- The event marketing industry declined an estimated 15% in 2020, but it’s expected to pick up this year.
- Agency Superfly, which works with Google and Verizon, created a presentation to help clients return to events.
- It recommends that brands proceed cautiously and budget for health checks and cancellations.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The pandemic hit the event marketing industry hard, with global revenue declining an estimated 15% to just under $72 billion in 2020.
But in-person promotions are critical to big advertisers, and companies like HBO, Amazon, and IBM have already started returning to live event marketing as local governments ease travel and business restrictions.
Ad agency Superfly created a pitch deck to advise companies on live events strategies during the pandemic. The agency works with companies like Disney, Facebook, Citi, and WarnerMedia, oversees brand sponsorships for outdoor music festivals Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, and recently created pop-ups celebrating the anniversaries of “Seinfeld” and “Friends.”
Superfly first created the deck in December to help CMOs who are asking when to resume in-person promotions and for proof of returns on their event budgets, said co-founder Rich Goodstone.
Goodstone told Insider that around 60% of his agency’s business concerns experiential marketing, or staging live events, and he’s betting on a big comeback in the second half of 2021.
Superfly clients started returning to events around April, though many are hesitant to jump back in while their employees and customers are still working remotely, he said. Some clients — especially those that focus on business-to-business conferences — have followed Microsoft’s playbook in sticking to virtual gatherings.
Scroll down to see select slides from the deck.
Now, advertisers are budgeting for scenarios such as cancellations and evolving regulations.
Superfly suggests that advertisers limit attendance and allow people who've been vaccinated or quarantining to enter separately.
Sponsors are now paying close attention to refund policies.
In a sign of growing demand for live events, one outdoor music festival sold 50,000 tickets in 30 minutes, the agency said.
Health screenings, extended entry periods, and "digital vaccine passes" have become standard at many events.
Many brands have turned to drive-thrus and even literal bubbles to ensure the safety of attendees.
The agency calls for advertisers to encourage social sharing to maximize an event's value.
Citing its work for Square and Facebook, Superfly suggests advertisers create separate content platforms to keep attendees engaged at virtual events.
The agency says picking locations is critical because of the need to deal with local officials and regulations.
Superfly says marketers should understand audiences' varying openness to taking risks in the pandemic.
Superfly shared research showing many people plan to stick to some pandemic behaviors, but in-person events are returning.
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