In our recently released 2021 New Year Outlook survey report, we learned a little bit about the psyche of marketers and agencies as it related to attending conferences and trade shows in this new virtual environment.

We also learned a bit about how Marketers feel about continuing to attend virtual events well after the pandemic is a thing of the past.

Apparently, many seem to like it.

Here is a summary of those results directly pulled from our survey report:

One of the other changes we can expect to see when we come out of the pandemic is a reduction in the number of live trade shows and conferences being held and attended.

70%+ of marketers and 76% of agencies state they attended an average of 1-5 live trade shows and/or conferences annually, prior to the start of COVID.

It was a staple of American business life.  It was the place to find and meet new business partners.  It was the place to find new technologies.  It was the place to learn about the industry to help inform your own business.

And it was the place to meet other people.  Unfortunately not something you can easily do in a virtual environment.

Despite the lack of networking inherent in virtual events, a large number of both marketers and agencies took a run at the virtual trade show/conference world.

65% of marketers and 54% of agencies stating they had attended a virtual show during these past 9 months.

Despite the networking setbacks, the majority of marketers and agencies found enough favor in their experiences with virtual trade shows and conferences that they believe they will remain a staple when COVID has passed.

67% of marketers and 72% of agencies believe virtual shows have proven to have enough value that they will remain part of the lexicon of marketing events as we roll out of COVID this year or next.

In a recent marketing panel hosted by RSW, three senior level marketers, each operating in very different industries, talked about the value of virtual conferences.  Our panelist from Ingram Micro specifically mentioned the fact that the virtual shows they hosted as a company got significantly more people attending, which meant more customer eye balls on their business.

Check out the senior level marketer panel discussion.

So what does this all mean for you, the marketer?

If virtual shows are here to stay, then your agencies need to do a couple of things to help you get the most out of trade show experiences. One, they need to get educated on the virtual conference platforms available and have a point of view when virtual shows surface that you are interested in attending.

The other thing agencies need to do is find inventive and creative ways to help you take full advantage of virtual shows and conferences.

Simply letting you “attend” without their thinking about how to create the greatest impact and without finding ways to get more “attendees” to want to see your booth will make for a less than spectacular event.

So if you feel your agency isn’t keeping you on the cutting edge of how to best maximize the value of virtual shows…or just your business in general, drop us a line!