Award-winning digital marketing and customer experience agency

Share this post:

Experiential marketing delivers greater value in a virtual world

Experiential marketing has been around for a very long time now. But even now many B2B marketers still have little or no direct experience, and plenty in this sector have only a vague understanding of what it is and how it works.

Put simply, experiential marketing is the process of encouraging prospects and customers to experience a product or service and thereby become involved with the experience to the point where they become engaged and eventually fully immersed in the event.

What defines experiential marketing?

The encouragement to interact with an unfamiliar product or service in an absorbing way, and the process of bringing the prospect or customer inside the experience to interact with it rather than maintaining an external perspective can be defined as experiential marketing.

So, this definition – in a conventional marketing arena – relates to live event marketing, brand or product experience events, and the power of these live, physical experiential marketing events can be very powerful.

What’s the alternative to physical events?

But how can experiential marketing continue to work in this era of social distancing, and human contact restrictions at physical events? The fact is that under these circumstances physical events become a whole lot less immersive and now the only alternative is virtual.

But can virtual experiential marketing offer the same involvement and customer engagement as physical events do? The virtual experience can be better if creatively conceived in a human way and properly resourced.

Experiences that deliver ‘wow!’

And while virtual events such as exhibitions, conferences and product launches could lack a sense of real human interaction, with appropriate technologies, driven by human vision, passion and common sense, interaction and a true sense of ‘being there’ will give visitors the wow factor.

Immersive experiential experiences are all about giving. Giving an out-of-this-world virtual reality experience that flies people into a wonderful, fantastical world, or giving an augmented reality experience that helps them see another, new dimension in their lives. It’s all about wow.

Human storytelling delivers customer retention

So, virtual experiential events – if you deploy fully immersive technologies – such as virtual reality, augmented reality or 360-degree video can deliver an involving and absorbing experience that will drive engagement.

But to fully engage with prospects and customers, experiential marketing events must include human storytelling with elements that tell visitors they’re interacting in an environment created by real, honest and ethical human beings, like themselves.

The value of data collection

In many situations, physical experiential events may be non-exclusive flash events and therefore people may just arrive, immerse themselves in the experience and leave without ever being identified. You’ll never know they were there.

And you’ll never know what they thought, or use that knowledge to predict potential return on marketing investment (ROMI) based on their reactions to the experience, and while more formal events collect basic data, an understanding of key visitor opinions will also be absent.

Tracking data delivers financial performance

In virtual experiential marketing environments, where visitor actions are closely tracked and relative data is automatically collected and analysed, understanding the value of the customer experience, its impact on identifiable, individual visitors is key to relationship building.

This data also delivers value in a number of other ways, not least through allowing you to continue a highly relevant conversation with someone who knows you understand their needs and therefore is likely to buy from you.

But also because the data builds a picture of customer needs at scale, informing market value and therefore – in the right hands – accurate and fully predictable campaign returns on investment, helping control budgets and predict accurate revenue performance.

Our expert insights will help you stay ahead of the curve.

Follow us on

Will Yates - Novacom

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

Share this post:

Novacom named as one of the UK’s top performing B2B agencies 2021

We’re very pleased to announce we’ve been ranked as one of the UK’s top performing agencies in the B2B Marketing Agency Benchmarking Report, entering at No. 8 in the Top 15 Rising Stars Category.

2020 was a turbulent and highly unpredictable year for our clients, with the global impacts of the pandemic changing market conditions across regions and needing some pretty agile thinking to rapidly transform physical events to virtual without missing a beat.

Three-sixty degree uncertainty

In his Introduction to the B2B Marketing Agency Benchmarking Report, Editor David Rowlands says the common thread running through everything across the B2B marketing sector in 2020 was uncertainty, due to the pandemic – and Brexit.

David Rowlands went on to identify the other areas of uncertainty that impacted on sector performance, such as uncertainty as to when the pandemic might abate, and uncertainty around when international events might restart.

He added that despite this turbulent background, some agencies were thriving, and the reasons for this are unclear, but in past – and it has to be said, in much less severe economic downturns – it’s financial robustness coupled with steely-eyed determination to support clients that wins out.

The year ahead

Looking ahead, the B2B Marketing Agency Benchmarking Report survey results state that 89% of UK agencies are expecting growth or strong growth over the next twelve months, and we at Novacom support this view given our current growth performance.

The B2B Marketing Agency Benchmarking Report is what marketers use when searching for a new agency, or to identify the top performers in the sector, and we’re delighted to be featured as one of the UK’s top performing agencies this year.

The full report is available for download on the B2B Marketing website.

Our expert insights will help you stay ahead of the curve.

