Clients fundamentally changed their tactical spend, new agency research reveals

Businesses have had to rethink how they do sales and marketing, while the pandemic has transformed event and experiential marketing, according to Pico’s vice president of strategy and global activation Tyronne O’Callaghan.

New industry research from the Pico Group reveals “fundamental” changes in event and experiential marketing, alongside insights in whether its professionals are equipped to deal with the new challenges the industry faces.

In an in-depth interview, O’Callaghan decodes the results of the research and outlines where brands are seeing success and where they see room to improve.

“The heightened level of tactical importance for virtual and hybrid events revealed by the 2021 survey makes it obvious that those formats will further establish themselves as the norm in the short term. Indeed, considering the pace of economic recovery and vaccination in much of the world, physical events are almost certain to remain the exception rather than the rule for many markets,” O’Callaghan.

“However, we believe the perceived value of offline events is still strong because of the uniqueness of what they offer to audiences. Their intimacy, sensory stimulation and emotion are hard to recreate digitally. When we quizzed respondents about critical success factors for virtual events, over 70% said ‘interactivity’ and ‘personalisation’,” he added.
 The research included executives (11%), directors (31%), managers (46%) and other titles (12%) from a wide variety of industries.

Insights were collated across Asia Pacific (65%), Europe (19%), North America (13%) and the Middle East/North Africa (3%).

Virtual and online events were rated more highly in 2021 than the year before: 71% said they were ‘very’ or ‘extremely' important, up 26% a year-on-year.

As would be expected, more than 90% said they have held or are considering hybrid events, while just 32% said offline or live events were ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important, compared to 45% in 2020.