The pandemic brought the events industry to a standstill in 2020, moving the world online and completely changing audience motivations. Consumer psychology is the window to your audience’s actions and motivations behind event participation and the virtual world is no different. Values, attitudes, emotions and consequently decisions made by participants all play a part in their role as a consumer. We will be exploring the motivations behind event participation in this blog post and how they have changed within the last year going digital.
Often people consider consumer behaviour to be the decision-making process of purchasing products. In fact, consumer behaviour includes all activity associated with the purchase, from their use, their emotional response and the behaviour that follows from it. When it comes to studying event participation, the concept of flow is often related to it. Flow is the mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process. In this context, there are conditions that need to be met in order to achieve this. A balance between skills and challenge, the attendee must be up to the activity, the attendee must be able to concentrate on the activity, the activity must have clear goals and the activity must have immediate feedback.
There are many reasons as to why people attend events and want to achieve that state of flow. Whether that is for networking, entertainment, socialization or education. A consumer’s actions are always determined by weighing up the value over sacrifice. The reflections of Dr Miguel Moital, our next podcast guest, considers prestige to be by far the most important source of consumer value. In terms of social signalling, prestige is a large motivation when wanting to communicate who you are as a person. When moving online, that source of value can diminish. Value therefore has to be ‘re-balanced’ to other forms of value to compensate.
Since moving online, it needs to be clear how these will be fulfilled in the virtual world. How do we successfully create this state of flow? How do we create value?
While virtual events may not always create the same value found in physical events, that shouldn’t imply that they are without value. There are many different motivations for attending digital events. They are time saving, cost effective, sustainable, more accessible and more convenient than physical events. In previous blog posts, we have gone in more depth around the sustainable benefits of going online, and how digital events can create valuable engagement. These motivations can be considered more valuable from certain attendees.
Pivoting completely online was new for all of us, so it makes sense that revelations are being made in terms of consumer psychology and the motivations to continue going digital will be revealed long after the pandemic has passed. Events are all about creating experiences and nobody should have to sacrifice that when attending digitally. Dr Miguel Moital states that there are interesting discussions to be had relating to how these conditions operate and can be fulfilled in a virtual world as opposed to a physical world.
Keep an eye out for our next podcast episode to find out more about what Dr Miguel Moital had to say on this topic and his advice for the future of events. It will be found in the link below with our previous episodes:
Guest information: Dr. Miguel Moital is a Principal Academic in Events Management in the Department of Sport & Events Management, Bournemouth University Business School, UK. His areas of research focuses mainly on consumer psychology applied to the marketing of events.