Photo by Redd F / Unsplash

1:7 Pivoting your event business

Lee Matthew Jackson
Lee Matthew Jackson

The tectonic plates on which the events industry sits have shifted in recent weeks in a way never previously experienced. Evolution of the entire sector is inevitable, and while many gatherings have been cancelled or postponed, others have gone virtual. Now more than ever we all need community. We need the valuable education and accelerated industry developments that can only be facilitated by coming together. So, how can we pivot our event businesses to bring greater value in these critical times?

In this episode we will explore the process of pivoting and share practical ideas for you to explore further.

  • How to pivot
    • Evaluate your attendee and supporter avatars
    • Communicate with attendees and supporters
    • Explore ideas as a team
    • Validate your ideas with your audience
    • Launch your new products/services
  • Ideas
    • Repurposing archived content
    • Online courses
    • Digital networking
      • Social media
      • Regular calls
      • Masterminds
    • Virtual events


Welcome to the event Event Martech Podcast. This is your host Lee and on today’s show, let’s look at pivoting your event business. Now, the tectonic plates on which our industry sits have really shifted over the last few weeks and we’ve seen the entire sector have to change the way they operate. Some have had to cancel or postpone their events whilst others have gone virtual. I really believe that now more than ever the world needs the event industry. We are the facilitators of community. We help to educate and teach businesses. We also facilitate networking. We allow business to be done, so how can we pivot our event businesses? How can we weather this storm and continue beyond? What can we use out there in the event tech and Event Martech landscape to allow us to continue with our mission? In this episode, I want to explore the process of pivoting your event business and then share with you some practical ideas that you can evaluate.

So first, how do we pivot? Having gone through the pivot process with my businesses over the years. There’s a few things that I’ve picked up that I’d love to share, and the first would be to evaluate your avatars. That’s the avatar of your everyday attendee, your sponsors, exhibitors, your speakers, etc. Our attendees and our collaborators are too being affected by this global crisis, so understanding who our avatars are, understanding who our audience is and what their problems are, will really help us when we want to work out the best path for our pivots. It’s important to establish those avatars, those people that your event best serves because the next step will be to have conversations with those that meet your avatar description, connect with some of your attendees, connect with some of your sponsors, exhibitors, etc, and have a conversation with them. Find out from them what problems they have, what aspirations they have, how are they being impacted by the crisis, and look for ways that you believe you can help your audience.

The best way to do this would be to meet with your team and review the feedback you’ve had from your avatars. Then consider the superpowers that your events organisation has. Also consider the access to information speakers and sponsors that you also have, and then brainstorm a list of ways that you can provide solutions and products during this time that are going to add that value that is so needed. The next stage is to validate those chosen ideas. So again, have conversations with your avatars and see, is there potential, is there interest? You can do this through creating a landing page and collecting email addresses for anyone who is interested. You could reach out on social media to see if people are interested in signing up and this will help you measure the appetite for the ideas that you have. Finally, you would go ahead and plan and launch your product or service.

As a recap, we would evaluate our avatars, communicate with our attendees and supporters. We’d explore some ideas as a team. We’d validate those ideas with some selected attendees, supporters, and finally we would go ahead and launch. Now that we’ve identified the process of the pivot, let’s look at some ideas that could be options for your event organisation. We’re gonna look at five different ideas and use these as a starting point for your conversations and remember that your ideas, your solutions need to match your mission and need to match the needs and aspirations of the people that you are serving. Number one would be re-purposing your archived content. Take a look at your past content from previous events, are there any subject matters from speakers that you would be able to repurpose in a website with a paywall. Most subjects, even if five years old, are still relevant today, so it’s worth reviewing those and seeing if there is anything that you can offer for people to purchase access to and allow them the benefit of learning from those talks and applying those lessons to their businesses.

Number two would be online courses. This could be done through repurposed content, however, you have access to speakers from all of your past events as well as in your network. Can you get together and collaborate with those speakers and with those sponsors to create a range of content that would be perfect for your target audience. Something that is current, something that is actionable that will allow your audience to use the time they have available, whilst perhaps they’re in lockdown, etc. To educate themselves and to make real change in their businesses. Number three is digital networking and we recognise that getting together is essential for doing business, for building relationships, friendships for partnering with each other. So how can we facilitate networking online? Again, as an event organiser that we have access to all areas, we have relationships with the suppliers and we also have relationships with the audience so we can facilitate connections by setting up a private social media group for example, or setting up a regular group call or perhaps building some sort of online mastermind and all of these are of value.

So you could be charging for access or you could be offering this as a free service to help build your profile in the industry. For social media, you could set up a private Facebook group for Speed, although there are other services available to do this outside of the social network. For regular calls, you could be using zoom to get people together and just have a general conversation. And then for masterminds, you could be looking at getting some of your speakers on to present and provide some form of valuable information once a week or once a month. And again, you can charge for that sort of access to your attendees. And finally, number four, and perhaps the most obvious would be online virtual events, taking all of the benefits of the physical event that you can and bringing them online for people to enjoy. In episode 5 and in episode 6 we share with you first how to live stream an event.

And then in episode 6, how to run a virtual event. So if this is one of your ideas for moving on into the future or for doing something now, then be sure to check out those two episodes where we drop hints, tips and how to get it done. There are many more avenues that you could explore. So I would encourage you to go through that pivoting process, evaluate your avatars, communicate with your attendees, your speakers, sponsors, etc, explore some ideas as a team, validate those ideas and then launch the minimum viable product. If you have got some ideas that you would like to share with the events community, can I encourage you to come to come to episode 7 and in the comment section, share some of your own thoughts. If you’re getting value from this podcast, can I also encourage you to go to your podcast player of choice and leave us a five star review. If you don’t like our podcast, let’s first of all, keep that a secret from everyone else and and let us know. Come to hit the contact button and we would love to hear from you. Also in the near future, we’re going to be interviewing people from within the industry. So if you would like to be on the show, please hit that contact button on event If we don’t see you in the comments, we will see you in the next episode.

Season 1

Lee Matthew Jackson

Content creator, speaker & event organiser. #MyLifesAMusical #EventProfs