The Lookout #51: What’s your 365 strategy?
What is the real contribution of events? Phil Soar‘s recent columns in Exhibition News have encouraged many in the event and exhibition industry to think hard about this question. His pieces playfully, but pointedly push event and exhibition organizers to unpack their value proposition for their stakeholders, beyond serving as the regular venue and meeting place for a certain target group (some examples of note Why do people go to trade shows?; Why Darwin didn’t mention trade shows in ‘On the Origin of Species’ and more recently Trade show mission statements: how can you tell the difference?). The fact that he’s had enough material for a suite of columns on this theme, speaks to the point that it’s not just a personal bugbear. For some, it appears endemic in an industry where a certain portion of event organizers seem to focus more on selling space above everything else. Or in less charitable terms, “Our Mission is to make as much money as possible for our shareholders.”
For a certain number of exhibitions and large-scale B2B events (not all), the lack of a clear value proposition beyond the venue suggests why many have struggled in the pivot to digital over the last 18 months. Many of those desperately unsatisfied with digital events are content to point the blame squarely on the format, at the same time ignoring the lack of focus and care of delivering something of value to their stakeholders. It’s this lack of focus that results in virtual events which frustratingly seek to replicate a physical format into a digital miniature.
If these events wish to remain relevant venues for bringing stakeholders together, they must commit themselves to deliver value beyond just providing space. It requires being honest about what makes an event a “success”–satisfying something beyond the organizer’s bottom line. And for events that have demonstrable value-add — is this measurable and clear to those outside your existing community? Each of these components is integral when it comes to evolving your concept into an effective 365 strategy, where the impact continues far beyond the days of the show.
Have you developed a 365 strategy for your participants, sponsors and exhibitors? Is it clearly defined, and stands out when compared to your competitors? If not, what are you waiting for?
There are some brave examples of event organizers that have recognized the call, adjusting and changing formats to be more durable, flexible, and beneficial to those that they serve. But for those that haven’t committed themselves beyond providing a venue, the uncertainty of the past weeks should be a wake-up call. Don’t let it pass by.
There’s no time like the beginning of the New Year to commit to some ambitious goals (there are just four weeks left!). And there’s no better time to start than now.
In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been catching up on this week:
The events industry:
- Omicron Variant Starts to Hit Travel, Business Flights and Events [Wall Street Journal] Upcoming flights and business travel have been already affected by new restrictions ushered in by the Omicron variant.
- The future of events is hybrid, but how do we get there? [Diginomica] It’s time to double down on hybrid events, but it must go beyond the livestreamed keynote. In this piece, Paul Richards argues it’s important to rise above the mediocrity when it comes to developing cohesive hybrid formats, bringing entertainment value and encouraging organizers to break out of their comfort zones. He provides some examples of how to get there, especially for enterprise events– when it comes to making the experience more fun.
- Fastener Fair Stuttgart rebranded as Fastener Fair Global [Fastener and Fixing] Interesting rebrand here for one of the biggest exhibitions for the fastener and fixing industry. By dropping “Stuttgart” from the name (the home of the exhibition) it positions the show as a masthead with a more international outlook, connecting the exhibition’s satellite events around the world, as well as with a global platform.
- Blavity to continue building its virtual event model in the metaverse [Digiday] This year’s AfroTech went global in the metaverse, via the Blavity platform. The pivot from virtual event to metaverse bought considerable benefits– with higher ticket prices, more sponsorship participation and increased participation. Ready to take your event into the metaverse, but not sure where to start? Here’s how they did it.
How to do it:
- Zoom: How to use it (and how not to use it) in 2022 [Fast Company] No surprises here– such as “don’t hold meetings when you could just send an email” but some good reminders maybe to send to the team as many of us continue with the latest phase of work from home.
- Five Ways to Leverage the Cameo Platform to Personalize Engagement [Event Marketer] You might know that for many events, the content is one of the key drivers of signups. And a top name on your event certainly gets attention. A really creative idea here that shows how to use Cameo, to bring on some top voices to engage and activate your event, providing personalized moments for attendees. It’s a compelling idea and brings something to your digital event that will make it certainly stand out.
- Best Practices for Event Moderators [Trade Show News] When it comes to keeping your attendees engaged, content is only one part of the equation. Competent moderators bring your participants into the conversation, and keep them connected with your event’s program. And when it comes to a virtual event– you have the chance to bring more moderators into the equation, helping to support presenters, engage the chat and lead discussions.
- How to Create a COVID-Safe Trade Show Exhibit [Trade Show News] Exhibitors and fairs have continually emphasized the importance of in-person interactions and the value of exhibitions for their industries. When it comes to returning to covid compliant fairs in 2022, here are some top tips from one of the world’s leading exhibit designers on how to create a space that not only stands out, but keeps attendees safe.
Don’t Miss it:
- New UFI Report Details Critical Concerns About Data Ownership in the New Era of Events [Trade Show News] A worrying trend that I’ve been following considerably over the year regards the struggles over privacy and data ownership for event organizers, producers, and eventtech platforms. UFI has recently released a white paper on some of the concerns and challenges faced by organizers when it comes to this tricky space. Check out the full report here: The event organiser’s perspective on data ownership
- Cvent CEO & Founder, Reggie Aggarwal, on the Future of Meetings and Events [Yahoo Business] Cvent’s CEO and Founder Reggie Aggarwal on the move to take his company public and what 2022 might bring for the events industry. In his view– 2022 will bring something for everyone, suggesting the events landscape will comprise a “smart mix” of event types, including in-person, virtual and hybrid events.
- Virtual world pioneer Philip Rosedale has doubts about the metaverse [Axios] Ah, that pesky metaverse again. It seems inevitable whether we’re looking for it or not. But one of the key figures at the forefront, Phil Rosedale — who advanced the concept through his platform “Second Life” expresses his doubts about the metaverse’s impact. Have things changed? Maybe with the spread of Omicron, the metaverse will take on a whole new meaning.
That’s all for this week’s edition of The Lookout!
In the meantime, let’s stay connected if we’re not already on Linkedin or follow the PIRATEx team on Twitter. If there’s anything you would like to read about when it comes to online, or digital events, let me know! I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions.
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Until next Friday!