From Physical To Digital: How associations are adapting among COVID-19

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Event marketers have suffered heartbreak over the last month. Tighter and tighter regulations coming into play have meant the majority of trade shows and in-person events have been either voluntarily or legally canceled.

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly created some interesting times and overwhelming obstacles for organizations worldwide. The unprecedented social distancing restrictions have caused live events and conferences that have been planned for months to come to a screeching stop, along with face-to-face business. This may seem like a grim time for many businesses, but out of adversity comes opportunity particularly if you pivot to digital marketing. 

Nearly 28% of marketers polled by IEE GlobalSpec planned to reinvest their trade show budget into digital advertising, proving that not all is lost.

In contrast to businesses choosing not to reinvest, an agile, tactical shift in communication channels will keep the opportunity open at the top of the funnel for these businesses to continue connecting with customers and pursuing sales.

Having a digital strategy may sound a bit obvious, but there are a few underlying factors that can really drive a strong digital strategy — even more than usual. Some live events and conferences that have been canceled offer insurance and flexible cancellation policies that may leave you with a new marketing budget to reassign to other assets. Along with additional financial resources also comes extra employee time and efforts that we can utilize towards our digital marketing campaigns. 

A key factor in resilience is adaptability and for many organizations this will put their digital strategy and communication channels to the test. As Sharon Gill, of Van Petten Group states “During this pandemic, companies are adapting by working remotely and taking a collaborative approach on executing their digital strategy. We have seen a real spike over the past few weeks from current and potential clients looking to implement a social media campaign focused on targeting remote workers. They are also putting a real emphasis during this time to update their brand image and website content that is often their customers’ first impression — especially during this pandemic when digital touchpoints have been on a steady rise”.

The coming weeks and months — or however long this situation lasts —  will be a difficult time for most. However, when organizations shift to adopting a strong digital strategy, there’s no reason why this won’t be advantageous in the long-term.  At the very least this will serve as a prime example of how to handle future pandemics and how we can adapt accordingly to minimize the financial capital burden.

Megan Van Petten
Van Petten Group, INC.

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