Gevme’s founder and CEO Veemal Gungadin shares his insights on omnichannel event strategy to power up an even
The COVID-19 pandemic has truly opened more people’s minds about the importance of digital technology, not only for private citizens but also for businesses in the Asia Pacific region. Many industries have embraced virtual strategies to connect with their audience through social media marketing, live selling, webinars, virtual tours, etc.
APAC companies have learned to adapt to rapid technological changes and demands. Great efforts include investing in marketing technology, such as omnichannel events, consisting of virtual, physical, hybrid, and metaverse event marketing tactics.
The future of events relies on omnichannel event strategies.
Check out what Veemal Gungadin, the founder and CEO of Gevme has to say about omnichannel event strategy in this MartechAsia interview.
What is an omnichannel event strategy?
Essentially, an omnichannel event strategy is about meeting your audience where they are, across different channels. This is best done by complementing an annual physical, flagship event with digital events all year round and creating a community around your events, for people to connect.
Other than physical events, an omnichannel event strategy also means providing on-demand content and curated micro-events, as well as pre-event seminars and online community platforms for discussion. These smaller events create excitement and help to keep the community going and growing, leading up to the physical flagship event.
Sessions at flagship events are usually not recorded or take a long time to be uploaded and available for access. With an omnichannel event strategy, adding an on-demand feature allows the content to be revisited. This then allows real-time attendance to be optional, and participants who wish to view the content from the event now have the opportunity to access it on-demand.
Large-scale events may oftentimes feel impersonal; as such, micro-events are a good way to reach out to a niche group of participants with curated content. This way, the attendees are more likely to form more personal connections and gain greater value than from large-scale events. Micro events are also usually more exclusive so businesses can also charge a premium for hosting them.
Finally, an omnichannel event strategy is not complete without virtual events all year round, such as virtual webinars for example, that help to build excitement and an active community for people to connect continuously throughout the year. They can also be easily customised and personalised to suit the needs of the attendees and ensure continuous engagement. A strong community presence creates a shared interest and bond that will work towards the greater success of the flagship event when it is hosted.
How can an omnichannel strategy power up an event?
Recently, Gevme partnered with travel platform Web in Travel (WiT) for their WiT Experience Singapore – a flagship event that the travel company hosts annually. Leading up to the experience week, WiT hosted 6 micro-events that consisted mainly of virtual and hybrid webinars.
The micro-events enabled WiT to establish a close community and gave participants increased networking opportunities. Having seen the value these events provided, the participants were more likely to attend WiT Experience Singapore on their own. As a result, the flagship Experience Week event saw a large increase in the number of attendees since they already had a community to reach and sell to – all this while reducing marketing costs.
Why do modern customers expect an omnichannel event experience?
The retail industry popularised ‘omnichannel’, placing customer engagement at the forefront. To find a product, customers can now access different platforms and channels – be it through physical stores, online web pages, or e-commerce platforms.
For us in the events industry, the pandemic had forced us to hop on the bandwagon. Typically, the purpose of events is to educate, engage and entertain. In some cases, events are also a means to sell a product, service, or experience.
In the past couple of years, consumers have been exposed to more formats of consumption than ever before. Just like how there are numerous ways to purchase an iPhone (either at the Apple store physically, or the online store, or through second-hand sellers, or e-commerce platforms), consumers now expect event consumption to be varied as well. Virtual and hybrid events have become the staple and consumers are now aware and familiar with the value that these different formats offer. Micro events and Metaverse events have also seen a rise in popularity.
The ever-improving quality of content means that expectations about production quality and on-demand content are also rising with streaming services like Netflix and platforms such as YouTube. Moreover, the commoditization of content means that virtual events must now provide value-adding, tangible benefits like recognised certification courses, for instance.
From the attendees’ perspective, participants now expect a level of connection and personalisation, when attending virtual events. There are growing expectations in terms of opportunities to network with others through online communities that are active year-round. For instance, the WiT community now expects year-round events and engagement, and transient or transactional events no longer suffice.
How can omnichannel events help marketers promote brands?
A recent B2B Pulse Survey by McKinsey & Company found that 94% of B2B decision-makers feel that an omnichannel sales model is equally if not more effective than a traditional one. B2B customers have also expanded in their use of channels to interact with suppliers, doubling from 5 to 10 different channels in the past 6 years.
The study also found a general ‘rule of thirds’ – customers employ a roughly even mix of traditional sales, remote and self-service at each stage of the sales process. If we neglect just one channel, we could potentially be throwing a third of our potential revenue out the window.
Physical events may be effective for reaching a local audience and catering to high-profile customers through micro-events. However, virtual events can transcend borders and reach a global audience. Therefore, omnichannel events help businesses to cater to all different types of audiences and understand each group at a deeper level.
How does Gevme help create omnichannel event strategies for APAC brands?
Gevme helps brands place their customers first and work towards meeting their growing expectations. Attendee journey and strategy management become much more complex when businesses switch from singular to omnichannel event strategy. The technology has to advance and improve, to handle the increased complexity.
In the current market, businesses usually employ a variety of different tools as part of their omnichannel event strategy. This complicates the process and makes it more expensive to manage. Additionally, it can lead to problems with security, early registration closing and increased manual work with exporting data from one platform to another.
Gevme tackles this issue by creating one centralised platform to cater to all event needs. A wide selection of tools offering different solutions is available on the platform. These tools are mainly aimed at growing, engaging and monetising the audiences. With all the right tools in the right place, businesses can utilise the right combination of apps on the Gevme platform. Being a one-stop solution, data can be seamlessly transferred across tightly integrated applications, providing a more secure and cost-efficient way to plan omnichannel events.
Having worked with numerous stakeholders, from WiT to NUS, we have delivered high-impact, immersive event experiences that have been enjoyed by both virtual and in-person attendees. Looking ahead, we believe that as the events industry continues to witness major developments and growth, our Gevme solutions and technologies will keep evolving.