We will go, VIRTUAL!…wait, HOW?


When years pass and you haven’t written anything on your blog, maybe it is time for a regroup and refresh. Yes, that is definitely where my latest adventure in trade shows has taken me. Of course, not just me, but an entire global population and my beloved events industry! The miniscule invader known as #*!@#^&, (I will not give it the dignity of naming it on my Blog). You all know that invisible show wrecker! My heart definitely goes out to all who have suffered and lost lives over this attacker!

As an event industry professionals we have been seriously impacted, and are still in the war of safety and livelihoods. Being the toughest gypsies in the land of events, we get up and fight back! There are many societal and political things going on, but our enemy will not defeat us. We will go VIRTUAL!

Yes, darling gypsies it is time to skill-up and figure out how to keep our industries alive and keep from going insane without human interaction. Addressing the Virtual platforms has been an adventure for certain. Pitfalls of a variety of platforms who had to spin up so fast, that groups are purchasing them while they are still in development! The variety of options and connectivity is a firehose of information. For starters, determining what will work and still meet the needs of customers, attendees and purchasers and the ever needed tech support. Pricing can also be a wild ride of base+ modules and features and staffing. Due dillegence pays off in spades! Get your team together on a call before hosting representation from all aspects of your company, product marketing, sales, finance, design team. *If you are all of those like someone I know, get presentations from many and look at reviews, try to attend events they are hosting and write down, what worked well, what did not and give a review to these companies. You may need the super software platform of the world, or you might need a few web pages with some interaction capability. There are several groups, look at reviews and contact the people who used them, find out if there were any gotcha’s. Servers and bandwidth are a huge issue for all of them. So with chaos comes opportunity, virtual event developers are working round the clock and hiring like mad!

There are added elements to the Virtual platforms that are being missed. After attending too many events to count the Virtual show buzz is missing.

Fun, lightheartedness, pleasure of having some kind of connection that is visually appealing. Many groups are so concerned with getting their content out, staying on their roadmaps with product releases, and learning the new platforms; shows are falling flat.

Marketing and Sales teams have to develop together with Virtual platform managers to assure that there is more than just content videos streaming ad nauseum. Add in some pop up trivia quizzes (industry related or not) – treasure chest pop ups, pizza gift cards, coffee gift cards, happy hour networking opening night with a signature drink recipe! On the show floor people troll around for the giveaways (half the fun of shows) but are still in their professional capacity as buyers and suppliers. If you have an open to the public show, help lead generation with share giveaways for 10 friends who join in with verified registration, and you get a Unicorn (or gift of custom design, luggage tag with special 2020 Virtual design, something). Social Media us and we will give you a special event pass for such and such home concert. ( With many artists giving concerts from home, someone is surely available to perform for a select group for a much discounted price).

Nothing will replace the energy and networking that occurs in face-to-face events, I don’t care how global your reach is online. There are only so many Zoom face boxes you can see and interact with. The physical energy at any show builds and congregates when companies are showing their products. Show buzz is real, and is a physical and emotional reaction with excitement. No way to replicate online. So get creative gypsies, break out that crystal ball, it is going to take some real magic to make your event pop!

By the time we are all in the safe zone again, and go back to live shows, they are going to be magnificent. Humans need physical and social interaction, it is a necessity. The electronic visual does not exchange human energy. We need exposure to each other to build the strength to fight off all kinds of invaders, we can abide by the rules, but we also can be responsible for our own health. During our down time, reskill, prepare by getting our own health in order, keep an open mind to all the new, ask questions, and know our industry will thrive again!

Of course, this is all my personal OPINION, but hey it’s my Refreshed, blog.

Image Courtesy of Ivan Radic, Flickr Images