How Forbes, Bloomberg adapted their events biz during the pandemic
Sara Guaglione examined how business media publishers coped with the pandemic’s impact on their events business.
Guaglione writes, “Forbes says virtual events have allowed the brand to reach more people and drive deeper engagement with its audience. In the second half of 2020, Forbes held 66 events that reached over 50,000 registrants from 188 different countries. Last year was the eighth annual Women’s Summit, which usually hosts up to 500 people. The event pivoted to a free, virtual experience, and 23,000 women registered to attend.
“‘It was not just a pivot. We invented a new business, which we fundamentally think is here to stay,’ said Jessica Sibley, CRO at Forbes.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, virtual events had ‘a very negative connotation,’ said Patrick Garrigan, global head of Bloomberg Live. The team’s first hurdle was to tell sponsors and partners to “bear with us,” and get on board with the idea of virtual events.
“‘Audiences change, and they were willing to accept this as a meaningful way to connect at this moment,’ Garrigan said.
“Once the company had a couple of events under its belt though, Bloomberg sold all of its 2020 events inventory by July. ‘We exceeded our projections in virtual events by nearly 2X,’ he said, without giving exact figures.”
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