BrightTALK Study Reveals COVID-19’s Impact on Marketing Strategies
SAN FRANCISCO, October 9, 2020 – BrightTALK, the virtual events platform that brings professionals and businesses together to learn and grow, today announced results from its survey of 1,000 marketing professionals across the globe, “Marketing Impact Report: COVID-19’s Effect on Marketing Priorities.” The study provides an in-depth analysis of how marketing strategies have shifted due to the global pandemic.
As businesses embraced remote working, marketers quickly pivoted to in-person programs and turned to new engagement tactics to drive demand in an especially noisy digital marketplace. The survey showcases the dramatic shift in channel prioritization, with webinars and virtual events now considered the most important channels, and 84% of companies increasing the frequency of their webinars.
The survey data reveals that the ability to leverage virtual events and webinars has gone from a “nice-to-have” capability to a “must-have” capability. Prior to the pandemic, 77% of respondents said that in-person events were very important to their marketing strategy; however, 60% of responding companies will not host a live event during the remainder of 2020. The overwhelming majority of respondents – at 92% –are considering some type of virtual or online event, conference or meet-up in the next 6-12 months.
The findings of the report align with BrightTALK’s increase in demand for its virtual event offering. From 2019 to 2020, the number of summits produced on the BrightTALK platform increased by 44%, with a corresponding customer increase of 180%.
Respondents believe virtual events are here to stay and, looking ahead post-COVID, expect to integrate a digital component into their physical events when they start having in-person events again. Survey respondents note that value will be the deciding factor when it comes to planning whether or not an event is virtual or physical.
“The data from the survey validates what we expected,” said Nick Markwith, Sr. Director of Communities at BrightTALK. “Many marketers have turned to webinars and virtual events to quickly replace the loss of in-person events to their demand generation strategy and have found success. While there will always be a place for in-person events, we are expecting to see more marketers use a hybrid strategy to extend the value of their content into a virtual event.”
While more marketers are turning to webinars and virtual events, the study surfaced that companies need help when it comes to producing and extracting marketing benefits. Marketers aren’t sure how to execute webinars and virtual events to their full advantage – 35% said keeping an audience engaged was their biggest challenge – or they are using these channels for the first time and are suffering from a steep learning curve around driving demand effectively.
“To drive demand, it’s essential to create an authentic connection with your audience by focusing on providing value first. Buyers want a trusted partner, not another vendor selling to them, and trust takes time to build,” said Markwith.
In addition, the study demonstrated that while a majority of respondents have used virtual events, only 34% are doing so consistently and as a core part of their marketing strategy. The leading reason marketers aren’t producing more virtual events is due to time and content creation challenges.
“A regular cadence is essential to webinar success,” said Markwith. “There’s a common misconception that you need a big team and a lot of resources to produce webinar content. That’s where we come in; BrightTALK can do the heavy lifting for companies looking to ramp up their webinar and virtual event programs and drive leads to your events.”
It’s still too early to tell what will happen for next year. As companies begin planning for 2021, many are still unsure whether or not they will have in-person events. According to the survey, only 37% are planning to move forward with physical events, while 49% are unsure, and 14% will definitely not do so.
For a more in-depth look at the findings, tune into BrightTALK’s webinar here.
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