Nth Degree Trade Show and Event Marketing Blog
We’re living in extraordinary times. No roadmap. No contingency plan. I think we can all agree that the changes are uncomfortable and have disrupted the natural flow of our everyday lives. For those of us in the events industry, this is more than a disruption — it’s an upheaval of our businesses and plans we’ve been working on for months. As we scramble to get creative and come up with new ideas to ensure success for our clients, we’re also wondering if this is this the new normal. Are live events going to be a thing of the past? I don’t think so; in fact, I think they will evolve into something even better than before.
Covid-19 has fundamentally changed how we conduct business, especially the business of events. Much of the industry made the shift to virtual almost immediately and that shift is expected to persist through the fall. Although the decisions to go online were swift, they weren’t easy for many companies. How will potential attendees react? What impact will this decision have on a brand? What skill sets do we need to deliver an engaging digital experience? Scary stuff. However, we have realized that, despite the challenges, Covid-19 has presented us with an amazing opportunity to build larger audiences for our programs than ever before.
In the post-pandemic world, people will emerge from their homes and venture back out into society. They’ll visit friends, favorite stores, and re-opened restaurants, but will they step foot on an airplane? Will they buy concert tickets? Attend a conference? There’s no doubt our world will look different in the months or years to come. We may even get that extra elbow room on airplanes that we’ve longed for as modified social distancing becomes commonplace.
A pandemic hit. Cities closed. Large gatherings were no longer allowed and every event across the nation was forced to cancel, postpone, or go online. As a result, event planners have had to take a step back and reevaluate what events will look like in the coming months and years. What is the right approach, or what steps can we take, to get events back on the calendar? How do we safeguard aspects of the event that were already in motion during the pre-pandemic planning period? Is this an opportunity to test new waters?
In a matter of weeks, our society has had to pivot from physical to virtual; we’ve been unexpectedly thrust into a world of new technology. Our meetings, classes, family dinners, concerts, and game nights with our friends are now all virtual. We are living our lives at home, in front of a webcam with our families and roommates in close proximity.
COVID-19 caught the world by surprise, forcing countries to close down industry, severely limit travel, and make a host of changes they never could have foreseen. These choices will be studied, second-guessed, and scrutinized for many years. We may never see a clear picture on which decisions were incontestably correct and which were undeniably wrong. But there is one reaction, specifically in the B2B events world, that I think needs to be reviewed now, before it is too late.
Full disclosure: I’m an eager (and slightly tense) bride-to-be, so this post is mildly self-serving and inspired by my personal life. My lunch hours are spent researching ideas that will help give our guests an #eventexperience worthy of their time and money to travel and celebrate with us. Through countless hours thinking about my guests and ways in which to make them feel welcome and show them an amazing time, I realized the same thought and detail can (and should) be applied to a B-to-B event. After all, we all want to have memorable and happy experiences whether it’s breaking it down on a wedding dance floor or socializing with like-minded #professionals.