As we close out this unprecedented, life-altering year, it would be easy to focus on 2020’s negatives, but my goal is to take a positive tone.

For starters, it can be said that if we’re not challenged, we’re not growing. This year gave us, in our personal and professional lives, abundant opportunities for growth. Our Fixation team, in the wake of revenue loss and cancelled events, supplanted the hectic pace of our “normal” work lives with more family time, more outdoor time, more gratitude for our health, and a lot more binge watching.

We love our clients.

We can’t express strongly enough the gratitude we feel for the partnerships and relationships we have with our clients. As they pivoted and strategized to continue serving their membership bases and deliver quality virtual events, we made adjustments as well to continue delivering great service despite reduced resources. We reduced salaries and refined our processes to be as efficient as possible, and worked with our clients to keep things moving forward.

In the end, our clients pulled off some incredibly successful virtual events! More often than not, numbers exceeded expectations, platform hiccups were overcome quickly and effectively, and members and attendees seemed engaged and active as participants. We’re so proud of their successes!

We’ve all learned a lot.

Here are just a couple of the key lessons we drew from our clients’ experiences as they navigated marketing and communications this year.  

About listening to customer feedback—even if it’s unspoken.

We’ve talked a lot about the importance of communicating with transparency and authenticity during the pandemic. About using this time to live your organizational missions and be a crisis-moment resource for members and constituents and being there through thick and thin.

By way of this open communication, we can learn a lot from the response, even if it’s not a direct reply. Has our message hit home? Are we retaining members? Are people participating in and engaging with our virtual events? Are COVID-19 and other support resources being used?

Over the last ten months you’ve probably gathered more intel than you realize on the ways that you’ve filled the gap and filled a need. Take a moment at the end of the year to “listen,” and perhaps what you hear can set you on the path for 2021.  

About doing more with less.

The fear in learning to do more with less, of course, is that you won’t recoup those resources when the ship rights itself. In other words, it’s a trust fall of sorts to demonstrate productivity and efficiency with greatly diminished resources and budget. That said, the events industry has astounded me this year with the resilience our colleagues have shown and the resourcefulness of event organizers around the globe.

To quickly decide on a virtual approach, define content and experience and deliver such a wide range of events across endless industries was remarkable. And our clients did it all with a fraction of the money, time and, oftentimes, personnel, that we usually rely on to produce in-person events.

In our session at IAEE’s Expo! Expo! last week, our vice president of digital strategy, Anthony Forte, and I discussed the best ways to market events with a shrinking budget. Check out the content for some tips on narrowing channels and making the most impactful campaigns possible in a new landscape.

And that leads us back to gratitude. As we say goodbye to 2020, we know more than ever that putting people and relationships first is what matters. Despite the overwhelming losses and uncertainty, we look forward to 2021 with our clients, colleagues, friends and industry.

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