Events and conferences have always been a key component of a successful multichannel marketing strategy. Many marketers rely on them for initiating and strengthening relationships with customers, prospects, and partners. Then came the pandemic and marketers had to turn on a dime to adapt for event engagement.
Adapting to Hybrid
More than two years later marketers and event managers continue to adapt to an ever-changing landscape. First, marketers transitioned to virtual events which evolved into a hybrid model. This combined the best elements of in-person and virtual conferences. Now, we’re seeing standalone in-person events making a comeback, according to a recent study by Splash, an event marketing technology company.
Splash surveyed 253 event professionals and 3,133 event attendees in the U.S. for its Getting Back to Business, An Outlook of Events in 2022 study, and found that organizations are bullish about events in 2022:
- 50% of companies plan to host more in-person events in 2022
- 92% continued hosting virtual events even when in-person events resumed, and 46% plan to host more virtual events in 2022 than they did in 2021
- 79% to host hybrid events in 2022
With event participation increasing across the board, it’s incumbent upon marketers and event managers to boost engagement with customers, prospects, and partners and find new ways to cultivate and grow business relationships. E-gifting is an excellent way to do this for in-person, hybrid, and virtual events.
Marketers can use e-gifting to easily build personalized relationships with prospects and clients by sending gifts digitally in seconds via email or text. Recipients receive a customized gift notification and can modify or exchange the gift on their device before it ships. This helps eliminate the need to gather shipping information in advance while ensuring a satisfied recipient with a gift they truly want. It’s the end of “one size fits nobody” event gifts that no one wants or uses. With e-gifting, there’s no need to worry about what size the person wears or what color they prefer. What’s more, the shipping completes with a few clicks of the mouse so it’s really a great time-saver.
An added benefit is that marketers don’t need to “guesstimate” how many gifts to bring to an event. They don’t need to worry about the costs of shipping gift items to the conference venue or storage hassles. Plus, there’s no issue with having to transport unused items back to the office to store them in the “marketing closet” to take up space and gather dust or — even worse — simply throwing the excess away.
Demonstrate a Touch of Personalization
One of the interesting features of e-gifting is that it allows marketers and event managers to show a creative side. To personalize any gift, it’s easy to add a video message, which has been shown to increase close rates for more than 50 percent of sales professionals who leverage video as part of their sales cycle. Personalizing gifts leaves a lasting impression. It lets the recipient know they are appreciated. It also shows that the tailored gift meets their unique needs or interests.
Additionally, e-gifting can help companies build long-term relationships with customers and prospects. Who wouldn’t want to receive customized gifts? Whether they receive them at an event or for other occasions such as a customer anniversary or as part of a seasonal campaign?
According to a study by Coresight, conducted among 300 corporate gift buyers, 80 percent of respondents claimed that gifts have improved relationships with coworkers and clients. Moreover, 48 percent said gifting improves customer loyalty and delivers a substantial benefit, as it makes recipients feel valued. Marketers and event planners are taking note. The same Coresight study projects the U.S. corporate gifting market to reach $306 billion by 2024.
It’s easy to see why recipients favor e-gifting. The burden lightens from carrying around lots of corporate swag, since everything associated with the gift is done online. Plus, gifting platforms offer an interactive digital unwrapping experience, thereby making the gift even more memorable. The bottom line is that, by seeing the item online and making changes based on personal preference, the recipient has a better experience. This leaves a positive lasting impression.
Case Study: e-Gifting at an In-Person Event
Spending time personalizing a gift might be what separates you from the competition. Consider Bishop-McCann, an award-winning event management company that partnered with GiftNow to design and deliver the gifting experience.
Attendees at a recent conference received an attractively designed flyer during registration. This comes with a unique QR code and instructions on how to access and redeem their gift. Once scanned with their device, the QR code opened a digital gifting experience complete with an animated greeting, a thank you message, and a choice of one of six stylish and sporty designer sunglasses. Attendees make their selections on their devices and provide shipping information to receive their gifts. For those who wanted a more tactile experience, Bishop-McCann provided samples. Attendees could try on the sunglasses before choosing. They were also given the option to forego their gift and donate its value to a charitable organization.
The entire experience meant that attendees didn’t have to tote around their sunglasses, worry about losing them at the venue, or misplace or damage them when traveling home. Instead, their gift safely arrived at their office or home after the conference.
Ninety percent of the conference attendees claimed their gift. Of that total, five percent opted to donate the gift’s value to the charitable organization. Sixty-five percent sent a digital thank you note raving about the unique experience, the convenience of not having to lug their gifts around, and the opportunity to donate to a charity. The thank you messages also provided another opportunity for Bishop-McCann to engage with attendees.
“Our client and their conference attendees were thrilled by the e-gifting experience Bishop-McCann designed with GiftNow,” said Melissa McCray, Strategic Account Manager at Bishop-McCann. “E-gifting delivered a fun and memorable experience that stood out from the typical swag that’s often handed out at events. E-gifting also provided multiple opportunities for our client and their conference attendees to engage and connect during the event and after when they received their gifts at their preferred shipping address.”
By simplifying and improving the gift-giving process, e-gifting helps marketers focus on making their events special. It gives them the confidence that their event gifting strategy will make a lasting impression.