One Year On: How has the pandemic changed event and experiential marketing?
Pico Group released industry research to reveal what had fundamentally changed in event and experiential marketing, how well equipped are professionals to deal with challenges, and where brands are seeing success and room to improve.
The new findings follow up on earlier client research the Group released in 2020, which investigated how brands and marketers were reacting to COVID-19.
The 2021 Pico Group Industry Research was conducted during February-March. Respondents included executives (11%), directors (31%), managers (46%) and other titles (12%) from a wide variety of industries across Asia Pacific (65%), Europe (19%), North America (13%) and the Middle East/North Africa (3%). The results show a clear sea-change in current market sentiment toward the post-pandemic era.
As expected, respondents rated virtual/online events more highly in 2021 than they did the year before: 71% deemed them ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important, a year-on-year increase of 26 percentage points. Over 90% said they have held or are considering hybrid events, while just 32% said offline or live events were ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important (2020: 45%).
Implications for the future
“The heightened level of tactical importance for virtual and hybrid events revealed by the 2021 survey makes it obvious that those formats will further establish themselves as the norm in the short term. Indeed, considering the pace of economic recovery and vaccination in much of the world, physical events are almost certain to remain the exception rather than the rule for many markets,” said Tyronne O’Callaghan, Vice President, Strategy, Global Activation, Pico.
“However, we believe the perceived value of offline events is still strong because of the uniqueness of what they offer to audiences. Their intimacy, sensory stimulation and emotion are hard to recreate digitally. When we quizzed respondents about critical success factors for virtual events, over 70% said ‘interactivity’ and ‘personalisation’,” O’Callaghan added.
For more insights, please download the full Pico Group Industry Research report here.