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Why you need to be mindful of the 80s when planning your next event

When I was about 9 years old, a long time ago, I can still remember my double period history lessons at school as a time in my life when I was able to daydream about one day playing football for England and scoring the winning goal in the World Cup final.

The lesson consisted of the following.

Turn up, sit down, don’t speak, take out pencil and writing book.

Teacher arrives, mutters something inaudible and then proceeds to handwrite hundreds of words, in chalk, on a blackboard (yes this was the 80s).

Mine and my other classmates’ involvement in this tediously long lesson was to simply copy down everything written on the board in the vain hope that it might stick in our brains come exam time.

I got a D in History.

And I never played for England.

So why did I daydream in those lessons and why did I fail miserably in the exam?

I wasn’t engaged.

It can’t be blamed on the content; history is interesting right?

It must have been in the way the content was presented.

Or the opportunities for me to question, understand and interact with what was being presented.

Or more likely, both.

Let’s fast forward a number of years to present day.

The world of face to face events has had to pause whilst we find a way to shepherd out coronavirus.

So a lot of marketers and event organisers have made the switch to online events.

Webinars, virtual, hybrid events, broadcast tv have all passed our eyeballs over the last four months.

And we are all still learning in this great online adventure experiment.

The opportunities to reach a far wider audience are immense.

The opportunity to create visually stunning backdrops and scenarios is fantastic.

But we must be careful that our audience don’t feel like they are sitting in a classroom from the 80s.

With the advent of virtual and online events we must ensure that we are considering each individual attendee touchpoint and creating an experience that will keep them engaged throughout the event duration…and when I say duration I mean before, during and after.

When f2f (face to face) events were happening, and they were free to attend, the attendance ratio was around 65%-70% (by this I mean if 100 people registered, 65-70 turned up on the day).

Initial statistics around free online events is that the ratio sits between 28%-35%.

So how do we raise or increase the ‘no show’ rate of online events: through engagement.

Start thinking about your content – what messages do you want to get across and your audience want to hear?

How will you engage with your attendees?

Then what tactic works best to achieve the desired outcomes?

Before, during and after the event.

And consider how you are going to measure success.

Through movement or absolutes?

Plan strategically, then look at the tactics.

Engagement works for everyone involved.

For marketers it increases opportunities to build relationships longer term.

For attendees it increases understanding and builds brand loyalty.

Welcome to Engagement Marketing…the use of strategic, resourceful content to engage people and create meaningful interactions over time.

Our agency has an A grade in this.

If you would like to discuss your marketing event plans, whether online, virtual or face to face, in a free 60 minute consultation, contact or


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