By Lisa Major
Experiential marketing was booming as we entered 2020, in fact, it was shaping up to be an epic year for the industry. But as Covid-19 spread through the U.S., the industry came to a screeching halt within a matter of days. This left marketers and event organizers scrambling to reevaluate how to reach consumers amid the pandemic.
During this time, we’ve seen many companies and brands pivot to virtual events. And while this has certainly filled a void, it’s harder to keep attendees engaged on virtual platforms as time drags on. That’s not because of poor execution, it’s because of human nature. Humans are social beings, and we crave interaction with others. Face-to-face marketing engages the senses and allows consumers to feel, see, and talk with brands directly. It’s unique and effective because it put brands directly in front of consumers, and allows consumers to engage with a brand on their terms.
Face-to-face marketing makes an impression and creates memorable moments by immersing consumers into the brand’s story and allows them to experience the brand first-hand in a highly personalized environment. When consumers can physically interact with a brand and its products or services, it paves the way for deep-rooted and lasting connections.
Communicating with consumers in-person is far more effective than communicating virtually. Messaging is better received when a consumer can make eye contact with a brand ambassador, feel the warmth of his or her smile, and read their body language. These non-verbal cues aid in making the message natural and genuine.
Face-to-face experiences trigger an emotional response because they are sensory. Sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste all have an impact on how people remember things. By providing consumers with a positive, multi-sensory experience, brands can count on making lasting connections and forging relationships.
Consumers crave transparency from the brands they support, but it’s hard to convey authenticity on a virtual platform. When consumers have a real-life, face-to-face conversation with your brand ambassadors, that’s when the magic happens. Consumers are savvy, they want to support brands who demonstrate who they are and what they stand for, and the only way that can happen is by creating two-way conversations. That’s what builds trust and eventually leads to brand loyalty and evangelism.
Face-to-face marketing fuels user-generated content. People love sharing their lives via social media, and in-person experiences set the stage for amazing content that lives on long after the initial interaction takes place. Sure, virtual events can setup hashtags and contests, but we know when it comes to social media, photos and videos capture the most attention.
We are lucky to have the technology available to communicate with each other virtually, but let’s face it, the lack of face-to-face interaction is incredibly difficult. We have been bombarded with broadcast and digital ads over the last few months, and when we’re able to safely interact in person again, people are going to be more than ready for face-to-face brand experiences.