2021 was another year in which we were all somewhat separated from our communities. Yet it was also a year in which community became more important than ever. More so than in 2020, marketers and wider society alike had access to the tools, know-how, and technical expertise required to build and maintain communities – even when physically separated from them.
Whether its finding ways to safely reunite in person or finding new ways to digitally reunite from afar, the events sector has played a crucial role in keeping communities alive. The relationship between community and events has been a reciprocal one – just as events have kept communities surviving, communities have kept events thriving.
With uncertainty ongoing, establishing genuine connections via events will remain vital in 2022. 41.7% of respondents ranked community and brand loyalty as a top priority for the year. Now more than ever, people need
spaces where they can feel safe to pursue their work and passions.
Beyond simply a beneficial wellness practice and an act of goodwill, however, a community-based event marketing approach has far-reaching and substantial benefits. It is a cost-effective method of generating PR opportunities and advance ticket sales, improving visibility and SEO, as well as motivating team members and customers alike. Considering the benefits, it is unsurprising that over half (52.1%) of respondents already market their events directly to their community – making it the third most popular channel (following email and social media marketing).
Active community participation in the organization of events can be a valuable strategy too, especially for strengthening relationships and elevating engagement. Participants are far more likely to share your event on their social channels if they feel like an active component of its success.
It is for these reasons that we recommend events marketers do away with the top-down approach in 2022. Instead, start conversations with your community at “Day Zero” of event planning to bring participants into the fold. That in turn invests community members in its success and allows them to take pride in the results.
Nick is a personal branding enthusiast and field marketer who is paving the path for others in the industry as the new era of field marketing 2.0 comes into play more. He is also an active community builder with 20K+ followers on Linkedin. We spoke to him about the importance of community.
Let’s Talk About “Community”
Nick Bennett, Director of Field, Community, & Partner Marketing at Alyce
I think community means a lot of different things to people.
A community can be company communities for your prospects and customers. It can be a sponsored community to drive champions and awareness within target accounts. It can be your community and tribe that you build via social that ultimately leads to driving awareness and revenue. You need to figure out your “why.” What are you looking to achieve out of the word community?
We are. I think the pandemic really accelerated community growth in 2020 and then you saw it take off even more in 2021. I think in 2022, it will be much more focused on niche communities and really elevating people and their careers vs just another massive community to get people into Slack.
You will see way more tools and resources being developed for communities. Also, I think you are going to start to see even more B2B companies hire community managers internally.
No one likes to be alone. The pandemic brought so many people into commu- nities who never had them before. Communities have given people like me a sense of feeling and belonging. A place where you can ask ques-tions, not be judged, and level up your career to a whole new place. It’s accelerated growth for a lot of people too; helped them find mentors, new jobs, and just continued to network.
If you don’t have a community and can’t find one, it’s time to build one. More voices are better than few.
Virtual event: This does not have to be a boring webinar or a pixelated conference livestream. With a few good ideas and the right tools, it can become an event with real added value that will inspire your participants.
For 52.3% of English-speaking respondents, engagement rate was the most valuable KPI. But beyond the event marketing buzzword of the decade, what does engagement really mean and how is it meaningfully facilitated?