By Rasha El-Shirbini, Head of Strategy at The fresh Group
The offline marketing vacuum that will be left after this crisis passes, will be one of the greatest the world has seen. Today, it is safe to say, businesses are re-grouping constantly, having socially distant “Cobra” meetings of their own to decide on what steps to take as the situation unfolds. However, hope must remain, and the world will still go on, despite how it might feel right now.
Companies that will be most successful, are those who are able to adapt and bounce back the quickest, not just logistically or financially, but also from the perspective of maintaining the front of mind positioning for consumers when they too return in full force, triggering the demands that will jump start the economy again.
The first thing society will do globally, post lock down, is hit the streets to reclaim them and relish in the freedoms that were taken away. Having brands present at these moments, joining in the celebrations and reverie, offering people a reason to collectively experience an event again will be the best form of engagement any brand could ask for. Last year, in a survey of more than 1,000 senior level marketeers by Bizzabo, almost all respondents suggested that in-person events are the most valuable opportunities to form connections in an increasingly digital world. 41% of them considered live events to be the most critical marketing channel when considering how best to get cut through.
Yes, social media, content and online marketing are channels that all marketeers need to focus on for now, however let’s not forget that these channels have been around for some time and relying on them solely in the past hasn’t worked for everyone. Especially as consumers shop with their emotions rather than their wallets, and the demand for human touch and efficiency has already caused retailers to embrace omnichannel strategies.
Balancing online and offline marketing presence has been proven to work in the past. We can look to online retailers such as Missguided for inspiration, since they committed to pop-up shops, sponsorships, outdoor adverts etc..to build awareness levels offline. This said, between 2017 and 2018 the number of companies organising 20+ events a year, increased by 17%, and on the balance of probabilities, logic suggests we can predict that this trend will come back again, albeit eventually. It will boil down to who will be ready to take the bold leap, and commitment to be there when the customers turn up.