Follow us on

Will Yates - Novacom

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

Share this post:

Recognising our commitment to excellence

At Novacom, our polestar is embodied in one phrase: pragmatic thought leadership. This is a sincerely held principle because, as a team, our sole objective is to deliver on the promises we make to clients around transparency, fairness and providing the very best of what is possible.

This attitude has resulted in no less than four major new awards for Novacom in 2020 and are much appreciated in terms of the important industry recognition they confer.

Placing these coveted awards in the context of recent client comments such as ‘your work with us is invaluable’ and ‘I’m pleased and excited at how well we’re working together’ is testimony to our team’s commitment.

Acquisition International Magazine’s 2020 Global Excellence Awards
Most Innovative Digital Marketing Agency 2020 – UK

M&A Today Awards
Leading Experts in Multi-Channel Performance Marketing Campaigns – 2020

Corporate Vision 2020 Small Business Awards
Best Digital Marketing Agency 2020

Global 100 Awards
Leading Experts in Multi-Channel Marketing Solutions – 2020

Our expert insights will help you stay ahead of the curve.

Follow us on

Will Yates - Novacom

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

Share this post:

Are virtual alternatives becoming mainstream?

Virtual technologies – virtual reality, augmented reality virtual events and webcasting have all – at one time or another – been seen as tricky to implement, difficult to get right and so not worth consideration in mainstream conventional marketing applications.

But with the onset of the pandemic and the disruption caused to physical marketing events such as conferences, exhibitions, product launches and demonstrations, we should revisit our assumptions because these types of events won’t be back anytime soon – if ever.

Race to mediocrity

And if you look around for digital alternatives, you’ll find there’s not much to choose from, and anything that remotely replaces physical events seems clunky, 2D and pretty unappealing.

Unappealing won’t pull in the crowds.

So, the digital community has started to reimagine the future of physical events and has turned them digital, but these first, mainstream attempts look like a rather badly managed race to the top.

Fundamental human motivation

This is understandable, because the need for virtual conferences, exhibitions and product launches is so new that to fully define and refine concepts takes time, and who has that, in a competitive scramble such as this?

The fact is, no one is going to get blown away by the current crop of 2D offerings that are basically like supercharged versions of Zoom or WebEx, and offer nothing close to a human experience or a drive for fundamental human motivation.

Long learning curve

There’s clearly a lot to do before these emerging virtual event platforms come anywhere close to a physical experience, and until they do there’s little or no prospect of putting anything meaningful in place.

At Novacom, we embarked on this journey ten years ago with the development of a virtual showroom to act as a virtual showcase for a major European truck manufacturer and since then we’ve learned a lot more.

Virtual drives fast-track sales opportunities

Since that time, we’ve developed this platform so it now allows visitors to sign-in as customised avatars and allows us to track their activity around a virtual event to fully understand their needs and ensure that all this visitor data is loaded to the client CRM system.

That means – afterwards – when client sales teams pick up the phone to that visitor, they know exactly what to say to start a meaningful conversation that can be converted to a sale quickly.

Your visitor prospect gets what she or he wants, and you get a sale and detailed visitor data that delivers fast-track and a fully predictable return on marketing investment (ROMI).

The new normal is now normal  

I don’t think we’ll be returning to old normal when the pandemic passes – virtual is here to stay. Here’s why.

This new virtual normal negates badly managed badge-scanning and data losses at physical events, it replaces the forgetful note-taking on reasons why prospects visited you on their then-lost business cards, and the hurriedly mis-scribbled phone numbers on post-its.

Innovation, evolution and pragmatism equal ROMI

It’s all gone. And apart from the fully predictable MORI virtual events deliver, there are two more plusses: virtual events reduce costs because there’s no staff travel and accommodation cost, and it helps the environment by cutting travel emissions.

And the sustainability goes on to save on all the plastic-coated MDF, all the paper collateral and the plastic carriers on the stand that you build and then trash just a week later.

What’s not to like?

Our expert insights will help you stay ahead of the curve.

Follow us on

Will Yates - Novacom

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

Share this post:

2021 digital marketing predictions

From self-promotion to client-centric pragmatism

At the start of the year, there’s normally a blizzard of agency predictions on what the next 12 months will bring by way of digital marketing innovations and why you should come to agency X or Y to have these bestowed upon your marketing team.

Everyone knows this is no more than hype, but it does give an insight into early stage marcomms development, even if a lot of it is superseded long before it actually gets to market.

End of the road?

This year, it’s different. If you check out the digital marketing media, you’ll find almost deafening silence compared with previous years. If you look at the Gartner Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing 2020 you’ll see that just about everything conceivable is still back at, or before, the Trough of Disillusionment.

