One year on: How has the pandemic changed event and experiential marketing?


Pico Group has released industry research to reveal what had fundamentally changed in event and experiential marketing, how well-equipped event professionals are to deal with challenges, and where brands are seeing success and room to improve.

The new findings follow up on earlier client research the Group released in 2020, which investigated how brands and marketers reacted to COVID-19.

The 2021 Pico Group Industry Research was conducted from February to March. Respondents included executives (11 per cent), directors (31 per cent), managers (46 per cent) and other titles (12 per cent) from a wide variety of industries across Asia Pacific (65 per cent), Europe (19 per cent), North America (13 per cent) and the Middle East/North Africa (three per cent). The results show an evident sea change in current market sentiment toward the post-pandemic era.

As expected, respondents rated virtual/online events more highly in 2021 than they did the year before: 71 per cent deemed them ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important, a year-on-year increase of 26 percentage points. Over 90 per cent said they have held or are considering hybrid events, while just 32 per cent said offline or live events were ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important (2020: 45 per cent).

Implications for the future

“The heightened level of tactical importance for virtual and hybrid events revealed by the 2021 survey makes it obvious that those formats will further establish themselves as the norm in the short term. Indeed, considering the pace of economic recovery and vaccination in much of the world, physical events are almost certain to remain the exception rather than the rule for many markets,” said Tyronne O’Callaghan, Vice President, Strategy, Global Activation, Pico.

“However, we believe the perceived value of offline events is still strong because of the uniqueness of what they offer to audiences. Their intimacy, sensory stimulation and emotion are hard to recreate digitally. When we quizzed respondents about critical success factors for virtual events, over 70 per cent said ‘interactivity’ and ‘personalisation’,” O’Callaghan added. For more insights, please download the full Pico Group Industry Research report here.


Also read… Case study: Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum.

Featured photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

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Gina Sin

Author Gina Sin

A sales & marketing professional at her core, Gina has found her passion in writing, particularly in crafting an important part of the communication circle, and enhancing experiences, whether singular or shared. An expert in digital media, partnership activation, and in executing the readability and searchability of websites, Gina combines her skills in sales, marketing and copywriting into her everyday.

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