Post-Pandemic Event Checklist: Audience-Centric Innovation and Messaging

The COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions and new practices of the ensuing blockade have left an indelible mark on many industries, and events are no exception, whether online, in the real world, or as a hybrid of both.

As the demand for virtual/hybrid opportunities grows, we need to think about how we define our approach, focus on who our audience really is, and then use these insights to design the results and content of our event. Recalibrating how you evaluate event goals makes a difference, creating experiences for participants that drive engagement, impact, legacy, and behavioral change.

What this means

Since the beginning of the COVID blockade, we have switched from entirely virtual connections – which cannot have physical contact with anyone outside our homes – to a gradual reduction of restrictions with distance measures that still exist. However, as some sectors still need to open up for business (and the undeniable number of pandemics in the travel and hospitality sector), creating personalized events should move away from a one-size-fits-all approach.

By thinking sideways about the implications of the latest government guidelines – as well as the social implications of reopening business sectors for sectors that are not – we can reverse planning opportunities to find ways to innovate in physical events and virtual spaces.

On hold

The current period of tacit reflection will be followed by a series of activities and concerns about how to stay in a post-pandemic climate that has not yet returned to normal. Key stakeholders in the organizations will turn to the event organizers and ask, “What should we do and how can we do it?”

Identifying people in advance can help you understand your delegates’ experiences, behaviors, goals, and needs. Doing this in conjunction with audience segmentation is a powerful goal to apply to the design of your event (see the checklist elsewhere in this article).

If you want to innovate with our new reality as a context, think of ways to create new forms of engagement, for example, by presenting digital content that launches in days, pre-recorded music or conferences, and live round tables. Create an engaging experience for the visitor, planning events to bring people together, even from different places in the world.

Checklist for Opportunities

  1. Identify people

The best way to identify attractive people is to think of real people. Consider:

  • Who they are, where they come from, and what kind of work they do
  • What has changed since the blockade and how has it affected your perception – of the world as a whole and your company?
  • What communication preferences, if any, come from the block that can affect how you engage them before, during, and after the event
  • What are your goals?
  • What are your goals for their participation in your event?
  • What are the challenges you see: obstacles that can prevent these goals from being achieved?
  1. Apply auditory segmentation

Typical marketing segmentation techniques can be included in personal mapping. The design generally includes four main categories:

  • Demographic data: age, race, gender, ethnicity, marital status, income, education, and type of employment, for example.
  • Psychographic: values, desires, goals, interests and life options
  • Behavior: the experience of the last event and the feedback they gave, for example
  • Geographic: the breadth of regions and culture among the participants, the variety of cultural/social climates that you will encounter, and the estimated percentage divided by the total population of the event
  1. Determine the results of your event and encourage behavioral change

Get a detailed picture of whom you heard and define your goals and messages from the broader context of your answers to the questions in steps 1 and 2. Divide them into groups based on what you want the main findings to be.