The pandemic has changed so much about the way we do business and event marketing is no exception. A recent study by eventsforce has found that 72% of conference organisers have had to cancel or postpone their evens in the last 12 months, with 50% opting to move their events online.
On the face of it one might think that online events are a poor relation to face to face forums. However, in the same way that video meetings have replaced face to face meetings, so online conferences are here to stay. Delegates are able to fit presentations and workshops around their calendars whilst remaining in their offices and carrying out their normal work, at a hugely reduced cost.
For suppliers and exhibitors one might think that you would not have the same access to potential customers with an online event. However, we now believe that if online event marketing is carried out effectively you are able to generate much more engagement, before, during and after the event.
We recently supported our client Surveyors to Education (S2e) who in December 2020 decided to sponsor the first ever Virtual MAT Expo. Previously held in a hotel and conference centre attracting 200 delegates, the Virtual MAT Expo pulled in over 1,200 delegates – a six fold increase.
As zone sponsors S2e had very good brand awareness with their logo visible in all parts of the cutting edge virtual exhibition hall. Before the event they were able to invite interested delegates to their presentations and attracted over 150 attendees over the two days. During the event they had a virtual stand with a ‘digipitch’ video on display and materials available for download. Throughout the event members of the team could reach out to participants and start conversations. Then, following the event they were able to connect with everyone who had attended, sharing slides, ebooks and their expertise.
It has always been difficult for a supplier or exhibitor to justify sponsoring an event when weighing up the costs versus the number of new leads generated at the conference. For many moving online has made this even harder to justify. However, our experience of Virtual MAT Expo has persuaded us that if you are looking for brand awareness and are prepared to invest in a long term lead generation strategy then a well organised online event can form a pivotal part of your marketing plan.