My new column in The Drum is out — focusing on what event organizers, sponsors, and speakers should be doing:
The best marcom campaigns happen in the real world and not on computer screens. But following the recent coronavirus outbreak, event planners and field marketers will still need to learn and adopt the best virtual practices quickly.
In a survey of more than 1,000 mid-level and senior marketers last year by event software platform Bizzabo, 41% considered live events to be the most critical marketing channel (PDF). The number of companies organising at least 20 events each year increased by 17%. Almost all said in-person events are valuable opportunities to form connections in an increasingly digital world.
As a professional keynote marketing speaker, I have seen the effectiveness of events myself. Nothing beats the memories implanted when watching humorous and inspiring presentations. The most effective way to demonstrate a product – whether a flavour of ice cream or a B2B software suite – is personally and one-to-one at sponsor booths or in expo halls. People make lasting friendships and connections at conferences.
Human beings are social animals. We need physical and emotional connections to other human beings. In ancient societies, banishment into the wilderness was a punishment worse than having to listen to UB40. Today, I worry that social media makes it easy to communicate but also keeps people physically separated.
While real-world events can help companies as well as people, there is a downside that the entire business world is now witnessing. Conferences are environments that can lead to the efficient transmission of pathogens such as coronavirus.