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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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?