Forward from there, on the Slope of Enlightenment and the Plateau of Productivity – when technologies and methodologies are fully adopted by marketers and where things really start to happen – it is pretty unpopulated, and some of these are still many years from roll-out.

Rethinking the future

What this means is there’s a lot of new, innovative and very useful technologies already available, but I don’t think many enterprises are making the best of some of these powerful technologies.

Even among the few global corporates where some current technologies are in play – such as multichannel marketing hubs, marketing AI and customer relationship management – they aren’t joined up, so the ROMI performance is disappointing.

Joined up thinking

This means as digital marketers, we seem to have been tripping over ourselves to deliver the next big (and apparently non-existent) thing to our clients rather than properly applying existing technologies and methodologies in a cohesive, pragmatic and productive way.

Now, when pragmatism is desperately needed to pull the global economies back from the worst recessions on record, we should revisit the technologies we’ve already implemented in the here and now, client-side and get them properly optimised to deliver on ROMI as they should have.

Fully predictable ROMI

We all like to have fun and as an industry we have plenty of it dreaming of, and playing with, some fantastic technologies. But if we have yet to implement what we currently offer clients in a fully optimised way, then we need to revisit this.

At Novacom we love new technologies and have VR and AR projects that utilise technology that isn’t widely available yet live across the EMEA, North America and Asia Pacific regions. And compared with these new technologies, our very long-term relationships with digital marketing tools, marketing automation and CRM platforms sometimes seem mainstream.

As one of the earliest adopters of these technologies and techniques, it’s probable we’d feel that way, but we also certainly know how to deliver fully predictable MORI with these systems, and we know how to bolt them onto new technologies for even better performance.

So what about 2021?

In summary, my prediction for 2021: firstly, I hope as an industry we’ll finally finish what we started and reskill to optimise all the fantastic technologies we already delivered to clients.

Secondly, I don’t think we’ll be returning to the ‘old normal’ when we move beyond the Covid-19 pandemic and I think virtual events are here to stay. I don’t mean the current crop of unappealing 2D WebEx and Zoom lookalikes, but truly 3D avatar-driven platforms like Novacom VCX Quantum.

Novacom Quantum allows visitors to sign-in to virtual events as customised avatars and allows us to track their activity around the event to fully understand their needs and ensure that all this visitor data is loaded to the client CRM system.

Your visitor prospect gets what she or he wants, and you get a sale and detailed visitor data that delivers fast-track and a fully predictable return on marketing investment (ROMI).

Yes, it’s another new technology – but I think this is one to watch.

Our expert insights will help you stay ahead of the curve.

Follow us on

Will Yates - Novacom

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

Share this post:

Going beyond the webinar

It’s not surprising that webinars and so called ‘virtual events’ have become such an important part of the marketing mix in 2020, as the pandemic has limited travel, face-to-face meetings and physical exhibitions across the world.

Forward-looking organisations were already moving towards replacing some of their physical events with digital alternatives even before the pandemic hit earlier this year, with a view to reducing their carbon footprint and increase their efficiency. Anyone working from home will know how much more they get done in a day without travel (home-life responsibilities notwithstanding!).

On this basis, webinars, online meetings and virtual events are likely to continue to play a key part in business life when the world eventually returns to ‘normal’ – sometime during 2021 we all hope.

The question is, however, are these alternatives really a satisfactory replacement for meeting customers, colleagues and prospects face-to-face?

What is a ‘virtual event’ really?

In my view, this all depends on the format of the event. If a ‘virtual exhibition’ is simply a website with each exhibitor managing their own webpage with a live chat feature, or a Zoom call with keynotes and breakout sessions, then the short answer is no.

However, there are a number of solutions out there – such as our own VCX Quantum – that creates a bespoke virtual environment similar to a modern computer game, where visitors can create an avatar and walk (or fly!) around an exhibition, conference or meeting; attend seminars; talk to other attendees as easily if they were face-to-face; and visit branded exhibition stands to collect product marketing collateral for later – then yes.

Novacom VCX Quantum platform

Saving time, money and the environment

This type of innovative approach is currently novel, meaning people want to attend just to experience it, but I believe digital events will only grow in popularity. Not only because they save time and money on travel, accommodation and exhibition/event space, but because you can create a truly immersive brand experience not possible in the real world.

We all look to next year with the hope that there will be some return to normality where we can once again have the choice and freedom to travel, meet friends and family, and work from a desk that’s not wedged in the corner of the bedroom.

Back to normal?

But will we be rushing back to spending time on the road or in the air when we could meet customers and colleagues face-to-face without leaving our desks? I for one think we’ll see a continuation of this seismic shift toward virtual events, even after this is over.

Our expert insights will help you stay ahead of the curve.

Follow us on

Will Yates - Novacom

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom