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The new virtual event strategy: Spoiler – humanize the tech

30-second summary:

  • Thinking creatively with your virtual event formats will be crucial to enticing potential attendees. Bite-size video content (5-30 minutes) provides a sweet spot for our current work-from-home era that is rarely unplugged and online-reliant.
  • Not every element of in-person events should be adapted to the virtual environment – and that’s ok. Be aware of the virtual elements that might be disruptive versus those that provide value. Eliminate non-essentials.
  • If the premise of a live event is too daunting due to unforeseen technical difficulties, opt for pre-recorded sessions.
  • The virtual environment provides content longevity through on-demand access and the ability to leverage recordings through social channels and networks.

The past year saw organizations pivot strategies repeatedly – from team management to client communications and everything in between – to adapt to and embrace a fully virtual environment.

Needless to say, everyone is online for every aspect of their day-to-day and it’s only becoming more saturated. Zoom fatigue has entered our vernacular due to the overabundance of virtual meetings, events, and conferences popping up left and right that, in normal circumstances, would be attended in-person.

So how do marketers combat the increase in virtual engagements to produce and deliver something that stands out in the sea of competition?

When time and space is tight, be an escape

It may seem like a daunting mission to create something memorable within the confines of the digital atmosphere but rest assured, it can be done.

For starters, we already bring new meaning to an important component of this experience: “know your audience” – when both you and your prospective audiences are working from the kitchen counter or corner of the closet (hey, privacy can be hard to come by!), we have an acute understanding of our end-user to help us create and deliver something truly special.

First rule of thumb: not every virtual event needs to be a full day, or even an hour! When everyone is already stationed at the computer all day, we’re more susceptible to multitasking to the extreme and staying online for longer hours – answering Slack messages, responding to emails, working on to-do’s.

This is where bite-size video content comes in handy. Think 15-minute fireside chats, 30-minute round tables or even a 5-minute question and answer format – a shortened length provides a sweet spot for the busy professional.

Avoid formatting faux pas in favor of authenticity

There’s a lot of pressure to take an event that would typically be held in person and literally adapt it to the virtual climate. Think of the mayhem – a live audience tuning in and submitting questions digitally (where we would typically raise our hand and have time to answer one at a time)?

Hosting multiple sessions held throughout the day (some even during competing time slots)? Doesn’t mean to say it can’t or shouldn’t be done but let’s first discuss how to avoid some common formatting faux pas.

Picture it now: your event is about to commence, but then your WiFi starts buffering, your speakers start talking over one another, and on top of it all, someone’s computer freezes causing a force-end to an event that was meant to be far from over.

A live (virtual) event can be tricky. Content, though, is still king. It can be hard in the moment, but remember as event organizer, it is your primary job to do the unthinkable – declutter the confusion, calm the nerves, and let a bit of humanity shine through to the audience.

Provide the element of authenticity your audience craves. Pre-prepare your guest speakers for such challenges. Encourage them to chock it up to a comical anecdote. And guess what? In the process, they’ll actually be loosening up the audience, subliminally encouraging them to begin to actively participate in the scintillating dialogue that is about to unfold.

We’re all human. Sometimes a tech error can actually break down the screen barrier.

And when tech glitches happen – provide a buffer

If the potential of a live, technical downfall feels too stressful to endure, let alone overcome, there are other alternatives to consider. Top of the list is pre-recorded content – this can mitigate the fear of our technologies potentially combusting before our eyes.

By providing a buffer between recording the session and your target event date or time, you can also get ahead of digital marketing efforts.

You’ll have insight to the conversation that can be used for promotion across channels and creative assets. And if there is any final editing to the video itself – whether overlays or bleeping out accidental profanities said during a passionate conversation – you have ample time to make those adjustments.

The session topic can also help indicate which is the best format. If the topic is more timely, then live might be a preferred format to allow speakers to discuss industry happenings.

Regardless of which route you choose, you should consider providing attendees with access to the video sessions on-demand. People are busy and sometimes new meetings pop-up on their schedule day-of or a client fire happens and they’re unable to attend the virtual session at the last minute.

While the option may incentivize less people to tune-in the day the video content goes live, with a good marketing strategy you can continuously drive traffic towards your sessions on a consistent basis over a period of time.

Make sure you’re leveraging a platform that can serve as that content hub (with added engagement additions) to help with this step. We may not be sourcing venues for conferences but we can still provide something exciting.

The content, agenda and topics are certainly a crucial component of creating a virtual event that stands out. But full-day sessions with back-to-back activities (virtual happy hours and the like), from a scheduling perspective, are difficult to commit to for attendees.

When your audience no longer has the flexibility to shut off work for the day to attend as they would have in-person, you have to be considerate of the attention span.

Bite-size content, creative formats and content available post-event are important elements that can help your virtual event break through the digital clutter and have the impact it deserves.

Jani Lehtimäki is the Co-Founder of Brella. He has 10+ years of experience both in the event industry and sales. Jani believes that empathy and compassion are the essential tools for a meaningful life, long client relationships, and great workplace culture.

The post The new virtual event strategy: Spoiler – humanize the tech appeared first on ClickZ.

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How to leverage AR in your digital marketing strategy

30-second summary:

  • AR serves as one of the best opportunities for digital marketers to promote their product effectively.
  • It makes it easy for a customer to visualize the product before purchasing.
  • Digital packaging makes it more engaging and drives higher sales.
  • Using AR with digital marketing strategy gives an authentic and unique perspective to the brand.

Augmented reality (AR) is no more a concept limited to sci-fi movies. If you are familiar with the digital retail digital marketing of 2020, you must have known that it has made its way to marketing long before.

Marketing experts are showing interested in adopting this amazing technology in their digital marketing strategy. They have some compelling reasons for this.

Do you know, 72% of online shoppers buy products they had not planned because of AR? Or that 61% of them prefer retailers that use AR?

In 2020, 32% of users had already used AR apps for shopping. This is the time you should realize that AR is not just impacting digital marketing, but it is transforming it forever.

This new industry is literally on the rise. The net worth of the AR market is $3.5 billion. And according to Citrus Bits, the market is set to grow by $61.4 billion by 2023.

Seven ways you can leverage the power of AR in your digital marketing strategy

Let’s discuss some of the ways augmented reality can change your digital marketing strategy forever:

1) Allow you to grab customer attention

Good marketing is all about capturing people’s attention. In the past, it was quite simple, but with the advent of new technologies, it has become quite difficult. You need to find out innovative practices to boost brand visibility and awareness.

AR technologies allow you to do this. With AR, you can collect plenty of attention from your target audience in ways that traditional promotional tactics such as Television, billboard, and print media cannot. You can reach a huge number of peoples within no time, and this is the beauty of AR.

Plus, you can excite customers, which forces them to buy from you.

2) Product visualization for digital marketing strategy

Augmented reality empowers today’s consumers by handing them the ability to visualize products.

In its basic definition, product visualization can be described as a process where images and graphics are used by companies to visually communicate the products to the customers. To this date, a lot of companies are doing this by enabling their e-commerce sites and demo apps with visual product configuration software.

Take IKEA, for example. The Sweden based furniture retail company has recently replaced its traditional photography with 3D renderings. The digital catalogs and IKEA app let users see how a piece of furniture of a specific color and size would look in their homes.

According to a survey, more than 75% of customers worry about buying the wrong size of the furniture. AR apps are great technological advancements that can help retailers reduce the hassle of returns and regrets.

3) Letting customers virtually try before they buy

You can try your next pair of glasses that you are going to buy by just using your smartphone.

Integrating AR technologies in your digital marketing strategy would allow customers to understand what they’re buying- and how precisely cosmetics, clothing, and accessories, etc. would work for them.

It’s all about putting your product in the hands of customers virtually so that they can make more informed decisions. The direct-to-consumer eyeglass brand, Warby Parker, launched a ‘virtual try-on’ system that lets its customers try glasses at the comfort of home.

People just need to download the app, pick the style of the frame they want to try, and then activate the feature that opens up the front camera and place the glasses on your face. The glasses stay fixed in their place even if the person moves and tilts their head.

4) Creating a buzz around the brand

Augmented reality can work both directly and indirectly for your digital marketing strategy. If you’re not launching a new product, you can still use AR technologies to uplift your brand reputation and increase awareness among the target audience.

By offering an unexpected reality experience, you can create a significant hype around your new brand. Since AR is still a new concept in the market, using it as part of your marketing plan can help you create memorable moments for people with the brand.

Take some inspiration from the beauty brand that thrived even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sephora has created an AR app that lets people buy perfect makeup during the pandemic. The company partnered with an AR firm ModiFace that scans the human face and lets consumers try on different hundreds of cosmetic products so that they can pick the products according to their facial features and needs.

5) AR tech for injecting life into objects


Augmented reality is a great way to boost the effectiveness of your digital marketing strategy. AR technology is a fantastic way to improvise touring experience by bringing the dead to life.

The app is famous among visitors who use it inside the museum to history and see how the dinosaurs and objects displayed on the exhibition looked about thousands of years ago. This is indeed a great way to enhance tourism and academic experience as technology enables people to engage with the objects on a deeper level.

6) Driving engagement with digital packaging


Every marketing student and professional knows that packaging plays a great role in influencing purchase decisions. The packaging is your chance to communicate with users. With AR technologies, you can turn your dull and boring packaging great and pass on detailed information that you can just put on the label.

AR is a fantastic way for all of your users to explore additional product-related information by viewing a product with specially designed apps. You can share content that’s unique, interesting, and relevant through a variety of digital mediums.

This information could be text or 3D animations. For instance, The British Museum signed a partnership with the smartphone company Samsung to build AR apps for this purpose.

AR technologies for product packaging can benefit you in a number of ways:

  • Powerful brand storytelling
  • Providing educational and technical details about the product
  • Entertain customers

The world’s leading whiskey brand Jack Daniel’s, use AR for its product packaging. Within a few seconds of scanning the bottle, the app takes users on a virtual tour and shows the detailed process of winemaking.

7) Digital marketing strategy with gamification

According to a recent study released by a coursework writing service, gamification has been recognized as a top digital marketing technique within a very short period of time. This tactic has been adopted by a number of brands to capture the market’s attention and deliver them superior value.

It involves design elements that can engage game lovers and compel them to crave for more. The US-based entertainment channel used the gamification tactic to spread the word about their mystery series ‘Dig.’ The cable channel launched a smartphone app with the name ‘Dig Decoder’ to give hints about the game.


By using the app’s viewfinder option, the users can look for additional game cues hidden inside the game magazine, billboards, and print ads. You can say that by using augmented reality for your next digital marketing strategy, you can give your audience another reason to enjoy the show.

Key takeaway

Augmented reality has made its way into the digital marketing strategy of big and small brands. The technology is allowing marketing managers to make their digital marketing campaigns innovative and engaging by letting people connect with the brand.

This article contains multiple examples of how brands are using AR technologies to grab the attention of customers and build emotional ties with them, which become a basis for product decision making.

The post How to leverage AR in your digital marketing strategy appeared first on ClickZ.

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How to build a story structure that enables effective selling

30-second summary:

  • Once sellers have taken the time to truly get to know their buyers, the next step for effective storytelling is to build a structure that helps them stay on point.
  • As well as being simple and easy to understand, an effective story structure should clearly outline the key points that sellers are trying to get across.
  • Having a structure like this in place will put sellers in the best position to deliver a story that resonates with buyers, compels action and drives them through the sales cycle.
  • To meet these needs, there are three key pillars that every effective story should include. They can be referred to as the three F’s – Framework, Flow and Flash.

In the first article of this storytelling series, we discussed the importance of preparation. When developing a storytelling framework that compels buyers to take action, the first step should always center around getting to know your buyers and the specific problems they want to solve.

This requires sellers to lay the groundwork for success by drilling down into each buyer’s situation and truly getting to know the people they are dealing with. By doing so, sellers will be able to focus on the root cause of the buyer’s problem and develop a story that will resonate.

