3 ways marketers can increase email engagement

Email engagement can be a major problem for brands in an oversaturated digital world. So, it’s no surprise that less than 60% of marketers believe their campaigns are successful, according to Smart Insights. But the main issue doesn’t appear to be the content of their emails. Instead, it seems to stem from outdated email frameworks and communication tactics.

“Part of the problem is that inboxes are overflowing,” said Matt Harris, co-founder, and CEO of email builder Dyspatch, in his session at our MarTech conference. “People are getting more emails than ever before, so it’s an increasing challenge for you to compete in the inbox, let alone get that engagement you need.”

Full inboxes only account for one aspect of poor engagement; the other element is non-interactive media.

“The other part of the problem has to do with the evolution of technology,” he said.

Image: Dyspatch

Harris asked viewers to consider how people use phones today, highlighting how they differ from traditional email formats. “We’ve evolved to a point where people use their phones more than a desktop computer. We use apps, we use gestures like swiping — clicking to expand and zoom in — which is an active, engaging experience. In contrast, email is still a static medium and hasn’t evolved much since the introduction of HTML.”

“You have to change the email experience; make it un-static and app-like by bringing the same kind of interactivity people are used to into the inbox,” he added.

To that end, Harris provided some helpful ways marketers can transform their customers’ inbox experiences using the latest email technologies.

Interactive loan sliders, mortgage calculators, or quizzes

One of the most important things modern email lacks is interactive elements. These features can help brands introduce that app-like quality to their communications, fostering deeper engagement.

Online lending marketplace LendingTree introduced interactive sliders into their email campaign; Harris pointed out how this changed revolutionized their customer experience: “They use AMP to share an interactive personal loan slider right in an email. This is a next-level engagement technique — it’s hard to resist trying this out in the email. The users can see exactly what their loan would look like without ever leaving the inbox.”

interactive email slider
Image: Dyspatch

He added, “With that experience, they [LendingTree] saw an 86% increase in click-through rate, so we know that using AMP delivered results for them.

Harris recommends marketers apply this interactivity principle to a variety of email applications, whether they use AMP or another technology.

Personalized upsells

New email technologies can help marketers sell more products to customers by recommending similar items to those they’ve viewed. When applied to email, brands have the opportunity to add a personalized touch to consumer messages.

“You could apply it to your emails today by sharing personalized suggestions based on what’s in their cart right at that moment,” said Harris.

Existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products on average, so it would be unwise to neglect these upsell opportunities. Email can help brands work to generate personalized upsells before, during, and after purchasing.

Live shipping notification emails

Instead of sending a slew up shipping update emails — which could lead to customer disengagement — new technologies allow marketers to update these messages in real time, in one email.

“You wouldn’t have to send multiple shipping notification emails anymore,” Harris said. “You can send just one and it would update to show the latest status of a parcel. Every time a user opens the email, they wouldn’t have to click through multiple pages to see an update.”

“Email engagement has been steadily declining the past few years,” he added. “To remain relevant in the inbox and continue to see high ROI, brands need to reimagine email as an interactive app-like experience.”

He added, “Implementing these emails will help your brand stand out in these saturated inboxes and increase engagement.”

Watch the rest of this presentation at the MarTech conference here (free registration required).

About The Author

Corey Patterson is an Editor for MarTech and Search Engine Land. With a background in SEO, content marketing, and journalism, he covers SEO and PPC to help marketers improve their campaigns.

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Top Commercial Cleaning Supplies for Your Business

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If you are starting a commercial cleaning business or you are already running one, finding the right commercial cleaning supplies is just as important as your marketing and bookkeeping. The right commercial cleaning products will help you make money faster as you are able to clean more commercial spaces in less time.

Commercial cleaning is a rewarding industry with a huge potential for growth. New commercial buildings keep coming up by the day, and as long as these buildings exist, there will always be a need for cleaning services. Here are some essential cleaning supplies that you need for your cleaning business.

Best Commercial Cleaning Supplies

  • Top Pick: Dryser Commercial Cleaning Cart
  • Runner Up: Rubbermaid Mop Bucket with Wringer
  • Best Value: Veco 16 Oz Spray Bottle

Dryser Commercial Cleaning Cart

Dryser Commercial Janitorial Cleaning Cart on Wheels

Moving your commercial cleaning supplies from one room to another can be a tough feat, but it doesn’t have to be. The Dryser commercial cleaning cart includes multiple carry hooks for your dusters and brooms and 3 sturdy storage shelves allow you to carry everything you need. The cart also uses 3-inch non-marking swivel casters and 8-inch rear wheels that are deceptively quiet, so you can move around healthcare facilities, school buildings, and busy offices without disrupting those around you. An ergonomic easy to grip handle prevents hand fatigue and allows you to easily maneuver even with a full cart.

