It is now over a year since the pandemic changed our lives. Remote working has become the new normal for many of us. The accelerated introduction of new rules, technological solutions, and innovations has completely changed the way many companies operate. Our homes have turned into offices and our calendars have been filled with online meetings, conferences, and training sessions. We have become firm friends with applications such as Zoom, WebEx, Ms. Teams, Google Hangouts, and other video conferencing systems.
Many organizations that were previously wary of remote working have been forced to accept it and have discovered that it does not necessarily involve a drop in productivity. As a result, the hybrid work model becomes popular, where some people are on-site at the office and others work from home. It seems like a progressive solution that will stay with us for a long time. One can risk a statement that we have already got used to a new form of work. Some even wonder whether coming to the office still makes sense.
Now more than ever, your customers are online
As lockdowns have been imposed across the globe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we all turned to digital channels in almost every aspect of our lives. Entertainment, information, education, and staying in touch with family and friends- all have been and continue to be available through the web. Since then, we’ve been visiting websites, video chatting, streaming, video gaming, and connecting on social media in record-breaking numbers. This, coupled with the rapid shift of many people to work from home, has led to a whole new meaning of online communication. For businesses that did not have an optimized and regularly active online presence, the COVID-19 pandemic has served as a wake-up call to show just how important an online persona and digital marketing really are.
The great (forced) shift to digital communication
During the strict lockdown, many traditional stores were forced to stop or drastically reduce the scale of operation, so customers had no other choice but to turn to online sales channels. A big winner in all of this is of course e-commerce. However, the increased online presence of target groups applies to almost every industry. Investing in digital marketing – whether it’s online ads, social media, blogging, website positioning, or all of the above – is obvious when your target audience is spending a large amount of time every day online. Digital allows brands to actively engage with their consumers and maintain a high level of customer service, without the need for physical interaction. Online marketing played of course a significant role well before the pandemic broke out but effective online communication has never been so important.
The new version of event marketing
Face-to-face meetings have always been the domain of B2B communications. Pretty much every big event was canceled, postponed, or moved online the previous year, from the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo to small business conferences. Companies had to cancel or rethink an in-person event, trade show etc. Many of them found new ways to network and bring people together online. We have all probably noticed the increase in posts, ads, and emails about Facebook lives, Zoom classes or other online events.
Today, after months of widespread closures across the global economy some of the organizations have switched to virtual conferences, exhibitions and meetings, webinars, virtual launches, and sales events to keep their presence on the market alive. Technicians set up cameras, microphones, and other equipment so that participants viewing proceedings via the internet can listen to presentations, panel discussions and speeches as well as take part in workshops and voting. Although face-to-face meetings are due to return in force eventually, new formats and trends will set the course for event marketing in the coming years.
Despite all of the above, out of tens of thousands of globally planned events, only a few happened online, while the rest did not happen at all. We quickly coped with the implementation of a remote communication application, while a new form of event marketing is still an unknown experience for many companies. Companies realized that instead of indefinitely postponing the realization of events in the real world, they need to start communicating with consumers here and now, which opened the market for online meetings in many dimensions: from simple webinars to projects similar in form to advanced television productions. And this will stay with us, the line between online and offline will slowly blur, with one form complementing the other.