Resources & Blog

How to approach event marketing in 2020

Resources & Blog

How to approach event marketing in 2020

Event marketing

We spoke with Ashley Jones from marketingSHOWCASE on episode #46 of The 20 Minute Marketing Podcast this week. With almost 30 years of experience, the company has successfully hosted over 300 live events, making them experts in the industry.

During the episode, we discussed how COVID-19 has impacted event marketing in 2020. Ashley explained how marketingSHOWCASE has adapted their business in response to the pandemic and how they have dealt with the transition from in-person to virtual events.

Ashley also shared insights on hosting online events and spoke about how guests, speakers, and sponsors can get the most out of attending virtually. Towards the end of the episode, we touched upon the changes that we may expect to see when the event marketing industry returns to a live setting. Here are some of the things that Ashely shared:

The new normal

The first thing that we learned from our conversation with Ashley is that hosting a virtual event is very different to being in-person. Traditional events that are in-person allow us to connect on a face-to-face level but they just aren't COVID-19 secure. Obviously, this has imposed real difficulty, putting in-person events on hold for the time being and meaning that companies like marketingSHOWCASE have had to quickly adapt and attempt to replicate those experiences online.

Replicating an in-person event

Ashley explained that some aspects of in-person events are easy to replicate. For example, seminars can easily translate into webinars because you can invite someone to join in just the same way as you would with a live event.

However, other aspects have been more challenging. For example, some guests have been hesitant to engage with exhibitors directly via Zoom. Pretty unsurprising considering that nobody has been exposed to this type of event marketing before.

The good news is that Ashley told us that guests have started to respond more positively and that they are enjoying the opportunity to break out of their home working pattern and attend a virtual event. Although, with lots of home distractions, it can be challenging to keep guests engaged as they can leave at the click of a button.

With this being a new approach for the team at marketingSHOWCASE, it is no surprise that they are learning more with each event and finding ways to improve production and delivery. After all, we're all adapting to the new environment.

Virtual event frequency

One question that we asked Ashley was how to deal with virtual event frequency. In-person events are typically smaller in turn out as guests are restricted by timing, location, and accessibility. However, they allow event organisers, sponsors, and exhibitors to deliver repeat shows. For example, the same exhibitor could speak at multiple events nationally to a different audience each time.

In contrast, virtual events can be viewed worldwide. So, while you can get away with recycling talks at in-person events, this just isn't possible via an online setting. Ashley explained that this means each event has to include new content, new speakers and new topics of conversation. With virtual events, the content has to stay fresh!

Hosting a successful event

One good thing to come out of 2020 for marketingSHOWCASE is that they've had to adapt to new developments by going virtual. This has allowed them to deliver events in ways that they previously hadn't considered. We thought it would be good to ask Ashley to share some tips for other businesses that are considering hosting a virtual event in the near future. Here's what he said:

  • Work hard in the run-up to the event to create opportunities for engagement in advance. Set up meetings and plan an agenda for your webinars.
  • Provide high-quality production by creating a professional background and dressing in formal attire.
  • Invest in your audio by purchasing a good quality microphone to ensure listeners can clearly hear you clearly.

When live events return, Ashley advises both visitors and exhibitors to put themselves out and speak with other attendees and guest speakers. Speaking is a great form of networking that allows you to develop and learn from their experiences.

The future of event marketing

We closed the episode by asking Ashley what direction he thinks the company will choose to go in once things return to normal. Would they continue down the virtual route? Or, would they return to hosting in-person events?

Since the company has had to evolve so much this past year, Ashley felt it would be a waste to remove virtual events from their services. However, he cannot wait to return to in-person eventing, which is what marketingSHOWCASE does best. So, he predicts that events will combine both virtual and in-person.

Many attendees have even claimed that they prefer the online webinars as opposed to the in-person seminars. Ultimately, going virtual benefits those that are unable to leave their homes and prevents them from missing out. Virtual events also provide a safe haven for those apprehensive about the return of live events in the future and gives them the chance to attend from their safety bubble of either their office or home.

When in-person events do return, Ashley assured us that marketingSHOWCASE will be sure to prioritise safety and adhere to social distancing measures. All exhibitors will be spread apart, seminars will be more spacious, a one-way route will be followed and hand sanitizer will be readily available. So, live events will be conducted in an overall safer way.

How a live event works

marketingSHOWCASE is currently hosting monthly events that feature some great guest speakers. You can find out more and register by visiting their site.

Cutomer Account manager
by Liam Quinn | Marketing Executive

Hi, I'm Liam, Marketing Executive at Reach Interactive. I have a background in international marketing and love branding, social media and seeing how companies communicate with their customers.


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