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BizReport : Social Marketing : October 20, 2020

Expert: How live events can work with digital strategy

One of the biggest buzz phrases for 2020, other than lockdown, has been digital transformation. But, as more and more people turn online for shopping and entertainment because of coronavirus lockdowns the digital transformation of brands has become even more important. We asked a digital expert how brands can use live-but-online events to strengthen their digital performance.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: With so many merchants and brands eschewing in-person events because of limitations on gather sizes, how are virtual events beginning to bridge that gap?

Leena Iyar, Chief Brand Officer, Moxtra: Events are a huge part of traditional marketing budgets and a valuable way of interacting with customers and prospects. Not replacing this piece of the puzzle from a marketing strategy would lead to many missed opportunities. Virtual events present a modern day solution to connect with customers in a more personalized and informal way. While targeted ads, social media and other traditional channels can be easy to ignore in the digital deluge of 2020, virtual events present a voluntary opportunity for current and potential customers to interact with your brand in an engaging and personal way.

Kristina: What does Facebook's expansion of support for online events within the social network mean for online gatherings?

Leena: Facebook's support for online events within the social network increases a brands ability to engage customers on a familiar platform. While video conferencing platforms have become household names over the last six months, many customers still don't have access to the platforms or want to download a new application to a phone or computer. Using a web-based platform that customers are familiar with is a great way to connect and engage with customers who might miss out on other virtual event hosting platforms.

Kristina: Do you believe that online events are a good step for merchants to take at this point?

Leena: Virtual events are quickly becoming an essential part of any customer engagement strategy. Building a brand identity that mirrors and blends in store and online experiences will keep customers coming back. Take a brand like Apple, for example. The brand has successfully replicated the in-store experience virtually through consistent service experiences , personalization and customer service. When customers visit the Apple virtual storefront, they feel they are in a brick and mortar store -- they know what to expect and will keep coming back. That same theory can be applied to virtual events to reinforce familiarity, engagement and personalization even more for customers. For retailers, virtual events can be used for "online pop up sales" to drive traffic and revenue while giving customers a unique experience to link to a brand.

Kristina: What problems might a merchant/brand encounter during an online event?

Leena: As with any experience turned virtual, technical difficulties can make or break an event, and unfortunately, are unpredictable and unavoidable. Other difficulties can come with the growing audience that virtual events draw. While a pop-up sale traditionally would draw local customers, moving virtually opens up room for time zone mix-ups, platform accessibility issues and backend system integration (CMS platforms, payment gateways and fulfillment centers).

Kristina: What steps can be taken to mitigate these prior to the event start?

Leena: Mitigating technical difficulties will come with practice and experience. Having a go-to technical support team member driving the event will help streamline troubleshooting. For customer specific difficulties like time zones and platform accessibility, communication is key. Make sure to deliver information in a concise and consistent way that gives customers clear information and easy-to-follow instructions for accessing the event. Prior to setting up the event, internal teams should work to make sure all systems are properly configured and integrated to streamline any connected processes, like payments and fulfilment.

Tags: advertising, digital strategy, ecommerce, live event trends, Moxtra, social marketing, social marketing trends

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