September 30, 2022

In person or online? A virtually impossible question to answer

When the COVID-19 pandemic went global in 2020, the events industry came to a crashing standstill. Organised events around the world such as conference, trade shows, product launches and workshops we’re all cancelled or postponed overnight.

Since then, it has been estimated by a recent BVEP (Business Visits & Events Partnership) report that the events industry in the UK lost a staggering £57 billion of its value, down from the pre-pandemic level of £70 billion.

As a result, virtual events and conferences came to the fore. Suddenly, they became the norm as everyone attended from the comfort of their home. But, even though this format allowed businesses to continue connecting with staff and customers, it couldn’t replace everything about a physical event. Nevertheless, the virtual event is a welcome addition to the experience sector and is here to stay – it’s earned its place in the post-pandemic world.

The real question is are virtual and in-person events going to naturally balance out – or will one format ultimately overcome the other?

Two heavyweight contenders

Virtual events have their undoubted benefits. For example, they have lower costs, are theoretically easier to manage and there’s no venue to work with. What’s more, you can avoid health & safety issues and not be confined by travel restrictions. Event platforms are now incredibly advanced, meaning audience engagement opportunities are limitless.

But can they match the excitement and emotion of an in-person event?

Live events give brands an opportunity to wow their guests arguably can’t be matched through a laptop screen. They can create incredible opportunities, enhanced marketing experiences and form better connections with their audience.

Traditional events can be creatively limitless, allowing your brand to come to life in a true experiential manner.

Best of both worlds

So if both formats have undeniable strengths, can the two work together as a hybrid? Hybrid events can undoubtably provide more flexibility. They give attendees the option to attend in-person, or do so virtually if they can’t (or don’t want to) be there in the flesh. They can also reduce the need for plane travel for overseas delegates, which in turn is better for the environment and allows for greater reach.

If you’d like to know how we can help with your next conference, event or product launch, give us a call. We’d love to help you plan and execute an in-person, virtual or hybrid event that’s out of this world.

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August 03, 2022

The power of print in a digital age

A lot of people thought that the rise of the internet was going to sound the death knell for print. But it’s alive and kicking and indeed thriving. Whilst so much of our lives are consumed with digital technology and media, we still yearn for the visual impact and physical touch of printed communications.  

But how has the humble printed page managed to survive against such ever growing competition? Well, for starters printing techniques have kept up with technology, as has design technology and typography. Designs and creations are getting ever more impressive. But this is only one piece of the puzzle – as one of the reasons print has remained such a persuasive piece of marketing material is down to the way we are as humans and how we react to it.

We’re hotwired to prefer print

It’s been found that it takes 21% less cognitive effort to read and process print than digital material. In addition, you’re more likely to remember what you’ve read. And not a bit more, 70% more. That makes quite a difference when it comes to delivering your message.

Print also connects with us on an emotional level. You don’t just see it. When it’s a leaflet, piece of DM, page in a newspaper or brochure, you’re touching and interacting with it. This emotional connection means we’re actually more likely to want the product or service we’ve seen, albeit on a subconscious level.

Print doesn’t just disappear

Digital marketing is a never satisfied monster that needs constantly feeding. As a result, web content is constantly flooded with ever-changing ads, blogs and articles. So many in fact, it can be too much to take in. On top of this, competition for an audience is fierce.

Print on the other hand can be around forever. Or at the very least sit on your coffee table for a few weeks. A brochure may therefore seem a costly outlay, but not when you compare it to producing a never ending stream of digital ads and content, it becomes a much more cost-effective exercise that has more stand out and longevity.

Print reaches people and interacts with them

When you send an email campaign, how many emails actually get through your target market’s spam filters? Or how many ads are blocked by ever-smarter ad-blockers?

Again, print comes out on top. There’s nothing stopping your audience from opening a page and seeing your ad or that piece of direct mail landing on their doorstep.

And when people do hold a piece of printed material it has value. So much so that it could be kept just for aesthetic reasons.  As shown in a study for the Royal Mail which found that the resurgence in popularity of direct mail was because the giving, receiving and handling of actual objects rather than digital messages is an intuitive part of the human experience.

Even Millennials love print

It’s easy to think that print is better for an older market, while digital is for a younger audience. But again, this isn’t true. Even though Millennials we’re brought up with a device in their hand, they still love old school direct mail. It creates an emotional response that digital marketing just can’t achieve

Just as TV has not caused the demise of radio, the same is true of print. It is holding its own against its digital would-be usurper. As with TV and radio advertising, it is more a case of using each medium in the right way to reach the right audience. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. By understanding these, you can get the best ROI possible on your next marketing campaign.

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August 03, 2022

Turning insights into outcomes

The relationship between strategy and insight

A solid marketing strategy is a key to the success of any business. But ensuring it is aligned with the vision of the business and the opportunities the market present is the challenge.

This is where strategic thinking comes in and at the heart of this is insight. In fact, the whole purpose of strategic thinking is to uncover insights. These can be defined as a relevant and meaningful realisation of the nature of something important to your business and how it affects your business outcomes. For example, they could come from getting a true understanding of what motivates your audience, why they do or don’t get involved with your brand, what they think about it and how they feel about it.

Insights are therefore vital in helping to define and evolve not just your marketing strategy, but also your brand. They are the solid foundation on which everything is built upon.

Different kinds of insights

An insight can come in different forms. It might be discovering that a customer need is currently not being met, finding out the differences between an existing market and a new one or simply highlighting what people really think about your brand. 

They can however be split into three distinct groups;

The first is an insight into your current situation, looking at problems, opportunities, motivations or ambitions in the here and now.

The second are insights into the future. These highlight what is likely to happen and if it is not a desired outcome, how can it be changed into one that is?

Last and by no means least, are insights that let you go from where you are to where you want to be. These are problem solving insights that look at the bigger picture.

How to uncover insights

Insights aren’t epiphanies that come out of thin air, they come from hard work. They begin by collecting information, looking for issues and categorising findings. Then, it’s a case of analysing all the data and trying to find connections and themes. Asking questions every step of the way and creating theories that are tested again and again until one that cannot be disputed is found.

Throughout this process you need to stay detached and not let your own feelings or hunches get in the way. It is all too easy to jump to conclusions or let previous experiences lead where you go.

At the end of this process you should have a strong strategic insight that is not just relevant, but also meaningful. It should be the focus point of your business strategy and help build your brand and make a positive difference to your business.

If you’d like to know more about turning insights into outcomes, get in touch today. One of our strategy team will be happy to chat you through the process we go through to find your business’s insights and how we then use them to create a strategy that gets results.

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