Dryser Commercial Janitorial Cleaning Cart on Wheels – Housekeeping Caddy

Buy on Amazon

Rubbermaid Mop Bucket with Wringer

Rubbermaid Commercial Products, Mop Bucket with Wringer on Wheels

This commercial mop bucket and wringer from Rubbermaid Commercial Products includes a 31-quart mop bucket and integrated mop wringer that means better mop performance, more effective wringing, and no more lost parts. It also rolls on 4 non-marking casters and the built-in handles make it easier to empty the bucket. This yellow plastic bucket weighs 10.67 Pounds.

Rubbermaid Commercial Products, Mop Bucket with Wringer on Wheels

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Veco 16 Oz Spray Bottle – 5 Pack

Veco Spray Bottle (5 Pack,16 Oz) with Measurements and Adjustable Nozzle

You certainly need reliable and durable spray bottles for your cleaning business. The Veco spray bottle uses an adjustable nozzle with three spray modes that range from a steady stream to a fine mist. The extra-long suction tube ensures you get the last liquid sprayed out. The bottles are BPA-free and are made from durable HDPE plastic that’s chemical resistant meaning you can safely use a variety of chemical solutions like rubbing alcohol, bleach, and bleach. The 2-finger trigger design and the ergonomic neck give you a comfortable grip, allowing you to use the spray for extended periods while avoiding hand fatigue.

Veco Spray Bottle (5 Pack,16 Oz) with Measurements and Adjustable Nozzle

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SupplyMaid Waterproof Professional Cleaning Apron and Tool Belt

SupplyMaid Waterproof Professional Cleaning Apron & Tool Belt

This cleaning apron is the perfect companion for your cleaning business. The belt uses a waterproof and stain-proof material that allows you to wipe off any mess and without worrying about staining. The adjustable strap fits a variety of waist sizes from 24″ to 52″ and the special clips allow you to always carry your duster, so it is within reach whenever you need it.

SupplyMaid Waterproof Professional Cleaning Apron & Tool Belt

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Tonmp Microfiber Duster

Tonmp 4 Pcs Microfiber Duster, Microfiber Hand Duster Washable Microfibre Cleaning Tool

The Tonmp microfiber duster uses fine microfiber strands that easily hold dust, so you don’t have to keep trying to pick the dust from the surface.  The extendable and bendable head design allows you to easily clean those hard-to-reach spots. This duster uses a non-slip handle and a hanging hole for convenient storage. The pack contains 4 pieces and is also available in 4 colors: green, blue, red, and orange.

Tonmp 4 Pcs Microfiber Duster, Microfiber Hand Duster Washable Microfibre Cleaning Tool Extendable Dusters

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Ettore Professional Window Cleaning Kit

Ettore Professional Window Cleaning Kit with 4' Extension Pole

This is the perfect starter window cleaning kit for your cleaning business. The kit includes three 18,14, and 12-inch stainless steel channels with rubber and you also get an extra set of replacement rubbers. It also comes with a 4-foot extension pole for those hard-to-reach areas, a 6-gallon bucket with an Ettore ProGrip quick release handle, and three microfiber detailing towels to ensure you always end up with a sparkling clean finish.

Ettore Professional Window Cleaning Kit with 4′ Extension Pole

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Rubbermaid Reveal Spray Microfiber Floor Mop

Rubbermaid Reveal Spray Microfiber Floor Mop Cleaning Kit for Laminate & Hardwood Floors

Waste less and save more with this Rubbermaid floor mop that uses a washable and reusable microfiber pad, so you don’t need to keep going to the store for refills. This mop is also super easy to use. Simply add hot water and two teaspoons of your preferred cleaning solution to the 22-ounce refillable bottle and you are ready to mop. The mop also uses a non-scratch scrubbing pad that helps loosen stubborn spots.

Rubbermaid Reveal Spray Microfiber Floor Mop Cleaning Kit for Laminate & Hardwood Floors

Buy on Amazon

What to Look for When Buying Commercial Cleaning Supplies 

There are a variety of commercial cleaning supplies out there, but not all of them will be ideal for your commercial cleaning business. Here are a few things that you need to consider when looking for commercial cleaning products.

