Your Event Was Canceled Due to Coronavirus. Let’s Get to Work.

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Practical tips to stop panicking and start marketing.

Earlier this week, the Inverta “general industry news” slack channel got more action than a bottle of a hand sanitizer at a grocery store. The threat of coronavirus is discouraging group assembly, leading to many high profile industry events being canceled or postponed.

Our firm is experiencing these cancellations on multiple levels. For starters, we’ve helped many of our clients prep their presence at these shows, along with the pre and post-show marketing. Additionally, we ourselves rely on these shows for critical facetime with clients and prospects.

These are uncertain times, and we panicked a little. I’m sure you did too. You’re allowed.

But now, as LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner would say, it’s time to get on to the next play. Here are some actionable strategies that you can begin today to help mitigate the loss of pipeline from an event cancellation.

Be A Good Citizen:
Consumer brands like FedEx and Alaska Airlines are making special concessions due to Coronavirus. Is there something your product or solution can do to help your customers during this time of forced remote work (I’m looking at you, virtual conferencing platforms and video providers!). Publicity from doing good always pays for itself.

Proactively Communicate to Customers and Partners:
Even if the event has already made an announcement, you should communicate your disappointment directly to customers and partners, but express excitement at being able to get creative and flex your interactive muscles.

Missing your Booth? Skin your Website:
If you were planning to use the show to launch a new product, implement a total web takeover. Set up a tactile marketing program to send gifts or giveaways to visitors who agree to learn more and opt any new contacts into systemic nurturing like you would any post-show follow-up.

Create a Dynamic, Interesting Virtual Environment:
As a rule, people like experiences that are interesting and true-to-life and gravitate less toward hygienic, rehearsed performances. Live events are fun because they are unpredictable and awash with different people, personalities and perspectives.

  • Live stream a presentation or panel and enable live q&A.
  • Seize opportunities to draw out the humanity of the presenters by showing family photos or having them answer a couple human interest questions before their “session.”
  • Create a Slack channel for real time feedback and interaction
  • Create a broader audience for your content than just show registrants with positioned messaging, “Disappointed that you’re not attending [Show name?] We’re offering our session virtually at no cost.”

Experiment with Micro-Meetings and Lunch and Learns:
Uber Eats, Amazon Delivery, GrubHub, and Doordash are all available to experiment with by creating a lunch and learn environment. Coffee delivery (or swag like mugs and virtual gift cards) can further entice members of your community to show up to a virtual micro-meeting (15-20 minutes in length).

Go Local:
Arrange small, local meetups with partners and clients that don’t involve air travel by taking a look at your target account list and filtering intent by geography. Cross reference that with where you have a ground game, and see if you can pull together a small lunch or cocktail event.

We Want to Hear from You:

We’ll be rolling out several virtual experiences in the next week or so, and we’d love to hear from you: