Years go by and physical marketing events remain essential in the marketing and commercial animation of companies. Conferences and trade shows are among the best ways to connect with prospects and customers. Engaging through meetings remains one of the major assets of these privileged moments. Indeed, putting a face and a conversation behind a commercial promise can change the whole deal in order to gain the confidence of your interlocutors.
The fear surrounding the spread of an epidemic has led to massive postponements and cancellations of events. It affects the sphere of companies in both BtoB and BtoC. Previous years, fuelled by social conflicts, had already damaged the economic activity of many companies. The last few weeks, however, have witnessed a record number of cancellations of large-scale marketing events, forcing exhibitors to look for alternatives to maintain their business and the link with their audiences.
So, what do you do if your event is cancelled? What is the main alternative?
For the past few days, public health reasons have been driving companies to be cautious. This is a choice of common interest, but it is not the only one that can push a company to change its mind. The movement of yellow jackets, strikes, have proven in the past to be able to disrupt economic life. Although the reasons for strikes are often beyond the control of companies, the onus remains on them to communicate effectively on the subject and to seek the right alternatives.
The hardest part is often before the reaction. The decision to cancel or postpone an event arouses scruples in companies. And for good reason, they are often major in the company’s activity and require work that one is reluctant to deny. In addition, there are often other stakeholders involved that need to be prevented. This decision of last resort is therefore often a nebulous decision that may be slow to be made.
APOLOGY, COORDINATION AND ELEMENTS OF RESPONSE
The first step in making a choice is to do it with form. In this case, the first thing is to apologize in full transparency. Yes, you are sorry for the disappointment you may generate, the waste of time that this decision may cause, and for having even come to make it. There is no need to hide the cause, especially when you yourself are the first to suffer from the situation.
On the other hand, it will be necessary to coordinate your communications. It is possible that several stakeholders may be involved and all must be considered with equal diligence. So make sure that everyone receives the news at the same time or in a very short space of time.
In addition, there are several elements to include in your communications:
- Your policy in terms of reimbursement if your event was paid for (exhibitors, sponsors, tickets, fees…etc)
- The decision as to the event: cancellation, postponement, possible date if known
- The alternative you imagined if you have selected one
- Any additional information needed
EXCHANGES AND AVAILABILITY
Whether by phone, email or social networks, the targets of your communications may be tempted to find out more. Whether for technical reasons or because they want to find another way to contact you. It is necessary that your teams are available and able to respond quickly to these questions. Both for image and commercial reasons.
A SOLUTION: DIGITAL?
If cancellation or postponement are necessarily the first two options to consider, it is also possible to get around the loss by creating something else. Deciding to transform a physical event into a digital one inevitably generates differences, but remains certainly the only and best way to maintain the link with your target and continue your activity.
The choice of digital allows to react quickly, because it requires much less logistics than face-to-face. No room to plan, no caterers and other usual requirements. No travel and accommodation to anticipate. You just have to choose the environment in which you will do it, an internet connection and operational equipment.
WHAT TOOLS CAN WE HELP YOU WITH?
It is entirely possible through webconferencing to recreate many of the strengths of a physical event.
The arrival of streaming, combined with many tools, reduces the boundaries :
- Several simultaneous speakers: it is possible to have several speakers on screen. Whether they are at a distance or at the same place, you can involve guests (partners, influencers, customers), create debates, propose dynamic exchanges.
- Branding: many platforms allow you to integrate brand elements. Insert your logo, videos, create an environment bearing your colors and export your presentation materials.
- Realization: if the physical allows you to choose prestigious places, the digital allows thanks to capture studios (mobile or not) to take care of your brand image.
- Screen sharing: if your activity requires demonstrations, the video and screen sharing options allow you to show your machines or software live.
- Interaction tools: Web conferencing and especially webinars are built to encourage interaction. Between chats and survey tools, it is possible to receive live questions and feedback. Similarly, call-to-actions can help participants make special requests or express interest.
- Replay: your conferences are available live but continue to live afterwards, thanks to replays.
CAN WE ENGAGE THANKS TO DIGITAL?
The physical event allows a meeting with an undeniable interest for the life of the company. However, the advantages of digital technology should not be underestimated. Offering online conferences also makes it possible to “meet” participants. The exchanges during or at the end of a conference are often very rich “online”.
Sometimes even more, because guests are often deprived of the inhibition to express themselves in public. Moreover, if you can’t put a face on them, they can now put a face on you through the speakers you have chosen. A person attending at least one conference of your event will therefore, at a minimum, have spent that time listening to you, or even interacting with you.
Moreover, choosing digital broadens your target audience. Not only do you solve travel issues and fears related to current events, but you can also reach people who are too far away to attend or not originally available. Best of all, you can follow everything your participants have done during your digital events, which is impossible through face-to-face.
So will you get all the benefits of the physical event? No, but you give yourself a very good alternative, without incurring as much cost and logistics. So it’s both a good reaction to bounce back quickly, but eventually a new string to your marketing bow. Enough to create new meeting channels for your company.