#8 – The future of the events industry

The future depends on what you are doing today

The events industry has been rocked by the current global crisis. Whilst businesses took for granted the freedom of movement, and gathering together, most have been forced to stay home. As event organisers our thoughts naturally look to the future. What will events look like next year? What should I do now to prepare?

In this episode, I will make observations on current events, and how I feel they will shape an exciting new future in the events industry.

Our communities will:

  • Recognise the importance of gathering together
  • Look for facilitators of community
  • Seek ways to connect right now

You and your team could use this lockdown period to prepare for a brighter future:

  • Evaluate your industries and update your customer avatars
  • Look for ways you can add value digitally
  • Create new content or re-purpose old that will add value to your audience
  • Learn new skills

Welcome to the Event Martech Podcast. This is your host Lee, and today I’m going to get my crystal ball out and talk about the future of the events industry. Now we are aware that things have changed significantly over the last few weeks and months. Businesses can no longer gather together to network, to be part of conferences where they can learn to be part of exhibitions. We’re all being forced to stay at home to socially isolate. We’re dealing with event cancellations, with postponing events or with virtualizing our events. And that can feel like quite a lot of pressure, but also a lot of concern for the future. There are so much right now that is unknown and there is nothing more scary than the unknown. So in this podcast I want to encourage you with some insights that I have and we have discussed here with our team as well as insights that we’ve had shared with us about the future of the events industry.

I want to encourage you and get you excited for the new, brighter future of the events industry that I really do believe is to come. The key message of this podcast is that people now recognise more than ever before the absolute importance of being able to gather together. Around the world people are craving each of this company and they are looking for ways to gather, to communicate, to network, to support each other, to have conversations, to build each other up, to help each other through these hard times. And this is nothing short of historical. Our children, our businesses, our selves are being massively impacted and we’re going to see the world in search a different way. Our perceptions, our priorities are already being transformed and I believe that that is going to create a society and a landscape that value togetherness, that values community, that seeks to be together.

So whilst things are still hot right now, whilst things do seem scary, what is being created is a completely new way of looking at connecting a brand new appreciation of the importance of connecting with other people and with other businesses. And we as event organisers are perfectly positioned for their new renaissance that is coming in the future. New ways of doing events both virtually and physically as well as amazing new event tech. So much will happen as a result of these few trying months. Whilst we’ve established that businesses recognise the importance of community of gathering together, that means that they will be looking to facilitators of community and we are those facilitators of community. As event organisers, we have access to the industry, we have access to the audience, we have access to the suppliers, we have partnerships with sponsors, we know the right speakers, we can connect all the different strands of community together and that doesn’t change when people cannot physically meet.

Therefore, I do believe that there will be a surge in virtual interactivity, and we’ve talked about this in the last episode of how to virtualize your event. This is something that I’ve been going through the process with our own Agency Transformation Live our community, our audience, still craved connection, still wanted to learn, still wanted to connect with speakers, with sponsors, etc. So we’ve created a place for them to do that so that we can continue with our event. And I’ve seen that the hunger and the appetite for the physical event next year has increased ten- fold. People are so excited that already talking about the time when we can all gather together again. Right now people are looking for facilitators of community, looking to them now for help on connecting because people still want to do business. People still want to network, people still want to connect, but also those facilitators of community, that’s you, the event organiser, you will be there beyond this as well when people want to get together again physically and I really do believe that will be a new appetite both for virtual as well as physical events.

To summarise, businesses recognise the importance of gathering together. They’re looking for facilitators of community and they’re seeking ways that they can connect right now. So I would encourage you as an event organiser, see what you can do to reach out to build community, to pivot when needed. You can check that out in Episode 7 or to change how you do things such as Episode 5 or Episode 6 with regards to live streaming and virtualization. As we look forward to this new future for the events industry, there are activities that we can engage with right now to both prepare ourselves for that future, but also to become front of mind to our partners, to the speakers, the exhibitors, the sponsors, everyone who supports us and to the audience that so often come to our physical events. And I want to encourage you with four activities that you can engage with right now.

First would be to take some time to evaluate and review the industries that you are serving and then update those customer avatars. You probably have a range of ideal visitors, ideal sponsors, etc. So it’s a great opportunity to review how that industry is doing, what that industry needs are, as well as the needs of those particular avatars. And if you feel that perhaps you don’t have the right characteristics or the right descriptions for the people that you can help the most, then be sure to update those avatars to give yourself a clear picture on who it is that you’re serving, what their problems are, what their dreams, what their aspirations are, and what your superpowers are as an event organiser, as a community builder, why you can solve those problems where you can help people to achieve those dreams. Be sure to listen to Episode 7 where I talk in more detail about your avatars and the importance of having a handle on who they are.

Now that you’ve done this exercise, look for ways that you can add value digitally. Now, how can you help facilitate community during these uncertain times? How can you show up and add value and that’s not necessarily selling people anything, but what it is is showing up as the leader of community and adding value, helping people through these times because you will be remembered when we come through the other side. People will gravitate towards those that did good in the community to those that showed up and again, remember Episode 7 I share a whole load of options where you could pivot your event business and ways to add value both monetarily and for free. That will have a massive impact. Next, you can be using this time to create content or repurpose old content from past events that will add that value to the community. People will be using this time to look for resources, look for advice and help to improve their knowledge and you can show up and provide that education to them.

You can be seen again as the leaders in your industry during these times showing up with valuable content, education and support. While it’s content marketing is a long game. Content marketing is also something that we should be looking at in this time because people have time and they are looking for help. They’re looking to community leaders just like you for encouragement, for inspiration and for advice. And then finally, I’d encourage you to also spend some time doing that. Learn new skills, immerse yourself in event technology, immerse yourself in information, immerse yourself in the industries that you serve. This is a wonderful opportunity to improve your knowledge base, to invest time with your team members upskilling so that when this new season blossoms you are equipped to help and to serve. I really hope that I’ve been able to inspire you and let’s do a quick recap.

We’ve highlighted that businesses that people around the world have recognised the importance of gathering together and they are looking to facilitators of community for leadership. That’s us as event organisers and they’re seeking ways to connect right now. I truly believe that we can innovate to help people connect during these times and I also believe that we will be there to help build wonderful physical gatherings when we’re all allowed to gather together. What we also shared in this episode was some encouragement of activities that you can engage with over the next few weeks and months for as long as this lockdown period takes and that’s evaluate the industries that you serve and update those customer avatars. Then look for ways that you can add value digitally, create content or repurpose old content that’s going to add more value to your audience and finally, learn new skills, upskill so that you are prepared for the new season of the events industry. Folks, I hope you’ve been inspired. If you have got any questions, if you’ve got any thoughts or feelings to share them, please head on over to www.eventmartech.com you can scroll down to the comments on this episode that’s episode number 8 and share them in the comments. It would be great to build on this conversation and be able to learn from each other. So folks, if we don’t see you in the comments, we will see you in the next episode.

Whilst we try to ensure accuracy, transcripts are semi automated through machine learning from the natural flow of speech.

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