April 3, 2018
Face-to-face marketing gives you the instant satisfaction of seeing how your audience is responding. With experiential marketing, you can tap into your target market's senses to appeal to them. Virtual events can be a little harder. You don't always get to hear the inflection and tone in their voices to see if they're pleased or upset. You can't always see their face to see if they look displeased or genuinely surprised. Virtual marketing plans became important as the pandemic hit. Holding large events and face-to-face meetings became impossible in many jurisdictions as cities, towns, and states did everything possible to stop the spread. While it may be challenging, it's not impossible.
Zoom became the go-to platform when COVID-19 pushed businesses into shifting from traditional marketing plans to virtual ones. The live streaming of business meetings, family gatherings, school lessons, and fitness classes all became part of life. The goal of any marketing event is to catch a consumer’s attention. Is Zoom enough? How are businesses taking their virtual events to a new level? What can you do to catch your target market’s attention and prove your better than the competition?
Digital Presentations Using a Blend of Technology
Blend technologies to come up with a digital presentation that’s unlike anything your audience has experienced. Think about the aspects of a presentation that stand out. Music, the images, and ease of moving around are all important and can be met through technology. Pair an online shopping platform with 3D graphics that allow consumers to learn more about your brand or product. Have chat available for questions and make sure the chat is answered when you’ve promised someone is available to help. You can reduce the number of staff that are needed by using chatbots to direct consumers to the right person.
Faced with the challenge of hosting an annual fashion show, one creative director opted to create a movie using live models who were layered onto CGI backgrounds. Imagine if Pixar created the environment for New York Fashion Week and you have an idea of how this could look. People who attended the virtual fashion show could manipulate the virtual models for 360-degree and close-up views. You could have specialists standing by to answer questions and take orders or you could take orders online. Remember that people may not have the most updated computer, so you have to consider loading times and ease of navigation, too.
Have you thought about putting your product into the consumer’s hands? Fever-Tree came up with a way to get customers to buy their products. They held a free online festival, but they went above by selling sample kits that contained the items they’d be featuring during the festival. People could attend the free festival or attend with the products in hand to make the recipes and become fully immersed in the brand while attending the chats and watching video presentations.
For Fever-Tree, the kit included samples of gin and tonics, garnishes, glasses, snacks, drink recipe books, and a tasting mat. For participants, the excitement of participating in the live demonstrations making the drinks along with the experts proved exciting and led to the festival kit selling out in little time.
You could do the same. Set up a live demonstration webinar and sell exclusive boxes filled with your merchandise and samplers. If you own a bakery, you could package the ingredients for one of the hot items sold in your bakery and present a step-by-step instructional video for attendees to follow along. Answer questions through live chat along the way.
Virtual Fairs and Expos
Hulu couldn’t celebrate Pride Week the way they were considering, so the marketing team came up with a different idea. If your marketing team could pull off something similar, you’ll be the talk of marketers for years to come. Because the streaming service couldn’t traditionally host celebrations, it hired programmers and designers to create a virtual island. Everyone who attended created an avatar and entered Hulu’s island. On Pride Island, fans walk around and watch a live concert, see what movies are recommended, and explore other areas of the islands alone or with other attendees.
A virtual fair is a trending way to market your product or service to people around the world. Attendees enter into a 3D rendering of a tradeshow, room, or even island in Hulu’s case, and walk up to booths of interest and visit them. From there, live chat, video streaming, and product demonstrations allow you to get information out there. It’s an immersive experience that consumers won’t forget, but you need to carefully plan each hour.
Send text and email reminders to everyone who pre-registered. If you have social media accounts (you should!), you also want to post reminders in there along with teasers of what participants will learn, see, and do. Make it known if you’ll be offering live chat and give the hours you’re available. You might want to make sure the live chat is available 24 hours to accommodate those on other shifts and in other time zones. If you can’t, make sure the live chat transcripts or videos are available for those who cannot attend at those times.
Are you holding personal interviews or demonstrations? Consider allowing people to sign up for a time slot in advance in order to make sure everyone has a chance to listen to your message. If you limit how much traffic will flood a chat room at once, you prevent frustrating lag or server issues. You do have to be careful that your plans don’t go awry due to preventable errors. You can learn from the mistakes that were made during a large virtual trade expo.
Organization of the Canton Fair took careful planning thanks to the interest of more than 25,000 exhibitors and 10 live streaming rooms. The problem is no one received updates or had the information they needed to get started. As a result, the expected crowds didn’t show up. Exhibitors didn’t get much information on how it would work until the virtual expo started and that frustration and confusion impacted moods. Make sure information flows daily from the moment you announce the virtual fair through the launch and keep up with daily updates. Test out the system before a flood of virtual attendees to eliminate as many technical issues as you can.
How could this work for you? Imagine you’re trying to open your new restaurant but can’t have too many patrons or need to build interest until your official opening. You could have diners walk in, sit down at a virtual table, explore your menu, learn how you make your dishes through videos, and purchase merchandise like cookbooks in a virtual store. If you’ll have live music from time to time, you could have one of your musicians tape a few songs and play those videos on your virtual restaurant’s stage. Pair this with updates on your social media sites and you’ll keep engaging consumers and drawing interest.
No matter what idea you have, you have to test your equipment, send out reminders, and keep hitting social media for feedback. You need to remain involved and active with your consumers or they’ll lose interest. It can be hard to manage all aspects of a virtual marketing campaign if you’re new to it.
Our goal at Factory 360 is to come up with new, effective ways of creating experiential marketing campaigns that impact your consumers in surprising and delightful ways. We have a wealth of knowledge and strategies and pair that with data and research to find the right approach for your virtual marketing campaign. Give us a call and let us help you plan a marketing campaign that exceeds your goals.