In-person events are back, and some are bigger than ever
Some good news for event marketers is that the insurance industry has seen in-person events come back on the scene with a bang, with some recording record attendance.
The World Health Organization officially declared the end of the “global emergency” phase of the COVID-19 pandemic on May 5, 2023. However, the COVID-related disruption gave the world and the insurance industry a idea of what is possible when human interaction and event marketing are forced to move online. Marketers found that one of the benefits of online events was that they made it much easier to take a less city-focused approach and accommodate people who would have a harder time traveling.
Insurance event marketers can now find themselves spoiled for choice, with in-person, hybrid and fully online events now accepted avenues to bring customers closer to companies and build brand awareness. While more options can only be a good thing, event marketers need to make sure they align their strategies and not go broke in this brave new world. This, according to marketing and communications experts at the Insurance Marketing and Communications Association (IMCA), represents a challenge.
insurance business asked three IMCA marketing experts how they have been navigating the plethora of options available while sticking to a budget. From cutting down on paper to finding ways to create content that will continue to resonate with viewers online, they shared their top marketing tips.
How can you stretch your post-COVID event marketing budget?
insurance business asked IMCA experts: Face-to-face events are back and in some cases bigger than ever. You had good results with new event marketing strategies during the pandemic. You have the same budget and now you need to prioritize. How does your event marketing budget stretch?
Jessica Marshall, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, CRC Group and IMCA Director and Treasurer
QUOTE The easiest way to waste your marketing money is to be unclear about your goals.
“The easiest way to waste your marketing dollars is to be unclear about your goals. I prioritize spending based on what aligns most with our mission of putting the customer first. If something helps differentiate our company and sets us apart, then it’s worth the investment.
“We also leverage social media because it’s largely free, fast, and flexible, while also providing useful analytics that give us insight into what our audience is most engaged with.
“We also stretch the budget through content marketing. While it takes time, focusing on quality and delivering value to our customers is a great way to keep costs to a minimum in the long run.
“Focusing on quality and value also allows us to spend money where it makes the most sense.”
Emily Hathcoat, Vice President of Marketing, Risk Placement Services (RPS), Past IMCA Board Chair
QUOTE When we plan events now, we always consider the virtual component.
“I think the challenge we are facing now in event marketing is the need to accommodate both in-person and virtual access to the same event. Our customers appreciate being able to attend events but not travel, particularly in more suburban and rural locations, and still want the convenience experienced during the pandemic.
“While this challenge makes it difficult to fit everything within the budget, the opportunity is to develop things for an event that have a longer lasting use. Much of what is created for a virtual event can be reused in various ways after the event, thus gaining some profitability. When we plan events now, we always consider the virtual component. When we create assets for virtual, we look at the longer-term marketing plan and what we can create that can be used elsewhere and even more broadly.”
Charlene Goodwin, Vice President of Marketing, Admiral Insurance Group and Director of IMCA (pictured below)
QUOTE Reducing the use of paper flyers provides a better attendee experience and saves a few pennies.
“You can put on an amazing event without a big budget. Being in a relationship business, we always boil everything down to what will allow us to deliver a unique and memorable experience. As you would with any marketing tactic, focus on your audience and the purpose of the event.
“Consider using low-cost options like Fiverr for creative needs, rather than going to an agency. In 2022, we hosted a Step Brothers-themed boat cruise and used people we found on Fiverr to write lyrics and record them for us. The result was incredible and cheap.
“We are also cutting back on printed materials for our events. We rely on QR codes, marketing automation, and event apps to deliver documents directly to attendees’ phones and inboxes. We print high-level agendas on attendee badges for easy hands-free access. Reducing the use of paper flyers provides a better attendee experience and saves a few pennies.
“Another area you can usually cut with little to no impact is upgraded bedding, chairs, and tableware/table settings when hosting meals. Never once did anyone complain that the table wasn’t fancy enough!”
The three marketing experts not only have years of experience in insurance marketing, but are also members of the IMCA. He North American Marketing Trade Association was founded in 1923 and is comprised of individuals with experience in marketing, public relations, corporate communications, and emerging digital communication practices. In addition to connecting professionals and seeking to elevate the insurance marketing profession, the organization also has guidelines intended to maintain brand standards within the industry.
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How have you been navigating event marketing after the COVID-related disruption? Have a question for the IMCA panel of marketing experts? Let us know your best tips and challenges you face in the comments below.
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