Will Community Marketing Outshine Event-based Marketing in 2022?
In the last few years, we have seen a lot of changes in the marketing world. And with every change, there are winners and losers. With the rapid rise of social media platforms and new technologies, event-based marketing has come under scrutiny by some marketers who believe we may be seeing its demise within the next few years more likely because people are spending more time on social media channels than they do attending networking events. After all, it is so easy to share content and stay connected with friends and family members through these channels.
Consumers today are faced with many pitches and advertisements. As such, marketers need to catch the buyer’s eyes to influence their purchasing decision. Now, marketers have long been using event marketing as an effective way of connecting with their customers. This marketing offers a valuable marketing strategy for all businesses, including medicine, retail, education, non-profit organizations, etc.
But another fast-rising marketing strategy is community-based marketing. Engaging customers at a community level proves to be a successful and sustainable strategy for brands. With many businesses shifting to this marketing, some experts believe it could replace event-based marketing.
Whether or not that is true is a wait-and-see matter. But let’s learn about these marketing types to help you make an informed decision when deciding which to choose.
This blog post will examine why community-based marketing might replace event-based marketing in 2022 or the future. We will also discuss what marketers can do about this upcoming trend.
Community Marketing Definition
So what is community marketing? It’s a marketing strategy that tries to connect a brand with a group of people with the same interests, values, and affinities. To understand how these marketing types work, you should understand their meaning.
It aims at engaging and attracting new customers on a local level through neighborhoods or cities. It connects a brand to a particular community using a communication platform, where they exchange values and create mutual understanding. This platform can be digital or not, and marketers don’t need to build a community from the ground.
While you can create your own group, there’s nothing wrong with using established ones. What matters is that you start conversations and look for opportunities to make connections like events and meaningful relationships.
Event-Based Marketing Definition
We now know what community marketing is, but what is event marketing? It involves executing an event to promote a brand or product/service. Events can be hosted online or offline, and brands can be the hosts, sponsors, or participants.
Marketers can execute various events through this marketing. For instance, they can organize a roundtable with ten guests, sponsor a sporting event or set up a trade show. Through these events, customers can interact with the company firsthand and understand its goals, focus, and personality.
They can also hold more than one event in a day, attracting many attendees, sponsors, speakers, etc. The size of your event or the platform used isn’t as important as the value it brings to customers and the overall brand.
The different types of event marketing include conferences, seminars, workshops, pop-up shops, lunch parties, and celebrations, among others.
What Are the Benefits and Drawbacks of Community Marketing?
The main benefit of community marketing is that it creates a better customer experience. It helps marketers understand their audience and provides touchpoints for various initiatives such as gathering customer feedback.
Having a solid community helps a brand build consistency since community members interact and rely on each other to make buying decisions. Understanding the community can help a brand determine a better experience. In return, it boosts revenue. Additionally, a brand can remain relevant and gain customer loyalty through community marketing.
Customers generally love responsive brands. As such, positioning yours as one helps build a loyal customer base. If your community is online, you can respond to complaints or questions quickly, thus attracting customers to your brand.
Again, your business can grow through word of mouth from community members. One survey revealed that many consumers are willing to share their good and bad experiences with others. Since communities have ready advocates, they can recommend products or vouch for a specific brand. Thus, helping it grow.
However, note that community marketing is a long-term approach. It also requires a high commitment level. You have to be dedicated to supporting the community, always listening to members, and ensuring constant communication. Therefore, marketers should prepare for a long-term project.
Pros and Cons of Event Marketing
Event marketing can help build brand awareness as it allows your company to interact with potential buyers. You can use events to share your ideas and thoughts and your brand’s personality.
An event will almost always attract the target demographic. The right event allows a company to interact with prospects already interested in what the company offers. Also, this marketing can help generate new leads.
It helps increase the customer engagement level. Events offer a chance to introduce your products/services to those who may not know about them.
But event marketing is costly and doesn’t guarantee the marketer a profitable return. Also, planning, organizing, and executing an event can be time-consuming. Plus, if several companies host the event, your business will also compete with them.
Community Marketing Strategies and Ideas
Community marketing ideas include:
- Advocacy and ambassador programs- Advocates and ambassadors of a community help drive conversions and set up events. Brands should connect with them through an advocacy or ambassador program. Such a program rewards customers advocating for a brand and sets them up for ambassador positions.
