Virtual Events (Still) Make the World Go ‘Round
By John Catapano, ACMA Business Development Manager
The Covid-19 pandemic has personally affected us all in so many ways since its arrival a little less than one year ago. Life has changed drastically…from the way our children learn and play to the way we visit and socialize with friends and loved ones. The way we conduct business has also changed dramatically, but companies with bottom lines and revenue goals should really reconsider the impact of pulling back. Do you really want to lock your marketing budget in a safe for when the sun begins shine brighter on the economy?
When I consult with my advertising clients during a downturn in the economy, I always stress to them – do not take your foot off the pedal. I continue with the fact that their competition has probably pulled back, their advertisements are nowhere to be found, and this is an opportunity to take advantage: continue to be seen, continue to broadcast their message and continue to develop new relationships whether they close business today or tomorrow.
The Show Must Go On Through Virtual Events
The same can be applied to events, conferences, and trade shows – the life blood for many companies and a significant annual marketing investment to reconnect with customers, meet new buyers and decision makers, and ultimately boost their business development efforts and bottom-line. With traditional, in-person events cancelled worldwide due to the pandemic, all is not lost. Executives can still set and achieve goals and marketing personnel can breathe easier because the show must go on through virtual events.
Virtual technology recreates the event’s live experience in an innovative and truly interactive digital venue. Consider this technology as the “digital convention center” until the world can travel and reunite under one roof. Just like the traditional, in-person event, today’s virtual event technology seamlessly tackles the three pillars of any well-planned event – Networking, Education and Commerce:
- Networking: While you are unable to shake hands and chat with a buyer in your exhibit space on the show floor, virtual event technology allows access to attendee data within the platform, providing you an opportunity to learn about their interests and motivation for attending. You can take it one step further and invite them to a personal video conference for a more proper introduction and discussion.
- Education: As with any event, conference programming is an ideal opportunity to learn from experts showcasing new technologies and innovations. Virtual event technology and platforms offer the same opportunity to learn, ask questions, and take your new knowledge back to your company. Plus, session recordings are offered on-demand after the event.
- Commerce: If your company is going to invest in an event, a return on investment is expected. Companies that want to elevate their business development efforts with booth space and boost their brand awareness and industry perception through sponsorship can accomplish the same objectives in the virtual event setting.
Keep in mind when planning your virtual participation, there will be no need for airline tickets, hotels, and fancy dinners, helping save on your company’s travel budget significantly. Meet buyers and decision makers and close new business at the event from your home or office.
While the virtual event is effective, I understand it is temporary and will not fully replace the traditional, in-person event moving forward. We will check in our bags again, we will fly across the country again, we will set up our physical booths again, and we will again enjoy dinners and a glass of wine with our customers and prospects. Until then, do not miss out on the opportunity for networking, education, and commerce through a virtual event for a small investment in the future – your competition is likely to participate.
The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) is the world’s largest composites industry trade group. We are manufacturers, material and equipment suppliers, distributors, academia and end users, dedicated to growing the composites market. We serve our members and the industry by promoting the competitive advantage and versatility of composite materials. ACMA offers composites industry educational resources through our Education Hub, CAMX, conferences, webinars, and Certified Composites Technician (CCT®) program. We develop standards and specifications that drive preference for the use of composites in place of traditional materials. We lead advocacy efforts via legislative and regulatory channels to achieve a more viable composites industry. Together, we are shaping the future of composites.