The COVID-19 pandemic has changed event marketing as we know it. Here are 10 COVID-19 resources that can help.
As the months press on, it’s become clear that COVID-19 is not going anywhere any time soon. To help you continue navigating this unprecedented time, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular assets from the Bizzabo blog and elsewhere.
These are unprecedented times and businesses need a solid roadmap for how to move forward.
That’s why we developed LEAD, a data-driven framework that helps event marketers navigate current changes in the industry. In this article, Bizzabo CEO and Co-Founder Eran Ben-Shushan shares how to successfully reshape your organization’s event strategy.
LEAD stands for:
- Long term: Marketers should develop a forward-looking, long-term events strategy beyond 2020.
- Engaging: As your organization embraces a hybrid events strategy, your biggest challenge will be making virtual events just as engaging as in-person events. Technology will be critical to bridging this gap.
- Agile: Budget cuts will force marketers to do more with less, so it’s crucial that you be more agile and creative as you shift your strategy.
- Decisive: In this changing landscape, success will go to the swift. As a marketer, you’ll need to be bold and quick in your decision-making to achieve your customer retention, lead generation and prospect engagement goals.
There’s still so much uncertainty as it relates to the pandemic. If your organization is still figuring out how to adapt, this framework is a good starting point.
More than 42% of event and marketing professionals say COVID-19 has led to layoffs, furloughs or team members being reassigned, while 57% had to pivot to virtual events because of the pandemic.
That’s just a snapshot of the findings from our COVID-19 Event Outlook Report, in which we
surveyed 400 event and marketing professionals to gauge how the pandemic is affecting the industry today — and the impact it’ll have tomorrow.
Check out the report to read the complete results and to learn how other companies are adapting, and how you can, too.
Are marketers hopeful that in-person events will return? Will they make virtual events a core part of their strategy going forward? Do you not have the time to pour through the whole COVID-19 Event Outlook Report?
The four stats in this article point to what the “new normal” will look like for the events community. This article also highlights what opportunities your organization can seize to better engage and build your audience for the long term.
If you pushed back your event or conference from the spring to the fall but are still weighing whether to cancel it, it’s important to communicate this in a timely manner to event attendees.
Attendees primarily care about three things: why you’ve decided to cancel, whether the event will take place at a later date, and whether and when they’ll get a refund or credit. There’s a right and wrong way to communicate these details, and Amazon, Google, and South by Southwest (SXSW) show how you can communicate an event cancellation in a straightforward, empathetic way. Check out their cancellation announcements for some pointers.
“The health and safety of our customers, employees, and partners is our highest priority.”
That’s how experience management software company Qualtrics began its announcement when it told attendees it was cancelling X4, one of its marquee events.
Deciding to postpone an event in which you’ve invested time and resources is never easy, but Qualtrics and the four other brands in this article illustrate that companies can do a little more than just send attendees a standard, “check-the-box” corporate announcement.
Our COVID-19 Event Outlook survey of event marketers indicates that many of them are set to do a complete 180, from making virtual events a marginal part of their events strategy to a core component of how they engage customers and prospects.
If you’re pivoting in the same way, these 10 brands showcase how you can do it successfully. Case in point: Salesforce. The company pivoted its mega-in person event, Salesforce World Tour Sydney, to a virtual event with 100 on-demand sessions and video playlists organized by topic, creating content that will live online (seemingly) forever and continue to generate leads for and valuable engagement for the company.
If you’re looking for a more robust resource about how to shift to virtual events, launch a virtual conference, establish success metrics, and more, our Virtual Conference Guide has got you covered.
In-person events will eventually return, and our guide provides a game plan for how to successfully execute a hybrid events strategy. If you’re not sure of the difference between a webinar and virtual event, need to learn how to keep attendees engaged or how to reel in sponsors, this guide will give you a roadmap.
If you’re looking for the most comprehensive list of virtual events in 2020, you’ll find it right here.
Organized by month, the list features virtual events from companies across different industries, including can’t-miss-events like Dell Technologies World 2020, the Spark Festival for start-ups, investors and innovators, and more niche events like the Auto Insurance USA Virtual Summit.
Are you hosting a B2B event that you’d like to get in front of 200,000+ monthly blog readers? You can submit your event to be featured here.
Just like the companies we serve have pivoted, so have we. More than 6,000 participants from 70 countries and over 1,500 companies attended our first-ever virtual event, (Almost) In-Person.
The event not only fostered a sense of community and creative collaboration during a time when most event marketers have had to social distance, it also gave the community a chance to learn from marketers at leading brands and assemble best practices for how they also can reshape their strategy and be more agile in the midst of a global pandemic.
We began developing this guide in March and it has evolved along the way just as the situation in the larger world has continued to change.
It features best practices for postponing or canceling your event and the steps you can take to protect the health of attendees if you plan to throw an in-person event this year. We’ll continue to update it with the latest guidance from health authorities and best practices and examples from leading brands, so think of it as your one-stop shop for all things related to COVID-19’s impact on the events industry and how you can best respond.
Wrapping Up: Beyond COVID-19
Companies all across the world are navigating uncharted territory when it comes to planning events. They not only have to develop an effective hybrid events strategy, they also must potentially deal with more limited resources to execute this strategy — all the while ensuring that they keep both employees and attendees safe.
It’s a tall order, but we’re seeing many companies meet the moment. In the process, they’re keeping the conversation going, delivering value for prospects and customers, and charting a path for others in the events industry to follow.
Making the jump to virtual? Check out the Virtual Event Production Kit for access to exclusives templates for making a virtual event happen.