We certainly live in interesting times! Just two weeks ago, who would have thought that global stock markets would retreat more than 20% from record highs, travel bans would be put in place between the USA and Europe, major sports events would be held in empty stadiums and toilet paper might become more precious than gold?
As serious a threat as COVID-19 presents, it is the fear surrounding it that has so many acting irrationally. And it is this fear that is causing disruption to exhibitions, conferences, sporting events, concerts and other mass gatherings.
Here in Australia, these disruptions have been few, but they will continue to build over coming weeks. And whilst the disruption will end at some point, none of us are sure when that will be.
But just like many other disruptions over our 35 years, this too will end! The question is, what do we do now, especially when we’re not certain if our events will go ahead or they’ve already been cancelled or postponed?
The answer isn’t an easy one but I know the answer isn’t to “do nothing”. Being passive opens the opportunity for your opposition to occupy territory you have previously been able to claim.
Rather than look at what’s been cancelled or postponed, look to what you can do to replace these.
- Roadshows and private or internal events to small groups (normally under 100) are a great way to touch base with your key clients and prospects. These allow you exclusive access to these contacts and help you to build relationships and share what’s new.
- Enhancing your workplace branding especially reception and meeting rooms with wall and glass graphics, lightboxes and other fixtures won’t just impress your visitors, it will also lift the morale of your own staff.
- Reallocating at least some of your cancelled show budget to these as well as your other marketing channels will help to keep your brand in front of your clients and prospects.
- Booking events that you might not have typically attended in the past but are still a few months out is another strategy to get you back in front of clients quickly once the wave of panic subsides.
- And finally, whether you’ll be doing roadshows, private or in-house events or choosing shows that are a few months out, make sure you have display assets ready for whatever opportunities arise.
So, instead of just pulling back until uncertainty wanes and panic subsides, take the time now to work through what your “Plan B” is and then put it into action. By doing this, you’ll not only recover more quickly, but you’re also likely to take some ground off your opposition who are taking a more passive approach.