How to generate. Growth. In the age. Of. Interruption.

How to generate. Growth. In the age. Of. Interruption. | MCI | Global engagement & marketing agency

July, 21 2022

Engagement marketing is a model ultimately in service of growth. Bigger. Better. These terms have long represented the terrain on which marketers and clients draw up their battle plans. And, as all marketers likely know, an increase in audience numbers is chief amongst the kinds of growth clients hope for.


The good news is, when engagement marketers get an event, activation or digital design right, audiences will naturally seek to engage with brands in meaningful ways. More often than not, this will mean an opportunity for the brand to boost their audience numbers, as well as building up loyalty and enthusiasm within that audience. Great!


However, there’s an elephant in the room. And, just as having an actual elephant in the room would be, that elephant is interruption.



An age of interruption


All engagement marketers and events planners are familiar with interruption. It looms just before finish line, waiting to cause your keynote speakers to pull out and untie your shoelaces just for good measure. If left unchecked, interruptions can lead to a snowballing of unfortunate events, leading to, well, an unfortunate event.


That’s why engagement marketers have developed all manner of strategies to prepare for such interruptions. Proper planning, a healthy bench of back-up talent and a little bit of luck have seen us through time and time again.


However, as we touched on in our previous article, we’ve entered an age of unprecedented interruption. The COVID-19 pandemic posed the greatest challenge to engagement marketers in recent history, making any hope for meaningful audience growth seem dwindling. This was evidenced in a recent report from event Eventcube, who noted a 16.2% rise in respondents hosting just 5 events or fewer in 2020, compared to the previous year.


It was vital that, as an industry, we adapted quickly to the challenge at hand. A challenge that left little time for planning and no reasonable possibility for contingency. And adapt we did. In fact, EventMB reported that 74%, or Nearly three-quarters of planners, said they had become much more proficient in tech as a result of the pandemic.


This boost in technological proficiency, and the subsequent hybridisation of live events so perfectly highlights the theme of today’s insight piece, because it shows that, in fact, we’re all already doing it in some form or another to increase attendance.


We’re talking, of course, about taking an interdisciplinary approach to engagement marketing. About channelling innovation from a variety of industries in order to achieve engagement levels conducive to healthy gains in attendance and meaningful audience participation.



Great minds think unlike


The idea that, as a client or engagement marketer, you might suddenly have to pivot to an entirely new set of parameters can be daunting to say the least. However, proactivity in the way that your agency is structured can make all the difference.


At MCI, we’re fortunate to have a deep and highly talented network of brands we can easily collaborate with as a member of the mci group, an interdisciplinary platform for marketing and engagement. With everything from a film production company through to a branding agency, we have all the brainpower we need to approach engagement from multiple disciplines.


Ultimately though, the main resource needed for interdisciplinary thinking is simply creativity – the ability to see how thinking outside your given box can enable your activation to outmanoeuvre any interruption and deliver deeper audience engagement, paving the way for gains in attendance.


When encountering an impasse, it may seem tempting to think about ways to re-establish the status quo and patch the event you had planned back together. However, at MCI, our ethos is to jump at any chance to think ‘how can we completely flip the script so that engagement can be even greater.’ In our experience, this mindset leads to some of the most exciting innovations and can often achieve success that outperforms expectations.



The innovation will be televised


One great example of interdisciplinary design thinking to combat interruption in our own work comes out of MCI Nordics. The Nordic team were tasked with a difficult challenge by our client, The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, who’s 2020 Digital Future Meeting, intended as an in-person opportunity to discuss the challenges faced by the Swedish economy due to COVID-19, was itself interrupted by the effects of the virus.


The event comprised of reports, discussions and interviews with member entrepreneurs, international guests, politicians and famous business profiles, presenting the team with a range of moving parts to shape into an engaging and dynamic broadcast. 


With an in-person event firmly off the cards, the CSE turned to MCI for an innovative digital solution. At a time where the market was saturated with online events, which simply attempted to replicate the intended in-person format online, we knew we had to produce something special in order to cut through the noise.


We needed to think outside the box, ensuring our digital activation was unlike anything else happening in the space. Meditating on what insights and techniques we could channel from the TV industry – excuse the pun – we went to work designing a high-end, TV quality production. From bespoke backdrops through to carefully constructed sets and a professional behind the scenes production team, we ensured the event was as every bit as engaging as it was attractive.


In order to preserve the level of engagement that in-person events boast through real-life interactions, we also embedded the event with interactivity tools designed to connect the audience to speakers and event participants in real time. This meant questions could be asked and answered, and connections could be formed between audience members and participants, helping to mitigate the effects interruption had on interpersonal engagement.


As a result of our interdisciplinary approach, the event saw a monumental uptick in audience numbers. The original in-person event, with an expected audience of just 600 members was eclipsed by the online audience, which reached over 30,000 viewers. That’s an increase of 5000%.


In fact, the stream was so successful it was picked up by Swedish National Television and broadcast to an enormous audience on their channel.



Lessons learned


By approaching this event with the intent of learning from the best of an adjacent industry, we were able to help our client achieve a massive hike in engagement, in spite of the interruption COVID was causing.


This way of thinking is an infinitely broad church, with applications to be found in all areas of marketing, and, frankly, in any instance in life. So, next time your event comes across a hurdle so high you’re worried you might not be able to overcome it, don’t try to take the leap anyway, or look around to see what the other runners are doing, find a way to go round it all together. If you look outside of the strict lines of the track, you’ll be amazed at what you can find.


To find out how MCI can help you innovate with your event or live experience, get in touch with a member of our team by emailing…

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