Silicon Roundabout

Apr 30, 2021

3 min read

How virtual events helped move markets forward while the world stood still | Tim Groot, Founder and CEO, Grip

The events industry has seen dramatic changes as a result of the pandemic, impacting markets from healthcare and tech to food and drink as the events where they showcase their products, services and attend meetings crucial to the business were cancelled. The events industry naturally relies on the functioning and interconnected nature of other markets. At a time where normal business operations (like arranging meetings, pitching new business or collecting data) were digitised — or even stopped completely, depending on local restrictions — digital events platforms and organisers have been busy behind the scenes, adapting to connect professionals and drive innovation within a variety of markets.

In terms of planning a virtual event, regardless of whether you’re promoting a product or service, the key is to have a clear vision in place — along with a strategy that helps achieve those goals. That strategy, however, will vary depending on whether the organisation’s focus is on a product or providing a service. In theory, it’s easy to create memorable experiences at events when there is something tangible on offer, something which solidifies and represents a brand. We’ve seen this in the likes of food and drinks industries — who can run virtual tasting events. Entertainment and music providers have also adapted well, embracing digital events to create impactful online experiences. Within tech, product-driven industries have also thrived within this new event format — including FinTech, PropTech, and InsureTech clients — all of whom are constantly driving innovation through digital events.

Trade shows, conferences and other trade events remain hugely important landmarks in industry calendars, bringing key contacts together and forming deals and relationships that facilitate company growth and innovation.

Virtual events have been driving innovation in each market at a crucial point, adding value beyond what they could previously offer from live events. They are smaller and more targeted in terms of who they bring together — leading to an increase in overall engagement, a greater pool of sponsorship opportunities and a higher number of business leads. Virtual events also build upon existing revenue streams, requiring much lower costs than a physical event — with no venue rent, travel cost, physical booths or stage building costs to factor in, the events become more user-friendly and comprehensive.

Beyond the pandemic as markets begin the road to recovery, we expect that there will be a greater uptake of hybrid events — taking the benefits experienced over the pandemic from virtual events, combined with in-person events . We expect many industries will be keen to meet at events face to face, however, we acknowledge that there may be some trepidation in doing so. Digital solutions can continue to bridge this gap and create stronger, more valuable professional connections as attendees and event organisers build on their experiences over the past year. Now more than ever, these meetings, connections and the sharing of knowledge across industries and markets are deeply needed, as businesses across the world come together to adapt and innovate in a post-pandemic landscape.

Originally published at https://www.siliconroundabout.org.uk.