Research by Gartner has found that contingency plans will allow businesses to overcome event cancellations and postponements due to COVID-19

Putting a contingency plan in place has been highly recommended by Gartner.

The 2019 Gartner Product Marketing Benchmarks Survey ranks events as the top means of marketing, so organisers will now need to look to alternative strategies in response to event cancellations and postponements.

The survey also found that 6% of tech and service provider marketing budgets go towards hosted events, and Gartner have stated that companies need to have a contingency plan in order to minimise impact of disruption.

“Due to the uncertainty surrounding the current event and travel environment, contingency plans are necessary for the foreseeable future,” said Christy Uher Ferguson, senior research director at Gartner.

“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.

“Early outreach to attendees and exhibitors is critical in deciding whether to cancel or postpone an event. Ask exhibitors and attendees if their plans have changed and determine whether travel restrictions could severely impact attendance.”

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Also recommended by Gartner to limit impact of event cancellations and postponements is to reallocate budget for third-party tradeshows towards other marketing strategies.

11% of budgets among tech and service providers go towards third-party tradeshows, according to the Gartner study.

“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,” said Ferguson. “Then, supplement event marketing plans with content campaigns, programmatic advertising and webinar marketing to help fill lead generation gaps and minimise disruptions.

“Taken together, these strategies will ensure a potential cancellation does not dramatically impact funnel metrics.”

Thirdly, Gartner has stated that frequent communication and flexibility with registrants and IT counterparts also holds high importance when it comes to limiting the impact of event disruption.

Ferguson continued: “With the COVID-19 situation rapidly evolving, create a team of senior-level stakeholders that can monitor the latest developments and make timely, informed decisions regarding events.

“Consider alternative options in place of a physical event, such as a virtual event or webinar.”

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