  • Durability: You need commercial cleaning products like mops and buckets that are made of durable and long-lasting material that can withstand daily use. Durable products might be a bit costly in the short run, but they are reliable and also tend to be more cost-effective in the long run.
  • Size of the area: Consider the size of the areas that you will be cleaning. This will determine the size for the product you will buy. Large surface areas need supplies that come in larger sizes.
  • Environment: The commercial spaces that you are cleaning will also determine the products that you choose. For instance, hospital operating rooms and cares homes for the elderly will need cleaning supplies that provide high hygiene levels. Alternatively, spaces used by people with allergies might benefit from the use of eco-friendly products made from natural ingredients.
  • Stains: Just as important as the environment is understanding the kind of stains that you will be dealing with. Some commercial properties such as stadiums and restaurants will often have tough stains that need to be removed. You need to correctly select the right type of products that can quickly and easily remove the stains without any damage.
  • Time and Weight: Keep in mind the amount of time you spend using your commercial cleaning products. If it is for extended periods of time, ensure your commercial cleaning supplies come with ergonomic handles that help avoid hand fatigue and non-marking casters that make it easy for you to move your products without marking the floor. Consider the weight of the products too. You need products that you can easily move from one floor to another.

Image: amazon

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Customers demand digital-style experiences in physical retail stores

The latest “State of Retail” report from product review and UGC platform Bazaarvoice shows that almost half of consumers are now looking for in-store experiences to reflect the kinds of experiences they enjoy online and especially on social media. Among the desired technological enhancements to in-person shopping were:

  • Interactive screens;
  • No-checkout options powered by cameras or sensors;
  • QR codes that can be scanned to read customer reviews;
  • Virtual customer service interactions in-store; and
  • AR technology for virtual try-ons.

These “wants” were recognized by retailers too, many of whom are planning to meet these needs. Shoppers and retailers were also in alignment when it came to identifying negative experiences for customers. These include not only price increases and bad previous experiences, but also:

  • Bad media coverage;
  • Negative reports from friends;
  • Lack of sustainable initiatives; and
  • Negative reviews on social media.

Interestingly, it mattered little whether the negative review came from someone the shopper follows on social media or someone they don’t (one percentage point). Bazaarvoice surveyed 8,000 consumers worldwide and 500 retail industry decision-makers.

Why we care. This is another harbinger of changing shopper behavior. Having become, by necessity, accustomed to the online shopping experience, shoppers are now looking to transport some of its benefits to brick-and-mortar shopping. We’ve long said that brick-and-mortar wasn’t over but that it would become a hybrid digital/physical experience. No surprise that the pandemic is accelerating that.

Bazaarvoice, of course, has a stake in retailers offering customer-generated content like reviews and images, but there are other kinds of experiences talked up in the survey too.

About The Author

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space. He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020. Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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Ecommerce marketers weigh shipping hikes in 2022

Prices for many goods and services are on the rise, and this includes shipping costs by major carriers, Shopify tells us in their 2022 report. Marketers, especially those with an ecommerce focus, should factor these changes in their 2022 strategy to remain competitive and avoid turning off consumers when they’re finalizing their purchases.

Online shopping continues to expand. Adobe projects a 10% increase year-over-year from last year’s holiday buying season. With all of this momentum, increased shipping costs shouldn’t be a major deterrent to shoppers. But how you manage the increases could give your brand the edge.

USPS. Effective January 9, 2022, retail rates for First Class Package Service will go up by $.50 for packages that weigh one to four ounces, and they’ll go up $.30 for packages weighing five to 12 ounces. Packages over 12 ounces will climb $.80 to $1.70.

Retail rates for Priority Mail Express will also increase by 3.1%.

UPS. Published rates for UPS are going up by an average of 5.9%. This will be effective December 26, 2021.

For small business that sell through Shopify, the online marketplace’s Shopify Shipping rates are negotiated and won’t change. This means a savings of up to 86% through Shopify’s program.

For UPS, the ZIP codes for Delivery Area Surcharge and other location-based surcharges will also be changing, effective January 9, 2022.

DHL Express and Canada Post. On January 1, 2022, DHL Express retail rates will increase an average of 5.9%.

And Canada Post rates will go up an average of 3.5% domestically, and 2.8% to the U.S., effective January 10, 2022.