Once this has been achieved, the next step is to build a story structure that helps sellers stay on point when interacting with these buyers. This is absolutely vital, as today’s sophisticated and knowledgeable buyers don’t have the time or patience to deal with off-topic interactions. They are looking for experiences that are engaging and personalized to their needs.

Indeed, 88% of sales, marketing, and enablement professionals agree that buyers expect more relevant and personalized information today than they did five years ago.

So, the pressure is on sellers to build a structure that will enable them to tell the story they want to tell. But how can businesses help their sales teams stay on point?

Constructing your story

An effective story structure is one that is simple, easy to create, easy to understand, and that clearly outlines the key points that sellers are trying to get across. Buyers should be left with no doubt as to what the most impactful areas of the story are and the aspects that are most valuable for them to remember.

It’s similar to writing a thesis statement in high school. A thesis statement gives you focus by outlining what the content is going to be about and highlighting how you’re going to walk readers through your point of view.

Having a structure like this in place will put sellers in the best position to deliver a story that compels action and drives buyers through the sales cycle. To meet these needs, there are three key pillars that every effective story should include:

1) Framework

First, build the outline for a bespoke experience. This involves doing your research so that you’re able to put the framework in place for a compelling and personalized story that will appeal to your target buyers.

There are a few simple aspects that contribute to a strong story framework. For example, like any good story there should be a start, a middle and an end – a logical progression that outlines a problem before pointing toward some kind of resolution. It’s also important to identify the appropriate personas involved and ensure that the story is aligned to key objectives and challenges.

Finally, make sure you know the three to five things you need to prove. Without this skeleton in place, it will be harder to stay on track and you may end up glossing over or forgetting the most important part of your story.

2) Flow

A key requirement of any effective story is that it is easy to consume and digest. Buyers should come away from the interaction with a clear understanding of the most important issues and the pain points that you’re able to solve. If the story doesn’t engage the buyer quickly, it’s probably too complicated.

So, be sure to consider whether the buyer will be able to easily follow the story. If the answer is no, try simplifying the narrative or using different content formats to help get the message across. And make sure that every talking point is aligned to the business outcomes, as this is what will resonate most.

Sellers should also clearly define the characters/personas in their story and make sure that they have an in-depth understanding of the key use cases or workflows that the story addresses. The combination of these factors will help ensure a buyer experience that flows smoothly instead of stutters.

3) Flash

This final aspect is arguably the most important. For the story to be successful, it must be memorable. After all, a story can include all the right elements and say the right things, but it’s worthless if the buyer is unable to recall the key points as soon as the interaction ends.

The story must also clearly showcase the power of your offering. This provides the ‘x-factor’ that will differentiate you from your competitors and help move buyers from prospects to customers.

It’s a lesson I learned as a Sales Engineer at when we were selling to Bausch and Lomb, where Simon Woods, Vice President of Global Applications and Technology, once told me that “the most successful seller can take a massive amount of information about a buyer/product/solution and distill it down to a few powerful marketing soundbites that I can sell internally at Bausch and Lomb.”

This fundamentally changed the way I approached my role as a Sales Engineer and laid the foundation for the way I approached every sales opportunity I was involved in.

So don’t be afraid to add a bit of flash when interacting with buyers. Present your story with energy, show enthusiasm and find ways to emotionally connect with your buyer. Ultimately, at a time when buyers are being bombarded with sales pitches, find ways to make yourself and your story stand out.

Especially in today’s all-digital working environment, salespeople may choose to do this by tapping interactive content; this involves incorporating videos, GIFs, quizzes or polls into sales materials, encouraging the buyer to actively engage with the content they’re consuming.

They might seem simple, but these three elements are central to building an effective story structure that guides sellers during their interactions with buyers. With this in place, sellers will be empowered to tell a story that resonates with buyers and drives more effective selling.

The only thing left to do is deliver it in a way that makes you the only option for your target buyers.

The post How to build a story structure that enables effective selling appeared first on ClickZ.

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