Your event's been cancelled. What now?

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25 March 2020

With all that’s happening in the world today, it seems like keeping up is the new normal. But there is something you can do if your event has been canned or your sponsorship calendar is thinning out.

Think ahead to recover those lost prospect engagement opportunities.

Here are some quick pointers on how to structure your plan of action:

If it’s a third-party event, first and foremost: speak to your event organisers.

Not just to see how much money has been flushed, but to know your alternatives. Usually, big event organisers have numerous ways of engaging with their audiences. After all, that’s why you’re working with them: they have the audience you want.

Work with the organisers (or go it alone) to see how you can divert spend from physical to digital. That could be anything from newsletter comms and content promotion to sponsored webinars, digital advertising and more.

If you’re going solo and shaping a Plan B, it might look a lot like trying to replicate the event that you’re missing out on. So, what will you need?

Plan B: Replacing the event

If you’re going solo and shaping a Plan B, it might look a lot like trying to replicate the event that you’re missing out on.

So, what will you need?

Event Experience

And, beyond the experience, the content, information and products that attendees would see and get at the face-to-face event.

Access to the audience

Third-party events have a ready-made audience that fits your needs – a ‘captive audience’ that you’ll need to find elsewhere.

So, let’s get some quick wins on the table. First, the event experience. What are you trying to replicate?

Product demos and access to new product features and capability. You can easily replace these with product overview videos and explainers.

Buying advice and product portfolio details. Now, these could look like user case videos, aligned to verticals or industries, plus your product positioning collateral.

Access to experts via breakouts and seminars. Recreate these in the form of webinars with live Q&A.

Thought leadership presentations from experts. Again, webinars can work here – but consider cheaper options like blogs, opinion articles or SlideShare.

Hands-on product experience. Think about recording some unboxing videos that showcase set-up and first use.

Access to lots of info and the ability to self-navigate and create your own agenda. In the digital world, this looks like a well-planned and architected content hub – with easy search, filtering and content recommendations.

With all this content, you need to be sure it finds its way into the right hands. There are some quick wins here too. How will you activate the content and tap into that all important audience?

LinkedIn

This can be highly targeted. Your audience will be using LinkedIn for information gathering and staying up to date on news and with peers. Plus, the CPC option means you can test and only pay for results.

Search and PPC

These are great ways to get your content found. SEO is critical for the content you’re publishing, but PPC is often overlooked at the campaign and tactical level. Long tail search creates an opportunity to identify and serve search ads to in-market buyers.

Direct marketing

This is a cost-effective way to engage, using your own data to reach existing contacts via email or direct mail – for a high-touch engagement.

Publisher partnerships

These are a means to access your audience. Try email sponsorship, display advertising on their websites, content co-creation or syndication opportunities.

Intent data

This might give you the upper hand in reaching an audience with intent to buy. Intent data does this by identifying those who are already researching relevant topics that create a buying signal.

All in all – the two component parts of the Plan B need to work together. Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll come. You need to have the right content and the right integrated channel strategy to get it into the right hands.

This article was written by Eoin Rodgers, Strategy and Client Partnership Director at Direction Group Unlimited.

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