Despite all the disruption the pandemic has brought upon the events industry, a silver lining has been a fundamental shakeup of business practices that had stagnated and remained unchallenged for years. Previously, it wasn’t uncommon to have the only aspect of business events that significantly changed each year being the dates and venues.
In an article for TSNN, Live Group CEO Toby Lewis noted this resistance to change: “Live Group was unashamedly geeky before COVID-19 in terms of the way we adopted technologies across the board. We were finding our clients were kind of resisting and we didn't really know why.”
The pandemic has forced a tech-led evolution in the way we hold events, but by embracing this change and recognising it as an opportunity instead of a setback, we should realise that this is the shakeup that the industry needed.
A different mindset
Toby outlined that the pandemic brought with it an opportunity to create an ‘Uber’ moment for events. However, mindsets need to change if we are willing to adopt new ways of working. Take target audiences, for example. To define and predict attendees’ mindsets, we have found you can group people into three different categories:
- Group 1: Those who enjoy travelling to conferences, trade shows or events and are looking forward to getting started again soon
- Group 2: Those who have always dreaded attending meetings and will only go as it’s part of their job
- Group 3: Those who don’t mind travelling for events, but need a persuasive reason to spend their time and money
These three groups can be encouraged to attend events using different tactics. Group 1 wouldn’t take much persuasion and Group 2 will likely drop out as companies shrink their travel budgets and attendance of in-person events.
But it is Group 3 where event organisers and marketers should direct the bulk of their efforts. This group remains open-minded and can be persuaded to attend in person events if that extra factor is present. To convince these more open minds might require some out-of-the box thinking!
The real change will be seen in the length of the engagement surrounding an event. Face-to-face events still have a place in the future of events but these will cover much more than the standard 2-3 days.
Rather than having two busy days of doing your best to meet everyone and develop a common ground with as many potential associates as possible, you could instead have three or four months of activity. These months may consist of registering for an event, four-six weeks of virtual get-togethers, a two-day gathering in-person, a month’s worth of virtual events and the process will start again with a new theme to maintain the event’s community all year.
This new way of networking and holding events will provide ‘no walls, no clocks and no limits’ to the level of engagement events can offer. With this extended engagement, everything becomes more impactful.
Many businesses will be looking to kickstart their event calendars as restrictions lift. It’s important to recognise that the nature of audiences has fundamentally changed, and engagement has evolved for the better – so why regress to ‘traditional’ events of the past?
For more information on how Live Group can help you to extend the impact of your events through hybrid and virtual events, get in touch.
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