Why Would you Attend an In-Person Event Post-COVID?
Before the pandemic, most events took place in person and followed a clear structure. Then, the sudden outbreak of COVID forced companies to think outside the box and be creative in order to survive. Like businesses in other industries, events companies turned to the digital space, using various online platforms to stream their events.
Now that nearly three years have passed since COVID was declared a global pandemic, in-person events and conferences have finally returned. However, companies cannot resume where they left off in 2020 and follow the blueprint of a pre-COVID event. Discussing this, Zendesk’s EMEA Marketing Director Marina Snegirjova posed a thought-provoking question in her 2022 Marketing Engagement Summit presentation:
“Why would people show up? Where information is available online, where any inspirational speaker is giving their talk over YouTube, why would people show up in the room?”
Answering this question, Marina pointed to human connection and experience.
IN A POST-COVID WORLD, EVENTS MUST FOCUS ON EXPERIENCE
In her presentation, Marina shared how Zendesk reimagined its first in-person event post-COVID by focusing on its physicality; that is, the event had to offer more than just a speaker who, Marina noted, might as well be a “talking head on Zoom”.
For this reason, Zendesk’s 2022 conference offered more than talks and presentations. Taking a case in point, the company hired the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, turning its event into a museum experience for attendees. Similarly, it hired an empty space for its London event, transforming it into an art gallery focused on customer experience.
Using the skills it developed during COVID, Zendesk streamed part of the San Francisco experiences to London and vice versa. In addition, it streamed the event online. In this way, it attracted a total of around 32,000 people.
MAKE YOUR INVESTMENT STRETCH
Marina concluded her presentation by summarizing the lessons Zendesk learned and offering tips to fellow marketers. Noting that it is extremely expensive to organize an event, Marina advised her audience to make their investments stretch. Giving a few examples of how to do so, she pointed to recording presentations, creating on-demand webinars, and short video series.
Watch the full presentation and learn more about running events post-COVID below: