Event Planner Challenges in 2021:
More competition to reach audiences
With most companies having missed out in 2020 are looking forward to hosting events in March 2021 and onward, there would be many events being hosted in each category. Additionally, many new event planners have launched new virtual events, which would create more competition for the same set of audience.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 led many companies to shut down or let go of a large percentage of their employees. Along with that, even the decision-makers have changed or moved on. This has created a significant challenge for event planners whose business revolved around, making a robust database and using it to get the right audience to their event. While data freshness was always a challenge, this marketing strategy cannot be depended upon here onward.
Many industries have been disrupted and changed in the last nine months since the start of the pandemic. While your industry might be growing, a large portion of elements would have evolved. Some might have moved to virtual platforms or are entirely not relevant to anyone.
In 2021, your audience would want more relevance and freshness of topics and focus from your event. You might not be able to do business as usual and need to think about getting the right set of exhibitors (if you are hosting a tradeshow) or think about who your sponsors would be.
Not every event planner worked on creating a community and driving engagement in 2020, while their event was postponed or canceled. A year is a long time to lose your core audience and letting them find your more proactive competitor. This would be a significant challenge for some event planners, who might see their traditional audience base erode.
What should you start doing today to reach your event audience?
Look at new companies being started for event promotions
This one is the toughest as it needs a fair bit of research. New products are being created at an unprecedented rate, and new entrepreneurs are launching new companies along with that. To grow an event, it is critical to start looking for changes in your industry and which new companies might be coming up or have already started in 2020.
Where do you find them? Well, there is no easy answer, but looking for new start-ups and companies might not be a bad idea. Also, platforms like 10Times is a great starting point for such companies to look at events they can attend to generate business.
Look for a new point of contact
While medium and big companies would have made it past the torturous 2020, they too would have seen some attrition, sadly. Event companies need to start investing in data enrichment and finding the correct contact in the companies who would decide on event participation.
It’s never a bad idea to start this early. It’s a time taking process, and you might need external help. LinkedIn might be a starting point for some, but it traditionally does not cater to most industries. Example: construction, packaging, garments, etc. You might want to find data partners to who you can outsource this.
Start creating a virtual event community
Your event might be 6-9 months away, and you might think there is a lot of time. This is a big fallacy, and I hope most event planners would not make this mistake. Your audience is like a community. If you don’t engage them, someone else will.
It takes a little bit of effort, but it’s an essential building block of the coming days. Every event planner needs to see himself/herself as a community creator and find ways to do this efficiently.
You can look at platforms like FLOOR, which has been built for community engagement. While you might have your grand event in-person, these virtual engagement platforms allow you to bring your community together in various forms. However, the crux of an organization the content. Once your community takes off, the community itself becomes the content (happy to share more insights and advice, if you are keen)
Reach a new audience via virtual platforms and expand your horizon
As mentioned above, do not make the mistake of depending on your old databases. So, what are the options? You can look for new databases, but again, most companies and new decision-makers might not be on any database.
Google and LinkedIn can drive some results, but it would need obvious and strategic filtering to ensure your dollars reach the right audience. Alternatively, you can look at event discovery platforms like 10Times. The core proposition is to make it easy for new audiences to find events and drive them to participate.