Is it time to Switch to Plan V?
Every day we hear more bad news about the rapidly spreading Corona Virus. While the potential health threat of COVID-19 is very real, the economic impact is immediate for those thousands of companies whose trade shows have been cancelled. The exhibitors, especially those who sell B2B, depend upon these trade shows for sales leads, strategic business contacts and media exposure. So, what now?
It’s time to switch to Plan V. The Virtual Trade Show.
While the virtual trade show has been a second cousin to live shows over the years, the category enjoyed a surge of growth in 2009 – 2010 following the financial crisis of 2008. And although many decision makers prefer the human contact value derived from person-to-person meetings at shows, this benefit is far less popular right now with the threat of the Corona Virus.
- Higher Attendance
- More Sales Leads
- Lower Cost
- Higher ROI
So why isn’t everyone going to Plan V right now?
Unless a physical trade show already offers a hybrid option, the show operators are just not prepared to produce a virtual show option to exhibitors and attendees. Others, who have the wherewithal, are responding immediately. For example:
“Think,” IBM's biggest developer conference of the year, normally attracting 30,000 attendees, was set to be held at San Francisco's Moscone Center on May 5-7. Instead the live conference has been cancelled and is evolving into a digital event with "live streamed content, interactive sessions and certifications and locally hosted events."
Google cancelled its “Cloud Next” event scheduled for this coming week in San Francisco, opting for a digital event with "streamed keynotes, breakout sessions, interactive learning and digital 'ask an expert' sessions with Google teams.
Virtual trade shows often integrate instant messaging, seminar technologies, podcasting, and other means of communication into a single, smooth operating environment. While it might sound like a stop gap measure right now, they just might become a permanent part of your marketing mix in the future, especially if you can add an e-commerce component and generate immediate sales.