August 29, 2020

What does an industry do when its customer base vanishes?

It innovates, says GPJ’s Ken Madden, who has four steps for transforming engaging live experiences to digital.

Ken Madden is SVP, Head of Digital Engagement at George P. Johnson

The road ahead for live events certainly appears daunting. When its customer base instantly vanishes, what can an industry do?

I love finding new ways to use tech to solve problems, old and new. I ultimately found my way to experiential marketing after discovering that what I really love about technology is how people experience and interact with it.

While the role of technology in the event space has been steadily increasing over the years, COVID-19 has forced us all to accelerate that process and think more deeply about how technology can help create more meaningful experiences.

So here we are in 2020, facing a shift that was almost instantaneous. The goal of most brands and their agencies in the current climate seems obvious: transition your in-person engagements to digital.

Following these four steps is a good way to do it.

Though the arena has changed, your business strategy should not. Just because event-goers are in attendance from their homes, doesn’t mean that your end goals should be different. Be crystal clear about what actions you want your attendees to make, and then modify the journey to get them there.

The basics don’t change. Know your audience, understand what you want them to take away from the experience and consider your marketing and business objectives before you make any decisions on how the experience will come to life.

Everyone has come into this event planning season with a ton of content and nowhere to use it. It is neither the time to get weighed down by it nor the time to throw it all out and start again. It’s time to get creative. It’s time to think about how your content can be more engaging for a remote audience.

It’s the same brief with a new lens. Can you tell the same stories through a different medium? Can you immerse an audience in the story? Can you build content that speaks directly to your audience? With creative and strategic thinking, your content can tell stories that connect, immerse, teach and grow.

Production matters…even more so when the audience is remote. You have to produce your content in a way that maximizes the medium. High-resolution quality that speaks directly to your audience is critical.

Whether it’s a keynote, a learning session, a product demo, deeply interactive content or the destination that holds it all together, flawless execution that captures attention and engages the audience across every touch point is critical.

The playing field for technologies that can help you to bring your experience vision to life is huge. When considering all of the tech available, the most important aspect to remember is to use it effectively. Events tend to fall outside of the marketing ecosystem. But there is a huge opportunity in front of us to get that right.

The possibilities of individualization are immense and the ability for measurement is unparalleled. By switching to digital-first events, you’re able to measure and react in real-time all along the journey — and then carry those learnings back to your physical events in the future.

There’s no doubt about it: there are incredible challenges ahead, but even greater opportunities with the right mindset. The world is changing quickly, but nothing says we can’t evolve right alongside it.

Source: C&IT Magazine.

This article was written by Ken Madden at George P. Johnson. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of KEM


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