Why we care. For ecommerce heavy retailers, shipping costs affect brand messaging (Free Shipping!), loyalty, customer service, and, most of all, the bottom line. If you’re not a retailer through Shopify and leverage their special rates, your team might also try renegotiating with your preferred carriers directly.

About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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Very Peri is Named the 2022 Pantone Color of the Year

Pantone, the world-leading expert in color, has announced its Color of the Year 2022 is a new shade of blue.

Known as Very Peri – officially PANTONE 17-3938 Very Peri – the shade fuses a what Pantone describes as a “dynamic periwinkle blue hue with a vivifying violet red undertone.

Very Peri – 2022 Pantone Color of the Year

Very Peri combines the consistency of blue with the energy and excitement of red, creating a warm, happy and empowering new shade. For sectors that are dependent on the latest shades, knowing the Color of the Year is vital to ensure products adhere to the latest fashion and demands.

Adopting ‘must-have’ colors is also important for branding. Being conversant with and adapting the Pantone Color of the Year, continues to be an important marketing strategy for businesses of many sectors. Some brands even overhaul their color scheme every year so it’s in line with the latest Pantone Color of the Year announcement.

Pantone’s color system has been implemented into color-conscious industries, such as beauty, design and textiles, for decades.

Fuses Trustworthiness with Creativity

By fusing consistency with excitement, next year’s color promises to be an invaluable look for businesses yearning to exude creativity as well as trustworthiness. As Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute, comments:

“As we move into a world of unprecedented change, the selection of PANTONE 17-3938 Very Peri brings a novel perspective and vision of the trusted and beloved blue color family.

“Encompassing the qualities of the blues, yet at the same time possessing a violet-red undertone, PANTONE 17-3938 Very Peri displays a spritely, joyous attitude and dynamic presence that encourages courageous creativity and imaginative expression.”

By driving decisions among shoppers and retailers alike, each year Pantone’s announcement is hotly anticipated by commercial industries. Past colors of the year going back to the year 2000 can be viewed here.

pantone colors of the year 2008-2015


Pantone Color of the Year Winners 2000-2022

A history of the Pantone Color of the Year award winners. In the years 2016 and 2021, Pantone chose 2 colors for the honor. Every other year, just 1 Pantone color is selected.

Year Pantone Color Pantone Number
2022 Very Peri 17-3938
2021 Ultimate Gray 17-5104
2021 Illuminating 13-0647
2020 Classic Blue 19-4052
2019 Living Coral 16-1546
2018 Ultra Violet 18-3838
2017 Greenery 15-0343
2016 Rose Quartz 13-1520
2016 Serenity 15-3919
2015 Marsala 18-1438
2014 Radiant Orchid 18-3224
2013 Emerald 17-5641
2012 Tangerine Tango 17-1463
2011 Honeysuckle 18-2120
2010 Turquoise 15-5519
2009 Mimosa 14-0848
2008 Blue Iris 18-3943
2007 Chili Pepper 19-1557
2006 Sand Dollar 13-1106
2005 Blue Turquoise 15-5217
2004 Tigerlily 17-1456
2003 Aqua Sky 14-4811
2002 True Red 19-1664
2001 Fuchsia Rose 17-2031
2000 Cerulean Blue 15-4020

Even for businesses that don’t create products that rely on the latest color trends, adopting Very Peri into marketing channels could be a savvy strategy to help reach out and appeal to trend-conscious customers and clients.

Image: Depositphotos

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What the CDP Institute learned from dozens of use cases

Use cases are the bacon of technology management: they make everything better, from strategic planning to product deployment.  They’re especially important for Customer Data Platform projects, where requirements are often poorly understood.  To make things easier, the CDP Institute offers a free online use case builder that leads users through the use case development process. 

We recently examined anonymized data from more than 70 use cases created in the builder and published the results.  Here are some conclusions we hope you find useful.

  • CDPs are both platforms and applications.  We ask users to classify their use case based on its ultimate product.  The options form a sequence – or you can call it a maturity model – that starts with data assembly, move to analytics and predictive models, and ends with outbound campaigns, real-time interactions, and cross-channel orchestration.  Each relies on the preceding products: you can’t do orchestration without campaigns, can’t do campaigns without analysis, and can’t do anything without assembling the data first. 

Before looking at the data, we would have guessed that the more basic levels would be more common, simply because more users would be at earlier stages of development.  We would have been wrong: products were clustered at either end of the sequence, with data assembly accounting for 31% and two of the most advanced, campaigns and interactions, accounting for 33%. 

