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02.16.2020

When Meeting Face-to-Face Isn’t in the Cards

By Laliv Hadar, VP, Marketing

With recent daily headlines about canceled events around the world due to the Coronavirus – such as Mobile World Congress and LPGA events – and even debate regarding the viability of the 2020 Olympics, what are companies and corporate event planners to do? There’s nothing that can replace face-to-face communications, and yet sometimes we need to make do.

So, how do organizations facilitate and drive community and a sense of connection amongst their audiences when faced with the prospect of a canceled in-person event? With over 30 years in experiential and event marketing, we have a few strategies to share:

  1. Craft a virtual meeting: a multitude of platforms exist to support virtual meetings for attendees across the globe, complete with content sharing and built-in social tools. Some best practices for virtual meetings include employing a variety of content and mixing pre-recorded and live content. For example, showcase an engaging demo video of a new product (pre-recorded), followed up by a live speaker or panel.
  2. Leverage collaboration tools (e.g., Slack, Teams): popular software programs can help to build community and facilitate conversations. Configure channels based on specific topics that are relevant to the audience, or what you would traditionally think of as “break-out sessions” – meetings to problem solve and share best practices. These programs, all optimized for mobile, can also help facilitate 1:1 networking among virtual attendees.
  3. Create a virtual expo: host a place for buyers and customers to interact around detailed product information, in order to inform sales and buying conversations. Virtual trade shows can be particularly effective, allowing users to personalize their journey, engage with products in detail via 360 imaging, partake on their time (available 24 hours), and provide an effective means for lead tracking.
  4. Consider a new format for the next in-person event: with the notion that nothing can replace face-to-face, don’t let too much time pass before scheduling a new event on the calendar. Consider a different format – such as smaller regional events or a traveling roadshow – which bring your content and experiences to attendees where they are. Mix in-person content and virtual/pre-recorded content to allow executives to “be present” at all events. The regional format will make it easier for attendees, which might also boost overall attendance
  5. Donate the canceled space: for unexpected cancelations, what will you do with the space? When cancelation is not due to misfortune in the host city (e.g., a contagious virus, weather issues), and you have some lead time, consider reaching out to local charities, government agencies or schools to donate the space. You may not be able to recoup the value of the space financially, but the aura of giving-back under less than ideal circumstances can go a long way to establish goodwill in the marketplace.

Do you need to come up with alternate ways to connect with your audience and/or deliver your content and messages? We can help - contact us: info@iv.com

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