Virtual Trade Fairs: Online Events are Marketing’s Answer to the Lockdown

A few weeks ago, virtual trade fairs and other online events for businesses were considered a technical gimmick for innovators. While public life is locked down in more and more countries and B2B companies are being run from the home office, online events are the new hope of entire industries.

The pandemic is disrupting and changing B2B communications. More than anything else, every company must use and expand digital channels now.

But that no longer means just covering the usual trinity: social media, website and e-mail. Anyone who wants to make their own brand tangible in times of lockdown must offer virtual activities that can compete with conventional business events.

To support you in delivering your outstanding online event, we answer the three most common questions about the topic:

1. What are the advantages of online events for your company?

2. Which industry events can be digitised?

3. How does a virtual trade fair work?


1. What are the advantages of online events for your company?

The exploding demand for virtual fairs and online events is currently due to their planning reliability in times of trouble. However, they also offer you other advantages over conventional industry events:

Online events provide you with reliable data

If you are running a digital event, you can track which content is in high demand and how long visitors stay on the event platform. These figures are particularly valuable for your sales team.

Virtual events democratise your marketing

While conventional industry events tend to be expensive and therefore target busy decision-makers, your digital business event can be accessible to a much larger target group. Your virtual in-house exhibition, for example, can quickly become the number one topic of all your prospects’ employees. 

Virtual fairs and events make you more sustainable

Even if the current headlines are mainly about the pandemic and its Impact on economics: Climate change is still an important issue.

By digitising your business events, you set an example of sustainability because your virtual events neither cause traffic chaos, nor does it produce masses of paper and plastic waste.


2. Which industry events can be digitised?

In theory, any business event can be digitised. The challenge of digitisation is usually a matter of size and complexity:  A simple series of lectures can quickly be implemented as a webinar series – a large industry trade fair is, of course, more demanding.

However, nothing is impossible in this field: In 2019, for example, Adobe successfully invited the entire European marketing scene to the Experience Festival, where visitors could explore the Adobe brand virtually – live and simultaneously in three languages.


3. How does a virtual trade fair work?

The main actions that usually happen in exhibition halls and congress centres can happen at a virtual trade fair as well. Exclusive information can be exchanged, industry knowledge refreshed, and contact lists maintained. Therefore, two main things are needed online as offline: a room and a program.

The right place for virtual trade fairs:

Community platforms that combine various functions serve as a space for your digital event. On the one hand, they should offer streaming possibilities for keynotes, talks and product demonstrations and, on the other hand, provide chat rooms where your visitors can exchange ideas.

In addition, giveaways are also part of good manners at virtual trade fairs and events. Equipped with white papers, exclusive eBooks, or the slides of your opening keynote, a download centre offers your visitors the opportunity to take something with them.

Your online event schedule:

A well-planned program is crucial for your business event since your visitors may log in for one or two agenda points only. Punctuality is therefore of the highest importance: You cannot assume that your visitors will postpone their follow-up appointments because your event takes longer than expected. That’s why buffer times belong on your programme schedule right from the start.


A valuable channel – now and beyond

Even if digital trade fairs are primarily intended as a supplement to conventional industry events (after all, the busy trade fair atmosphere cannot be 100% digitised), they currently take a central role in corporate communications.

And as the history of successful innovations shows, what helps in a crisis will remain relevant in the aftermath.

If you are considering delivering a digital B2B-event or want to receive more information on the topic, don’t hesitate to contact Dennis Güth


This article was written by:

Dennis Güth
Account Director
BBN Germany – wobAG


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