Most infectious disease specialists would agree that an international conference is the definition of a potential super-spreader event. An event similar to the Biogen Boston Conference in late February, 2020 that we know know led to over 300,000 cases of Covid-19.
So what makes us think Conferences and Tradeshows are going to be a viable networking and sales tool in the near future? The answer is: They’re NOT. Conferences are dead…at least for now.
People love to travel, and employees like to take time away from work to travel. These two truths combined, set corporate America up to be the guinea pig for if and how companies allow their employees to travel to these traditional annual events. Especially after an expected slow and steady (voluntary), vaccine rollout.
What does this all mean? If you’re in Corporate Event Planning should you be looking for a new career path? Probably. But let’s talk about the more pressing subject – how else are sales teams supposed to get their messaging out to thousands of dedicated eyes and ears – many of which have their guards down from a mixture of alcohol and a savvy event location.
These last 6 months – and more importantly these next 6-12 months, are going to be the beginning of a transition into more of a less hands-on, touchy-feely, sales approach. Marketers are going to have to start investing in, and relying on other mediums like, Immersive Video, Virtual Reality, and Artificial Intelligence.
Now I don’t think Conferences and Tradeshows are extinct by any means, I just think that it’s going to takeout least 3 years before the majority of corporate America and the World at large, is going to start to travel with the same level of globe-trotting enthusiasm they did pre-covid.
Let’s be honest – there’s only so many Zoom calls one person can handle. At some point, sales prospects are going to tune out to whatever messaging your company is trying to convey. There’s only so many cool green-screen backgrounds Zoom can provide to take the attention off the technologically inept presenter who’s internet keeps going in and out.
Realistically, there’s always going to be a need to bring groups of people together to collectively solve problems. Conferences aren’t always about selling products or services. It’s true, the host company’s main goals are to effectively increase the bottom-line – but there’s other things that can come out of a mass gathering including; Focus groups, training sessions, peer conversations, etc.
So what now? Where does this leave the thousands of event professionals that are tasked with bringing these people back together? If for some reason their budget hasn’t been re-allocated, and they’re serious about moving the industry forward as a whole, I think there is a place for them. A niche that lies somewhere in the digital marketing realm with a dash of traditional event planning. Who knows, I’m just a Marketing guy who does video now…