The world right now is being brought together in emotional unity.
But the events world as we know it has come to a shuddering halt. Everything has changed. Real-world meetings, expos and conferences have completely stopped and won’t be coming back any time soon. Much of the world’s workforce has become “default remote” almost overnight.
How can we, as professionals and organisations dedicated to creating amazing events and experiences, respond to this new world?
Perhaps the first thing to remember is that this shift has been on the cards for a while. Climate change was always going to make things more difficult for us, as dependent as we are on delegates travelling to attend our events. And since carbon free transport and electric planes aren’t on the horizon any time soon, maybe what’s happening now is just an accelerated shift to a “new normal”. The question is: What are we going to do about it?
The events sector is going digital.
There are already some examples of companies shifting towards digital events. But there appears to be a noticeable level of reluctance and resistance.
The most common objections are ‘How can we recreate the same experience with an online event?’…. ‘how can sponsors get the same return on investment?’.... ‘how can speakers and delegates get the same networking opportunities?’… ‘how can we generate the same levels of profit or charge the same price for delegate tickets?’
Notice one word repeating itself? ‘SAME’.
But here’s the thing: Nothing is or will be the same anytime soon.
This is not a blip. We are living in unprecedented times, so we need to start planning for the NEW NORMAL.
The “new normal” right now is almost entirely digital. We can and must adapt to survive.
Rather than relying on what already exists, or looking for interim solutions, how can we be creative and open our minds to new ways of thinking?
How can we start to think outside the box - even while we’re all confined within our boxes?
As events professionals, now is the time to be creative with how we deliver virtual events. It’s time to start positioning your events so they work to the strengths of the online medium rather than bemoaning the weaknesses.
Hosting an online event can bring enormous advantages:
- For many people, online events are much more accessible. We can attract more diverse delegates from every corner of the world, inviting people who would not usually be able to attend. Let’s create a truly global reach.
- Online events can be bigger. Event size will no longer be limited by venue size and the physical resources available.
- Once some limitations on small gatherings are relaxed, local satellite events can happen alongside the main online event – this keeps the venues and caterers in business and means we can still have face-to-face interaction among delegates in each region.
- Can we be creative when it comes to event logistics? How can caterers and sponsors add value? How about delivering drinks or food to the delegates’ homes, giving sponsors an opportunity to be branded in that experience? How cool would it be to host a virtual event on packaging: send each delegate a box of ‘make your own G&T’, packaged to fit through a letter box, branded by your main sponsor, Bombay Sapphire…. You get the gist!
- Think of how online can help with lead generation opportunities and how we can use that to increase sales! Online events mixed with social platforms provide an incredible opportunity to build out the database of leads, track engagement data, and connect with a wider audience. This is a chance for sales and marketing to join forces like they’ve never done before!
- When considering the potential budget saving by organising an event online, think about ways of redirecting that money to provide value to delegates - through creating bonus content, providing discussion forums and ask the expert sessions, or maybe just use it to increase marketing and sales reach or make the event more affordable. Remember that having all your content in digital format makes it easier to monetise or use in the future.
There is so much potential. Wave goodbye to limitations.
Whilst there will be challenges or drawbacks, I am sure that a sector as innovative and solutions-focused as ours can find ways to make this work brilliantly.
This the chance to step into a whole new world and position yourself miles ahead in the industry.
From the point of view of recruitment, it’s clear to us that a new workforce is emerging; existing professionals will retrain, building new skills in digital event management. Many of us have been gifted a new luxury for the first time in our adult life: TIME. Many of us have finally got time to reflect, analyse and strategize.
We believe this is a chance to add new strings to our professional bows.
What will your new team look like?
Are you ready for the change?
We are organising an online panel discussion/webinar on this topic. We are inviting you to join us in this discussion and participate in our research! We would love to hear your thoughts. What are you doing to adapt to these changes? What challenges are you facing? What are your predictions for the future? Please get involved by sharing your ideas and thoughts.
Either drop us a line firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call 02034759059
We look forward to hearing from you!