the social distancing regulations in mind, more and more people turned to video to stay connected and video conferencing became the new normal. As the general population became more comfortable with video, other video streaming platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and even Linkedin started to become a part of the norm with their live-streaming features. It has thus become essential for marketers to look at this as a marketing opportunity in order to expand their reach. It has also become imperative for them to invest in micro-videos because that is where the traction is.

User-generated content will grab attention:

Consumers today want to be reassured that they are not making a bad purchase decision and this is where User-generated content comes into the picture. User-generated content is the best word-of-mouth strategies brands can adopt in the age of social media. More businesses are turning to social media to promote their products online, but not in the conventional ad format.

User-generated content includes videos, images and reviews that brands repost on their pages. This strategy is candid, real, and super-reliable for consumers. It also confirms the notion that people trust other people while making new purchases. It is proven that people are more likely to buy products when someone else promotes them and marketers can use this to their advantage.

Brand activism will garner support:

The world saw a surge in environmental, social, and political activism last year, therefore making it imperative for brands to step up and speak about responsibility. 80% of consumers feel that companies should help improve the environment and move towards sustainability, and support causes like equality and mental health. Consumers are only willing to associate with brands or businesses that share the same values as them. Failing to do this, marketers are at risk of losing an entire generation of consumers.

Voice and Visual search will take centre stage:

The invention of voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Cortana has paved the way for an increased number of voice searches. A majority of households today own a smart speaker and are using it to make quick searches. Conversational marketing will change the way brands interact with their consumers. Chatbots will help create a personalized experience for the consumers. Tools like Google Lens has also enabled consumers to search through visuals. Thus, it has become crucial for marketers to design their websites to support voice and visual searches and focus more on image alt-text and sitemaps for images.

Branded content will become more prominent:

Consumers today do want to feel like they are being sold something. They believe in subtle marketing through branded content. Research says that branded content is about 20 times more engaging than display ads and has the potential to attract more consumers. Branded content does not force-feed advertisements to consumers, but adds entertainment, experience, and value to the marketing strategies.Branded content can create trust and provide a connection with the audience.

In conclusion, social media will become the top channel for purchase and not just the discovery of the products. Marketers will have to build digital media strategies and make a consumer buy products without having to leave social media pages.

The need to transform live events and trade shows into virtual ones has received a lot of reaction these past weeks. It’s time to get proactive about bringing a better online experience to attendees, whether you’ve faced postponement or cancellation or not.

Digital is not going away. As we all adapt to a more robust life online, the content that event organizers present and how it is presented will become even more important. How participants are treated online, considering their perspective, is paramount. Attendees are attempting to engage with you past the barrier of their computer monitor or laptop screen – no longer are they present with all their senses in a room with hundreds or thousands of others. The smaller screen sizes we’re all relegated to right now limits visual perspective. This new, myopic environment begs for a different, strategic approach in order to engage and excite viewers.

Re-evaluate Objectives

Analyzing audience expectations is the first step in understanding what type of online experience or event program to deliver. Rethink if this should be a virtual reboot of an annual meeting or a new gathering. Know the value of your event for each stakeholder. Have attendees been meeting online in less-official ways? Are there certification requirements that needs to be met? What sales and marketing tools are exhibitors using now with the loss of events? Knowing these answers determines the content needed.

Content Delivery

Based on the new view of event objectives, a content delivery plan should emerge. While it might be more typical to share information all at once, perhaps in a two-hour program, that may be a short-sighted approach. Instead, consider whether the content will be better absorbed if received in shorter bursts, followed by small-group interactions via chat rooms. Work with presenters to segment their content, perhaps splitting a speaker into two or three different portions of your event.

Or perhaps a longer-term engagement journey can be structured by offering pieces of information in an episodic fashion over time – essentially allowing multiple touches that build relevance and strengthen relationships. For certifications training and lots of breakout sessions, a multi-week online engagement may deliver higher value.

Production Experience

There has been a lot of forgiveness as we’ve collectively made our way up the digital learning curve. Moving forward, expectations for more sophisticated production value – especially if participants have paid to attend — will continue to increase. Consider a balanced approach of live and produced content that incorporates a solid program architecture and encourages engagement. There are easy and effective ways to employ expert production crews while still maintaining social distancing. Require presenter rehearsals and coach them on their audio and video appeal, as well as how to induce participant activity.

Gamification can enhance the attendee experience. Achievement levels, leaderboards, incentives for future conferences and freebies are all ideas that have proven to be effective. Chat, Q&A, professionals hosts and social media tie-ins contribute as well.

Begin to transform behaviours and build online experiences for communities today to be ahead of the curve tomorrow