On reflection, we realized that analytics and predictive models are rarely goals in themselves: users want their CDP to provide measurable value, which usually means driving an application such as a campaign or real-time interaction.  This happens either when the CDP itself provides that application or when the CDP is a platform that feeds its data to an external application.  People who specified a data assembly use case probably had good applications in place, and simply wanted their CDP to support them.  People who specified campaigns, interactions, or orchestration as goals wanted those applications built into their CDP.  A close look at the use cases listed under analytics and predictive models supports this view: many of these were sending their results to external sales or customer service applications, which few CDPs can provide.

This variety of use case products helps to explain the continuing confusion over what’s really needed in a CDP.  There is no one answer: some buyers only want a platform CDP that assembles data; others want their CDP to include analytic or customer-facing applications.  Which category you fall into becomes clear when you define your use cases.

  • Many use cases have simple requirements.  CDPs often have dozens or even hundreds of data sources.  Yet one quarter of the use cases required three or fewer sources and two or fewer destinations.  Averages were 5.2 sources and 4.3 destinations.  There were similarly low figures for the number of departments, Key Performance Indicators, and CDP functions.  More advanced use cases don’t necessarily involve more data or departments, but they do require more functions since they depend on the previous tasks in the sequence. 

The lesson is it’s fairly simple to deploy initial CDP use cases and start earning value – especially if you start with the less demanding use cases like data assembly and analytics.  That’s the good news.

In practical terms, this result means that expanding beyond the initial, simple set of use cases requires continual incremental work to add new data sources, new users, new measures, and new functions.  That, in turn, means that CDP projects can get the most returns as quickly as possible by first deploying use cases that require the same resources, and then moving on to cases that overlap with those resources as much as possible.  Adding use cases for a new department is an especially big leap because you’ll probably need to add new sources, users, functions, metrics, and destinations all at once. 

This incremental deployment is the classic “crawl, walk, run” approach beloved by consultants everywhere.  It’s a good approach but, unfortunately, can be misinterpreted to mean that you it’s safe to start your project by focusing on just a small group of initial users.  The fallacy should be clear: those initial use cases may need only a few resources but later use cases will require many more.  You have to identify those long-term needs at the start of the project so you can buy a system that will meet them and can build a realistic project plan.  That requires collecting use cases from future users at the start, even though those cases won’t be deployed any time soon. 

The full report includes many more insights and enough charts to wallpaper a small shower.  Enjoy.

About The Author

Founder and CEO at the CDP Institute.

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Fearing Omicron wave, marketers less likely to attend upcoming in-person conferences

A man sits in the crowd, wearing a surgical mask, at an in-person event.

Marketers give it a 50/50 chance they will attend an in-person event, conference or trade show in the first half of 2022, a new MarTech survey has found. It’s a statistic that should scare any event organizer who had hoped this two-year uncertainty for in-person gatherings was nearing an end.

Respondents to MarTech’s Event Participation Index gave the likelihood they would attend an in-person business event in the first half of 2022 a 5 out of 10. That outlook improved slightly for the second half of 2022, when marketers gave the likelihood a 6 out of 10.

Marketers gave it a 7 out of 10 likelihood they would attend an in-person event in the first half of 2023, but the pandemic has shown us just how much can change in a year.

This past survey marked the eighth time we have fielded the Events Participation Index, and there’s a clear pattern in the data. When asked about the likelihood of attending events more than 6 months away, respondents were always more optimistic. But each time those far-away dates got closer, their comfort level fell.

For example, respondents in March 2021 gave the likelihood of attending an event in the first quarter of 2022 a 7 out of 10. But marketers give the entire first half a 5 out of 10 when asked again this November.

It’s not surprising, given the rise of new variants like Omicron and the reluctance by many to get vaccinated against the virus. But for event planners, it just means the optimism your registrants have today may not be there come event time.

The chart below shows the likelihood respondents gave for attending events within three months of the time the survey was fielded. It shows that we are indeed out of those darker periods where in-person gatherings were either canceled or not remotely feasible. But it also shows that we’ve yet to see a period where likelihood crosses 50%.

That hesitancy is also playing out in budgets. About 78% of the 220 marketers who took our survey said they are budgeted to attend only a small number of events in 2022.

“I think event producers should expect continued reduced attendance and plan for smaller, regional events,” one respondent said. “I think events need to shift away from the model where exhibitors need to commit a year or more out. Perhaps more pop-up type events that are more nimble and have more allure because of the intimacy and the opportunity for deeper connections.”

