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Starting an International Virtual Event from Scratch

  1. Starting an International Virtual Event from Scratch

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    TMD is always up for a challenge. When we were invited to help Farm Journal plan and market a new event called the Sustainable Produce Summit, we were thrilled. We had helped develop numerous live events from the ground up before and thought we would use our tried and true formula that had launched many a successful show in the past. Little did we know, 2020 had other plans!

    What we had intended to be a live event, quickly became a question mark while I was meeting with the great people at Farm Journal mid March in Kansas City. Once we were unsure, we had to immediately initiate a back-up plan, AKA a virtual event. As this was all happening fairly early on during the COVID crisis, a lot of live events were converting to the online world. We watched and participated in as many as we could. We picked up what we liked about the ones we attended, leaving behind what didn’t work, while trying to envision any technical issues that could occur. Once it became clear we couldn’t hold a live event, we put all of our attention to a virtual one.

    In some ways, as I am sure you have found if you have worked on a virtual event, it can seem to be more difficult to get people to commit and attend a virtual event than it can for a live event. Because of the natural networking value that live events have, you need to really focus on providing value on an individual level. This means finding topics, speakers, and formats that PET—Provoke, Educate, and are Timely.

    To that end, TMD assisted in the educational strategy, secured some well known speakers, developed a digital and print creative strategy that captured the essence of these characteristics. From email campaigns, to digital graphics, social media content to print ads, and everything in between, TMD created an aesthetic that had people not only signing up, but consistently engaging the streamed content from start to finish of the event.

    Key Metrics include:

    • Most sessions included several hundred people
    • The top session had 350 live viewers
    • People from 6 different continents participated
    • Well over 3,000 participants
    • Nearly 75% of people participated at least 2 hours in the event
    • The virtual booths had nearly 2,000 visitors

    “We couldn’t have been this successful without you and your team. We really appreciate our relationship with you and your team at TMD Creative,” said Matt Morgan, Executive Vice President, Produce (Farm Journal)

    Clearly, the first year of the Sustainable Product Summit was a hit by all of our metrics. We look forward to helping with a live event next year, and growing this event to be best in class. We had a wonderful experience working with the team at Farm Journal and can’t wait to make the 2nd Annual Sustainable Produce Summit even better!