Is it still worthwhile for companies to consider event management as an important marketing strategy, given the cheaper investments in new media?
In reality, events (corporate and otherwise) with “physical” meetings of participants continue to exist and increase in number: the event manager becomes an increasingly sought after profession and the profession profile is structured with specific and transversal skills and competences.
Why does this happen? We have already talked about it here: simply, the “physical” meetings will be expensive but the value in terms of ROI remains among the highest, so much so that the most important brands continue to keep event marketing as an important item in the advertising budget.
It is the sociologist Fausto Colombo who explains why this happens: remembering a golden rule of communication, where relationships come before the media they use, he says that the exchange that takes place within a “face to face” event is of higher quality, being something more engaging, more lasting, more “valuable” than the contact mediated by social.
This means that if relationships are strong, they will tend to develop through every possible channel, if they are weak they will use few channels, especially those at lower cost because the expectation on the relationship is low.
In case of communicative relationships considered important, then you can have flows ranging from virtuality to reality, or vice versa: on facebook you have the opportunity to know a brand that then wants to be tried, as if it has a good opinion of a product you will try to know it better by “like” its page.
In short, far from excluding each other, the real world and the virtual world seem to be one completion of the other: in the age of the net events tend to assume an even growing importance and can develop into new forms integrating the physical encounter with the potentiality given by technology.
Therefore, there will be no disappearance of event management in the face of new virtual opportunities, but only an increase in the expectations that every event manager must face.
What are the prerogatives that an event must fulfil to be attractive to the target audience? The sociologist Colombo also defines at least three of them: it is essential that the event management is managed taking into account the possibility of INCONTRO, APENDIMENTO and TRANSFORMAZIONE given by the event itself.
1. The meeting
Behind the apparent proximity of social networks there is often a great distance. The other is there mediated by photographs, preferences, declarations expressed through status. And the same goes for us. But in the real encounter with the other, on authentic occasions (and even organized meetings can be) behaviors will also have to be improvised by virtue of the immediate feedback of the audience. It is not only the brand that reveals itself most, but also the public immediately manifests itself. This desire for authenticity is now a very strong need, to which online availability is almost never able to respond.
We are more likely to spend our time meeting others if we feel that this meeting makes us learn something that we could not learn otherwise. It may come as a surprise that in front of a virtually infinite availability of resources we are looking for opportunities that require more time and energy. The transmission of knowledge becomes more and more precious, and more and more mediated by the encounter, by the interaction, by the emotionality typical of the interpersonal relationship in presence.
3. The transformation
On authentic occasions we change ourselves. Change requires a ritual step: we know that we are incentivised to spend our time and energy (not to mention our money) if we have the impression that what we do is capable of providing us with a worthwhile experience, which can cause us to improve towards well-being. Events make sense especially if they suggest, and then realize, this possibility of transformation and improvement.
In conclusion, new technologies should not be given either a miraculous value or a diabolical role (they will destroy encounters between people).
Events based on “physical” encounters will continue to be the best communication tool ever invented, if they guarantee true and useful learning, a profound encounter between participants and the opportunity for transformation, i.e. change and novelty.
To obtain all the event management will have to use new technologies, inventing different and new formats where people remain protagonists: those who feel protagonist of an event, in fact, then want to share their experience through social media, continuing to communicate the event even after it occurred.