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Virtual Exhibits Are No Longer Effective

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Informational/educational and those that tried to replicate a tradeshow floor with virtual exhibitors are the two categories that virtual corporate events have fallen into during the pandemic. Of the two categories, educational programming gets a higher number of attendees. When trade show sponsors talk about a hybrid approach to future events, they mostly mention the educational component that the virtual attendees will experience.

Publisher of Airport Improvement Magazine, Paul Bowers, stated that after experiencing both virtual exhibit halls and virtual conferences during the pandemic, he is convinced that virtual exhibit halls do not work, and virtual conferences can effectively substitute for learning in person.

“Virtual trade show substitutes weren’t a complete waste, but I’d be hard-pressed to ever exhibit at one again,” Bowers said. “There is no return on my investment. On one I participated in, I paid the same amount that I pay for the in-person conference, and it was a waste of money. The seminar part can be done well virtually. I’ll spend money to send our editor to attend a virtual conference, but I won’t spend to exhibit virtually.”

 

Program sponsors and attendees share the sentiment that hybrid events are two separate events- one for the audience attending physically, and one for those attending virtually. Those who stage these hybrid events state that there needs to be a more seamless connection between the two groups. Doing so creates a better value proposition for both audiences, said Kathryn Frankson, director of event marketing for Informa, a British publishing, business intelligence and exhibitions group.

“If they realize, ‘I can get a level of education I was receiving online,’ then you have to think about what you are offering for more immersive experiences for networking and education that isn’t just speakers talking to audiences,” Frankson told David Bain, host of Digital Marketing Radio. “You have to find a new story to tell because it’s harder to get audiences to book travel, justify the budget…It starts with defining what that new product is and then you start to work backwards from there with your messaging.”

Source: https://salesandmarketing.com/virtual-exhibits-lose-effectiveness/

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