In some ways, the coronavirus pandemic has turned the spotlight on publishers. People are hungry for content and they have more time on their hands to consume it. But in other ways, it has been a threat – the economic uncertainty has made advertisers super cautious. And for events? In the crisis that has called time on face to face interactions, events – as we know them – have been put on ice.
That said, lots of publishers have pivoted really successfully and put their events online. Roundtables and even larger conferences have all become digital in the last few weeks. Chairing panels, expert speaker slots, audiences zooming from the comfort of their homes, running audience polls – this has all become possible in our ‘new normal.’
And in the fight against coronavirus, there are developments all the time. Physical events could well start again from the autumn, albeit with new, socially distanced previsos. In adapting to this new environment, publishers in particular (but any other business that runs regular events) need to think about how they can manage their events – whether they are digital or socially distanced – in an efficient, effective way. Technology is key to this, and CRM in particular. How so?
Integration, integration, integration: many publishers are guilty of having separate systems for the different areas of their business – subscriptions, audience management, events, advertising, finance, production, all operating in silos. But a CRM system creates one platform, one view – a single source of the truth. This makes marketing, selling and running your events much easier.
Audience insight: having granular information available on your audience is beneficial for lots of reasons – it can help you segment your customer and prospect database, so you only target relevant people for your event. It helps you to save information on delegates – specific dietary or disabled requirements for example – which can inform the way you run future events and gives you more of a professional edge.
Sales team coordination: the single point of entry for data, makes the implementation of a CRM system more than worth the effort for a sales team focused on putting bottoms on seats – or faces on Zoom – for an event. It might be data on opportunities in the pipeline, delegate sales or attendance information. It might be generating reports for the team, telling them how much revenue is being driven through different channels. CRM smooths the wheels of events sales and helps everyone involved to be more informed, adaptable and responsive.
So while the world is on pause, and you’re thinking about how you adapt your events business to the new coronavirus norm, you might have the opportunity to step back and assess what you can do to make your events business more effective, make it fly. The silver lining is that events will come back – flooding back – at some stage in the future. And social gatherings and networking will be embraced on a grand scale, although they might look a little different for a while. When events do come back, you need to make sure you’re ready to make the most of every opportunity. CRM will put you on the front foot.