Marketing 3 min read

COVID-19 Concerns: How to Handle Event Cancellations

igorstevanovic /

igorstevanovic /

Analysts at eMarketer have suggested ways to help marketers handle event cancellations due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Concerns about COVID19 has affected tons of major marketing events across the world.

These include the Game Developers Conference, Mobile World Congress, and Facebook’s F8 developer conference.

Last week, Google also had to cancel its Cloud Next conference as well as the I/O developer conference. Then two days ago, the SXSW event — the annual tech, music, and film meetup held in downtown Austin — was also canceled.

Expectedly, these cancellations come at a high cost. According to a Recode, the direct economic loss from these canceled events has exceeded $1 billion.

What’s more, businesses cannot regain the media exposure and speaking opportunities that these events present. While it would harm the marketing budgets, the canceled events could potentially have a more lasting effect on sales and revenue.

So, it becomes essential for marketers to explore ways to handle event cancellations.

3 Ways Marketers can Adapt to Event Cancellations

Here are three ways to continue engaging event attendees without an in-person engagement.

1. Go Digital

Instead of outrightly canceling their business events, a few businesses are opting for virtual conferences. For example, Google hinted that it’s I/O developer conference could be remote — maybe through Hangout.

Over the coming weeks, we will explore other ways to evolve Google I/O to best connect with our developer community,” says the company.

Now businesses must figure out how to make a massive shift.

They have to abandon an event strategy that’s months in the making for digital content or engagement. What’s more, the content must have a similar influence on the intended audience as an event would.

2. Use Direct Mail

Consider using direct mail to engage attendees. Aside from providing an option for a personal touch, direct mail pieces could also provide an opportunity for immediate response.

However, since the current outbreak affects the manufacturers in China, you may want to consider other supply chains.

3. Perform an A/B Test

The event cancellations provide a unique opportunity for marketers to perform an A/B test.

Organizations invest millions of dollars into marketing and holding events with the belief that it engages customers. But what if these in-person events are not as crucial as we presume?

So, collect all the necessary data from the current virtual conference and compare it with findings from previous events. Perhaps the cancellations don’t have as much impact as we thought.

Read More: Marketers Expect More Content-Driven Campaigns in 2020

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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