Exhibition News September 2022 | Page 15


How much digital does your event need ?

Collingwood Advisory hosted a webinar to establish how much digital events need . Collingwood VP North America Debra Chipma joined CEO of IMEX Carina Bauer and Jessica Natinsky , chief strategy officer at Hyve Group , for the discussion chaired by Collingwood Advisory senior adviser Darren Johnson

Digital components will remain a key part of events businesses , but as a way of enhancing live events , the wbinar hosted by Collingwood Advisory concluded .

Entrepreneur Debra Chipman has been a founder , buyer and seller of events and now sees growing demand for digital .
She said : “ A lot of people are asking about getting into digital . What they really need to do is think about how they are going to strategically add value to their business and what it ’ s going to mean for them in terms of staffing and setting it up .
“ It ’ s one thing to say ‘ I want to become digital ’, it ’ s a whole other thing to implement that . I think people really need to think about what their clients and their audience want .”
Discussion centred around pent-up demand for live events , but some lessons from the pivot to digital will be carried forward . Return on investment was key to value , but could also help build communities , they said .
Hybrid strategy The need for a hybrid strategy , not hybrid events was clear with digital having a place in event businesses , whether as a monetisable product or to create stronger market engagement .
Chipman said : “ I think people are looking at hybrid strategies throughout the year and then being able to follow up at in-person events .”
In terms of monetising digital , Chipman warned events organisers should take a cautious approach .
She said : “ With digital and especially with communities , start free just to get people engaged so that they ’ re participating in your community , and then you can monetise that over time . If you try to monetise it from day one , you do yourself a disservice in trying to build an actual engaged community .”
Chief strategy officer at Hyve Group Jessica Natinsky added that their online meetings program was able to show results . “ When there ’ s a clear takeaway and an ROI for them , then you should be charging ,” she said .
Communities IMEX CEO Carina Bauer stressed how digitisation could benefit communities but only when communities had clear purpose .
“ Just being in the same industry isn ’ t enough ,” she said . “ I don ’ t think by just putting on digital events you create a community . Really successful communities have a true purpose and that ’ s very important .”
Sponsors Digital advances have also changed the role of sponsors . After having access to unprecedented amounts of campaign data during the pandemic , sponsors are seeking more granularity .
Sponsors “ became more sophisticated ” and their expectations shifted , Bauer said . Now the impact of sponsorship now “ needs to be really visible ”.
Conclusions Summing up Darren Johnson concluded : “ It ’ s noteworthy that of the first two deals that Collingwood put through this year , both had over 40 % of non-event revenue components associated with them . I think without a doubt businesses that are seen as having a significant or a growing part of their value delivery being associated with digital have an increased resilience to any disruption that may occur within the events market .” EN
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