With widespread cancellation of technology events across the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, exhibitors and event hosts can fill lead generation gaps using alternative strategies, global market research firm Gartner said on Tuesday.
Contingency plans will minimise the business impact of cancelled or postponed events and enable organisations to overcome associated disruptions due to coronavirus, it added.
Starting with the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona which was scheduled to be held in late February, most major technology events of this year have either been cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic.
"Due to the uncertainty surrounding the current event and travel environment, contingency plans are necessary for the foreseeable future," Christy Uher Ferguson, Senior Research Director at Gartner, said in a statement.
"Organisations with these plans in place are less likely to experience disruptions to their brand awareness, demand generation and product launch efforts, even if strategic events are cancelled or postponed," Ferguson added.
Spending in 2019
According to the Gartner '2019 Product Marketing Benchmarks Survey' last year, technology and service providers reported spending an average of 11 per cent of their marketing budget on third-party trade shows.
Exhibitor organisations must be prepared to quickly pivot marketing strategies and reallocate this budget in the case of an event cancellation or postponement.
"Within 24 hours of the cancellation, marketing teams should activate their sales representatives to reach buyers and reschedule meetings that were to take place at the event," Ferguson said.
"Then, supplement event marketing plans with content campaigns, programmatic advertising and webinar marketing to help fill lead generation gaps and minimise disruptions," she added.
"Taken together, these strategies will ensure a potential cancellation does not dramatically impact funnel metrics."
Organisations that are planning to host an event should also develop a contingency plan to prepare for a potential cancellation or postponement.
"Early outreach to attendees and exhibitors is critical in deciding whether to cancel or postpone an event," Ferguson said.
"Ask exhibitors and attendees if their plans have changed and determine whether travel restrictions could severely impact attendance," she added.