The JET Event Blog
Alex Head

Alex Head

"New Normal" - Quantity vs Quality


Tuesday, 26 May 2020
"New Normal" - Quantity vs Quality

Germany has banned events over 5000 people until October at the earliest, some other European countries have put in place limits of 1000 people. At the point of writing we do not know how this will shape up in the UK, but it is very likely we will have some form of limit on the number of people attending an event for the rest of 2020 at least.

This will evidently have ramifications for UK event organisers, one key area will be keeping exhibitors happy with potentially reduced footfall.

Exhibitor ROI

All exhibitors will look at the ROI of exhibiting in different ways, whether through number of leads, sales or simply brand awareness. For us, when we exhibit, it is primarily to increase brand awareness and hopefully pick up a few hot leads along the way. One thing I am sure of is that exhibitors would rather 10 leads that turn in to long lasting customer relationships than 1,000 leads that have little chance of progression, just another record for the database from someone who turned up for a free pen and bit of a jolly. In a world of limited capacities and physical distancing, I am sure exhibitions can still deliver that.

No longer will the key to a successful B2B exhibition be seen as claims of large visitor attendance and just perhaps, the new normal (added for anyone playing COVID blog buzz word bingo!) could represent an improvement.

Approving Visitors

Adding a vetting process to your online registration form, allowing you to approve or deny visitors will help ensure your limited capacity is filled with the demographic of visitors your exhibitors want to engage with. Each event will have different data that is relevant, whether that is buying responsibility, budget size or seniority say. You can tailor the registration process to collect the data you need to allow either an automatic decision on whether they can be approved, or each registration can be looked at individually.

No doubt many organisers are launching virtual events this year to fill the gap left by postponed/cancelled shows. Going forward a virtual element will play a part in many events, the much-touted hybrid event. The people who do not meet your entry criteria, whatever that may be, can be directed to the virtual element of the event so you do not lose them as a customer.

Data and Communication

In practice this is not necessarily an easy journey. Your 10,000 visitor claim is an easy one to sell, the 1,000 really good visitor claim might be hard to swing with exhibitors who are used to the higher attendances. It will take lots of communication and working in partnership with exhibitors, something made even harder if sales teams are on furlough. However, we all want to see lots of events happening in the next 6-12 months and building exhibitor confidence in ROI will be key, especially when many will have had their budgets slashed. You will have a powerful tool in the registration data from previous years, which can be used to provide insight into the calibre of visitors you attract.

A pivot to more targeted events rather than aiming for the masses will not suit all events but is certainly an area to consider and can be achieved by utilising software effectively throughout registration. If you do go down that route the next task is not easy either, making it a must attend event for those key visitors….

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