Virtual events or bust?

Just because potential attendees are wary of in-person events, that doesn’t mean they are all-in on virtual events. Respondents gave the likelihood they would attend a virtual event in the first half of 2022 a 6 out of 10 chance. What’s interesting is that was the same likelihood they gave for the second half of 2022 and the first half of 2023.

It suggests that just as there are likely people who will never feel comfortable at an in-person event, there are others who either do not see the value in virtual events or are “fatigued” by the sheer volume of virtual events that are available now.

“Virtual events are convenient, but they aren’t the same. I don’t want to sit on a virtual conference all day; the times are always weird and it’s too easy to skip a session if I have a project due,” one respondent wrote.

However, that comment represents the minority. Most respondents suggested that organizers continue to focus on hybrid and virtual experiences, especially if they need to once again cancel in-person shows.

“I prefer virtual events as an attendee,” wrote one respondent. “Limiting travel expenses and time has allowed me to attend more events than ever before. Some in-person is nice, but prefer this to be after an initial relationship is established and the goal and value of the offerings are clearly established.”

Our data also supported that. When asked whether they would prefer to attend events in-person or virtually, 27% said they preferred to attend in-person only, 34% said they preferred to attend virtually and 39% said they would prefer to attend in-person and access virtual components.

“I think people will expect hybrid events to become the norm,” wrote one respondent. “In-person attendance may stay a bit lower than historical numbers and virtual attendance will increase overall attendance significantly. Event hosts will play with pricing to figure out the ideal gap between in-person and virtual prices.”

No clear path for event organizers

Salesforce last week held its Dreamforce NYC event in New York, but concerns over the new Omicron variant led the marketing technology giant to step up safeguards, according to an email sent to attendees before the event that laid out the protocol.

“Complete an onsite rapid test through testing partner Senneca on December 9. Testing hours are 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET. COVID testing may take up to an hour so please arrive early and plan accordingly. Look for your Dreampass in your email once your vaccine record and tests are verified. You must have your Dreampass to enter the event space. Bring your favorite mask and be prepared to wear it while you’re onsite.”

While these safeguards certainly add a new hassle to in-person experiences, people are generally in favor of protocols like this if it means they can attend conferences. For example, more than 70% of respondents to our survey said organizers should mandate that attendees be vaccinated.

In fact, despite the Delta variant wave this year, marketers did attend in-person events in 2021. About 30% of our respondents said they attended up to two in-person business events this year. About 16% said they attended up to five events, 4% attended up to nine, and 4% said they attended 10 or more.

Of course, that also meant 46% attended no in-person events this year.

So what are organizers to do? Many companies are moving ahead with in-person conferences in 2022, as of now, but our data suggests that attendance at least for the first half of the year will continue to be below pre-pandemic levels.

If anything, the data we gathered highlights how deliberate companies need to be in making decisions on holding events. There is hope but also plenty of concern on the part of audiences about in-person safety that will certainly affect attendance. Meanwhile, just because virtual is cost-effective, that doesn’t mean audiences, particularly those who valued events for networking purposes, are going to accept virtual as an alternative to in-person.

“I think they should expect a pretty even split in their audience of folks who choose to take part in only virtual sessions versus attending in-person. Even for myself, I much prefer attending in-person but am starting to heavily use any virtual content, especially post-event,” wrote one respondent.

“I think two things are equally true,” wrote another. “Some people miss in-person events, but others have appreciated the time and money saved by attending virtual events. The companies that do virtual well will have an advantage going forward. Teleconferencing companies have made it easier for things like break-out sessions, replicating the networking benefits that come from in-person events.”

Events Participation Index timeline

  • August 2021: Delta variant has marketers less eager to return to in-person events this year
  • April 2021: Most marketers expect to attend in-person conferences by early 2022
  • February 2021: Marketers say COVID vaccines create hope for quick return of in-person events
  • September 2020: Marketers hopeful for late 2021 in-person conferences
  • July 2020: No in-person events until 2nd half of 2021, marketers say
  • June 2020: Prospect for in-person conferences fades for 2020
  • May 2020: Many marketers unlikely to attend in-person conferences until COVID-19 vaccine

About The Author

Henry Powderly is vice president of content for Third Door Media, publishers of Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than a decade in editorial leadership positions, he is responsible for content strategy and event programming for the organization.

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