As customers we demand faster, more convenient digital communication and as marketers we continue to invest digitally more and more- so is there really a space in the industry for bringing people together face-to-face?
Every-thing is increasingly available at the stroke of a key, or the tap of an i-phone; our expectations of how we talk continues to change; we want faster and more convenient communication: According to OfCom (2016), the proportion of instant messaging used by adults increased from 28% in 2014 to 43% in 2016, while email usage and texting decreased in the same time period. Not only do we want to talk with every-one, within any business, we want to do it right now!
So what are Marketers doing about this?
Marketers are adapting, prioritising budgets to capture the attention of the busy, demanding, digital people we have all become. According to Gartner (2017) Marketers are looking to invest heavily in 3 main areas; digital commerce, digital advertising and marketing analytics in order to achieve company goals for 2017. For those with the budgets, competing online is a priority, the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (2016) cites Digital AdSpend as +16.4%, with Display leading the way at +21%, but what if you don't have the budgets?
Is communication with people off-line an option?
If you are a smaller marketing business, you may not have the budgets to place yourself on a level playing field digitally, but maybe you can offline. Events and exhibitions may be a good opportunity to meet your audience face-to-face, especially if your competitors are involved, for example take a look at the B2B Marketing Expo.
But what about our need for convenient, instant information? - is this motivation the only one we should consider? Perhaps not; according to OfCom (2016) 41% of us believe we are spending too much time online. Individuals are now making an active effort to 'detox', stepping away from the computer screen, to feel more productive, even liberated! Events facilitate such off-line interactions with your audience, and for me, it is their rare occurrence which makes them special; A date to add to the diary, personal to you but also shared by your competitor, and your audience.
The thriving Marketing Events sector has shown me that the most passionate digital marketing people value a day out of the office to meet in person, to share ideas, check out the competition or do business. Which is why, so long as digital marketing is growing sector, there will always be space for face-to-face in a digital world.
Ofcom (2016) Communications and Market Report Bite-sized
Gartner (2016) Gartner CMO Spend Survey 2016-2017
Internet Advertising Bureau (2016) H1 2016 Digital Adspend Results