Competing against the “new normal” Part 2: How to take your event on the road

By December 1, 2020Employee Engagement

During a time that has meant many of our campaign plans and events have been paused or even cancelled, we recently shared our thoughts on how we’re working with clients to repurpose their pre-approved 2020 budgets. In the blog, we spoke about how severely impacted many industries have been as a result of COVID-19, but at FMI, adaptation, creative outputs and quick-thinking are what we live and breathe.

It’s no secret that delivering events in-person is extremely difficult at the moment, with the current lockdown measures making it impossible. However, as we look ahead to 2021, we’re still no clearer on when and how things may return to normal – so it’s time to start thinking outside the box!

There’s an old saying that goes “If Mohammed will not go to the mountain, the mountain must go to Mohammed” and is something that can definitely be applied to how the events industry moves forward next year. Hear us out…

Get on the road(show)!

Roadshows have now become a viable alternative to fixed events in exhibition centres or arenas – events which are typically associated with large numbers of people. With this in mind, perhaps 2021 is the time to take your products on the road. If your customers/delegates can’t come to you, we can assist in taking you to them!

As we discussed in our last blog, now is the time to adapt your strategy in order to continue meeting objectives – realistically. We may not be able to predict the future, but we can control how we react to the here and now.

More creativity = increased control

 By reconfiguring your live events into mobile roadshows, you have more control over external factors such as who is permitted to visit you and for how long. This would also allow for adequate sanitising of the interior and make it easier to implement the NHS’ current Track and Trace scheme, making the experience more COVID-secure overall.

 In the long run, this approach may even streamline your original plan, allowing you to target your demographic more effectively and ensuring you expose your brand to the right people. Most importantly, perhaps, it may also offer the opportunity to streamline your budget. You could begin to adjust costs according to length of stay at each destination and choosing to target only those areas where you think your roadshow will have the best impact.

While your event wouldn’t be rooted in a specific place like a fixed event would be, the beauty of a roadshow is that it can be executed across multiple locations. For more consumer-led products, you could contact local councils to ensure you are fully compliant with local guidelines, and work with them to come to a mutually beneficial agreement whereby your product placement could encourage increased footfall. If your product is appealing enough, local councils could even consider discounts for you to rent space if increased footfall is likely to be guaranteed.

For a roadshow whose audience is more business-led, you could issue personalised invitations to delegates at random locations, giving it a more exclusive feel and offering a change-up from the every day. This will be a welcome distraction for those who are getting tired of the same four walls while working from home and could provide a much-needed boost of morale!

Creative delivery

 If this year has taught us anything, it’s how much can be achieved even when people can’t be together in person. We’ve learnt so many new ways of engaging with one another; through FaceTime, Zoom quizzes and even virtual PE lessons for some of us!

Utilising the tools that are already at your fingertips is a key way to encourage engagement with your target audience. Social channels are an obvious yet effective way of encouraging genuine engagement and creative delivery of marketing tools on these channels can bring really positive engagement. Competitions and gamification will encourage people to interact with your brand and will ultimately result in improved buy-in from consumers.

Creative delivery can also be applied through timeframes. Large-scale events are often planned months in advance, from venue hire through to catering on the day, we know that it’s a big job.

Smaller, tailored events can be easier to pull off within a tight timeframe. This second lockdown is certainly a knock for many, but by using this time where you know that events can’t go ahead means you can plan for the future. Start thinking about developing and applying a strategy that is malleable enough to be adapted according to the ever-changing restrictions and guidelines. This is our world now.

For us at FMI, there is no project too big (or small) and no timeframe too tight. We are experienced in delivering a variety of events all with differing budget requirements. Don’t be put off by what “could be”, and let’s start planning for what is.

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