- Host events- Physical events provide a human touch, as face-to-face interaction. They are a chance to create meaning and traditions within your community.
- Gifting- Gifting helps you grow your community quickly. It creates real value for the customer and boosts their loyalty. But make sure you offer gifts relevant to the brand and the community.
Community Marketing Examples
The Lego community is an excellent example of community marketing manifesting through its community marketing platform, Lego Ideas. Community members here can share products and creations they have made using Lego. Then the members can vote for the best idea.
Community Marketing VS Event Marketing
Although these marketing types have pros and cons, some experts project community marketing as the future of marketing. That is because it helps marketers build a community around their brand. As such, the customer enjoys value in all stages of their buying journey and better products.
Community marketing concepts entail bringing the community into everything a company does and creating better customer experiences. As such, it helps a brand to grow quickly and cost-effectively, unlike with event marketing.
Why Community Marketing Might Replace Event-Based Marketing
Community marketing is a great way to build relationships with consumers and have more control over the message they get from you. It is also much less expensive because it can be done online, so there are no travel expenses or in-store requirements.
Unlike community marketing, event-based marketing is expensive, time-consuming, and only allows you to reach a small percentage of your target market. You also have no control over consumers’ message or brand impression when they meet with an event representative face-to-face.
Another primary reason community marketing might replace event-based marketing in 2022 and beyond is the enormous social media usage. Over the years, we have seen a significant shift happening with current marketers. When you look at the statistics below, it is easy to see that social media sites are now dominating our lives and how we spend time online.
This trend will continue as more people move away from personal computers and mobile devices, making sharing content much more accessible.
- Twitter: 206 million monthly active users
- Facebook: More than one billion active users
- LinkedIn: 300 million monthly active users
- Pinterest: 400 million monthly active users
- Tumblr: 17 monthly million active users
But, Event-Based Marketing Might Still Dominate in 2022
Though it is clear that community marketing is on the rise, event-based marketing will continue to dominate in certain areas for a few reasons:
1. People Like to Congregate in Person
You can only get some things from an in-person experience, such as feeling the excitement of being around others who share your same interests, getting real-time feedback, and building relationships in person.
2. People Like to Have Control Over Their Own Experience
With event-based marketing, people can choose the most relevant events to them and their interests. They also have more control over the content they consume since they are not restricted to what is being shared on social media.
3. Events Are More Personal
People feel special and have an individualized experience, which you cannot always get from online interactions.
What Can Marketers Do About These Mixed Trends?
Through community marketing is on the rise, event-based marketing should not be underestimated. The key for marketers is to find a way to merge the two to get the best of both worlds. As a marketer, you should aim to:
- Make Your Events More Social and Personal: You should take steps towards turning a regular event into a community-based experience that will prompt people to share their opinions online about what they are doing at these gatherings. This can be done by adding live-streaming capabilities, geo-tagging posts for attendees, displaying attendee photos on screens during events, encouraging real-time engagement, and having a designated social media hashtag for people to use.
- Use Social Media Platforms To Create More Engaging Content: Rather than just posting about your events on social media, you should be creating content that will prompt people to want to attend these gatherings. This can include videos, blogs, infographics, and even contests.
- Create Virtual Event Experiences: Though there is something to be said for the real-life aspect of attending an in-person gathering, you can always create a high-quality experience online that people would still enjoy participating in. This has been successfully done by brands such as Red Bull and GoPro, who have created many videos showing their events from multiple angles using various social media platforms.
- Become a Resource for the Community: Rather than just being an event promoter, you should be taking steps to become more of a resource that your audience is looking towards. This can include having guest bloggers write articles on your website, hosting online webinars with industry experts, etc.
Event-based marketing has been around for a long time, and it is still very effective for certain types of businesses. But if you are not emphasizing community-based marketing, you may be in for a rude awakening in the next few years.
The Bottom Line
Community-based marketing is here to stay, and it will become increasingly important in the years to come. If you are not prepared for this change, you will be left behind!
Do marketers need to worry about community marketing replacing event-based marketing in 2022 or the future? No, but they should start preparing for it now! Event-based marketing will still be around for a while, but community marketing is on the rise and should not be underestimated. By using some of the tips mentioned above, marketers can find a way to merge these two methods and create more engaging and successful campaigns.