Media and Marketing Sector Survey from The 614 Group Also Shows That More Than Half Anticipate That All Future Conferences Will Feature Virtual Dimensions
Despite the “work from home” advantages of wearing pajamas all day and avoiding a commute, when asked what they missed most about face-to-face contact with business associates, over 340 media and advertising executives agreed that they miss several teamwork benefits of face-to-face connections—but proximity to “the boss” isn’t high on the list.
According to results from The 614 Group’s “The Future of the ‘In-Person’ Business Economy,” a new, ongoing tracking survey of professionals from advertising agencies, marketers, publishers, and ad tech companies, the top things that they miss about in-person business interactions are “simple human contact with others on the team” and “the ability to network beyond my immediate circle” (25% each). Those responses were closely followed by “being able to get things done with short unscheduled conversations” and “cultivating relationships among colleagues” (21% and 20% respectively). In sharp comparison, merely 10 percent cited “onsite access to bosses.”
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In response to a question asking if attendance at in-person events will go back to pre-pandemic levels once the virus runs its course, a third said “no,” while more than a quarter (27%) felt it was too soon to tell. Less than a fifth (19%) stated that attendance at in-person gatherings and conferences would return to prior levels.
Still, findings make clear that there will be a lasting impact on the industry’s events business, with more than half (51%) of respondents expecting that all live gatherings and conferences will have some sort of virtual dimension post-pandemic.
To better understand the role that in-person event attendance played in businesses before the crisis, the research asked respondents about their primary reasons for going to the live gatherings and conferences. The two most frequent responses were “opportunity to learn about the latest developments in the industry” and “a way to meet new business prospects and generate leads” (68% and 64% respectively). Respondents also noted that live events served as an opportunity to “spend quality time with current clients” and provide “social time with peers” (56% and 44% respectively).
When asked about what types of virtual events will regularly occur in the future, four different formats emerged as contenders:
- Global virtual events with live video feeds from headliners speaking about big issues (62%)
- Virtual events designed to foster community and share thought leadership among defined groups of experts/specialists (59%)
- Global virtual gatherings of country and regional experts to foster global communities of those experts (51%)
- Member only virtual networking gatherings designed to connect businesses with prospects (47%)
In addition, nearly a quarter of respondents said that “AR/VR experiences shared by remote event attendees with the goal of creating unique opportunities to demonstrate/try new products/services” are on the near-term horizon.
“This series of findings will provide the industry a window into the future of doing business in 2020—including the most critical needs we need to address in virtual environments—as the world inches out of lockdown,” said Rob Rasko, Founder and CEO, The 614 Group.
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“Smart, well-curated virtual events can help bring the ecosystem together at this crucial time, allowing us to move forward, while navigating unpredictable terrain,” said John Montgomery, Executive Vice President, Global Brand Safety, GroupM. “I’ve already been a part of a handful of standout virtual gatherings and look forward to participating in more.”
“The research offers insights into the kinds of virtual events, gatherings and human connections that could help professionals successfully build and conduct business in the ‘new normal’ that is taking shape,” said Sherrill Mane, Managing Director, Research and Media Strategy, The 614 Group, who is spearheading “The Future of the ‘In-Person’ Business Economy” initiative.
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