It’s strange to think back to the beginning of the pandemic, when we thought we might have to simply postpone events for a week or two. Fast-forward to today, and our new worldwide reality is that the nature of in-person events has likely been permanently altered.

From the perspective of a marketer, you have some challenges on your hands. First, safety compliance spending at live events has taken a chunk out of your budget. Additionally, event ROI is decreased, meaning you’ll need to make up that profit elsewhere.

Event marketers are wondering what’s next, and how they’ll be able to adapt in order to keep their pipelines full. Let's take a look at what we see on the event-industry horizon...

 

The rise of smaller, hyper-focused events

The large, international events we’re used to bring lots of exciting opportunities — and now, increased health risks. Travel to and from events, attendees from an array of locations, and large crowds make these events hazardous for show-goers and booth staff alike.

Instead, we can likely look forward to micro-events created for very specific purposes and audiences. All will not be lost though. Smaller events will create an opportunity to interact with more qualified prospects. Ultimately, brands will spend less on acquisition costs even though your pool of new leads will be smaller than what you’d collect at a large-scale show.

 

Hybrid events give attendees options

Some of your favorite trade shows have gone digital in the past year. Will they stay that way? Our prediction is that they will retain a virtual aspect...even after in-person events resume.

Events offering both digital and live access will lead the pack in 2021 and beyond. Virtual event attendees have now gotten a taste of what it’s like to experience brands and products from a distance. Many have likely enjoyed substantial savings of both time and travel costs, while still finding products and services that meet their needs.

Yes, you’ll still need your actual trade show booth. There’s still no substitute for in-person engagement. However, your team should continue to develop the assets and technology that you’ll need to stand out during trade shows that provide virtual access options. If anything, it’ll broaden your ability to reach virtual "attendees" that you may not have otherwise reached previously.

 

Brands will increasingly depend on rich media content

Rich media — like videos, podcasts, and webinars — has been increasing in importance over the last 5 years, but in a post-COVID era it's become much more indispensable.

With fewer options for potential customers to engage with your team and your products in-person, providing substantial, high-quality rich media content fills the gap.

Here are some key rich media conversion opportunities:

  • YOUR WEBSITE: Top-of-funnel pages, like your homepage and SEO landing pages, should include branding videos that show potential customers who you are and what challenges you solve.

Lower in the funnel, pages like your product descriptions and sales pages should feature videos that provide an in-depth look at features and user experience.

  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Post videos that help your audience understand which of their needs you meet, and why they should choose to partner with your brand. Focus on building relationships.

  • WEBINARS AND VIRTUAL CONFERENCES: Create digital events that provide valuable information to your prospects, and create opportunities for them to personally interact with your brand.

It’s well worth the effort to strategize, reprioritize your budget, and invest in digital assets that will educate, engage, and convert leads into paying customers. Brands that are able to build rich media content — while also finding event opportunities — will be ahead of the curve in this new era of marketing.

Could you use some assistance in coordinating your virtual and in-person marketing efforts? Exhibit Options is thinking forward and finding ways to help our partners adapt and thrive. We offer adaptable modular booth options, webinar and/or Zoom background design, safety upgrades for existing exhibits and office space, and more. Please don’t hesitate to reach out today.