The Future of Marketing Events in the Age of COVID-19

Events have always been a double-edged sword for marketers: They yield the greatest number of leads, but they’re also incredibly expensive and time-consuming. Now, they face an uncertain future.

We have to consider what tradeshows and conferences might look like in the months and maybe years ahead—and whether they’re still worth the time and money for marketers, as attendees or exhibitors.

It’s likely that any events during the rest of this year will be smaller with fewer attendees because of social distancing and travel restrictions, and that could continue well into 2021 and beyond. Cities and states are capping, and will likely continue to cap, larger gatherings.

Remaining profitable while scaling down will be a challenge.

Producing a small event can require just as much planning and execution as producing a huge, multiday event; so, considering the added costs and complexities, some organizations may choose to host fewer in-person offerings (or skip them altogether) in the near term and instead look for purely virtual opportunities to engage their audiences.

The challenge for events in 2020 is how they can remain profitable while keeping the best interests of the industry they serve—and the safety of speakers, sponsors, and attendees—at the forefront.

Hybrid Events

Events may soon have both in-person and remote audiences and speakers. And considering the safety guidelines in place, there will be far more considerations for onsite venues than ever before.