Over the past two years, the world has undergone some immense changes. As a society, we’ve experienced lockdowns and isolation, had the option to shop in-store stripped away and been deprived of attending countless in-person events.

As a result, most businesses began to focus on the digital, with some setting up their online presence for the first time, while many others directed their marketing budget away from in-person marketing efforts and into digital and virtual marketing channels.

However, now that the world is returning to normal and restrictions all over the world look like they’re going to be lifted for good, it’s time to bring the focus back to human connection – something that we’ve all been starved of for the last couple years.

With this in mind, here are 3 reasons why you should lead with human-to-human marketing in 2022.

  1. In-person events are the most effective tools for brand activation.

HubSpot defines brand activation as an in-person event or experience that creates an emotional connection, and a meaningful relationship, between a brand and its target audience.

Compared to scrolling past an ad on social media or looking up and seeing a branded billboard on the way to work, in-person brand activations allow your target audience to develop positive, memorable, emotional associations with your brand.

In this way, brand activations – such as in-store events, sampling campaigns or other branded occasions – do so much more than increase brand awareness and make your target audience familiar with your brand name.

Unsurprisingly then, when surveyed by events authority Bizzabo in 2020, it was found that 95% of respondents believed in-person events had a major impact on achieving business goals, while 85% of those in leadership defined in-person events as critical to company success.

With in-person, human-to-human experiences, a brand is cemented into the minds of its target audience, along with all the positive associations they developed as a result of a fun or exciting brand event, which they carry into the future and draw upon whenever they think of your brand.

This is crucial to creating brand trust and loyalty and makes those who attended your events more likely to become long-term customers of your brand.

2. Now, more than ever, human-to-human marketing will leave a lasting impression.

In the wake of the pandemic – and the subsequent lockdowns and social distancing measures that were enforced – many still crave human connection, as well as the thrill of attending in-person events, after missing so many in 2020 and 2021.

Indeed, in a 2020 survey conducted by the PCMA, 72% of respondents said that an in-person event was worth undergoing all the extra safety precautions, including wearing PPE and getting vaccinated. This reflected the general sentiment throughout the survey that people had had enough of virtual events and wanted to experience live events once more.

Many have come out of the pandemic feeling as though they have lost two years of their lives and are desperate to make the most of every opportunity to get out, interact and attend events, to make up for lost time.

This is why, in 2022, human-to-human marketing has the greatest ever potential to make a lasting, positive impression on consumers, allowing a strong relationship to be developed between brands and their target audience, inspiring a loyalty to the brand that extends far into the future.

Additionally, the most effective form of marketing is having delighted customers tell other consumers how great your brand is, since the opinions of real customers are trusted more than any other traditional marketing channel – and delighting customers is something you can do by hosting a killer in-person brand activation event.

3. Thanks to social media, events are incredible for creating brand awareness.

Along a similar vein, in-person brand activation and human-to-human marketing events are incredible for gaining free marketing and advertising for your brand.

In the 2018 EventTrack survey, it was found that 98% of brand event attendees created digital and social content at brand events, including recording footage of the event, products and brand. Of the 98% of those who created this type of content, 100% shared this with their respective audiences.

In this way, your brand can reach thousands – and often millions – of members within your target audience, who are able to see your brand plastered across event attendees’ social media profiles.

This is even more important in 2022 if your brand is targeting the younger generations, as the rise of video-sharing platform TikTok is dominating what’s popular with Gen Z and millennials.

What’s more, by inviting guests to your brand event with a following comprised largely of your target audience, you can imbue that audience not only with the awareness of your brand, but with the trust they already associate with the person attending and supporting your brand event.

So, if you want to make the most out of your marketing budget, take your brand to the next level and develop a positive, strong relationship with your target audience, prioritise in-person brand activation and human-to-human marketing in 2022.

Laurent Durant – CEO of Tradeway Promotions