Event Marketing: 3 things you can do instead of tradeshows

It’s the end of Q1 and your annual event marketing strategy just went out the window as tradeshows and conferences are being cancelled right and left.  Normally your event marketing plan involved several live events such as big industry tradeshows, as well as perhaps some regional seminars, conferences, and workshops. Face it, those tradeshows and conferences take up a lot of time, money and resources. We can talk about the ROI of a major tradeshow (Mobile World Congress, HIMSS, RSAC), in another post, but depending on whether you are talking about a 10×10 pop up stand or larger 40 x 60 island build out, you were looking at anywhere from $25,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars per event. For many companies, the tradeshow calendar is the core of the marketing plan.

Alternatives to Live Events

So what are your options to adjust midstream without losing momentum? Here are 3 things you can do quickly to regroup when your event marketing plans have vaporized.

  1. Podcast
  2. Webinars
  3. Social Selling


Podcasts are hot. You’ll find them on virtually every topic.

As of March 2020 there are over 900,000 podcasts and over 28 million episodes.

Source: Chartable, Nielsen, Edison Research, Midroll, Ipsos

Podcasts to take a little bit more equipment than our next topic which is webinars, but once you have a studio, the structure is a lot more approachable both for the guests and the audience. If the idea of pulling together the podcast equipment for your own studio, then offer to be a guest.

One of the podcasts that I’ve been a guest on is the Seamless Podcast, hosted in San Diego by Darin Andersen. Seamless was just voted a Top 10 Smart City Podcast.

With just a little bit of research, you’ll find several podcasts to fit your industry. Since regular podcasting requires an endless supply of guests and topics, this is something that your PR and marketing folks will love.


To put on a free webinar, you don’t need much more than a platform that lets you broadcast to a large audience and a line up of topics and presenters. Some of my favorite webinar hosting platforms are the robust standards that have tools that help with tracking, recording, and some other nice bells and whistles:




These days webinars are shorter and more agile, so think in terms of 30 minute webinars and if you use a platform like one of the ones listed, you can include polls, surveys, and Q&A to engage your audience. You can also use a radio or podcast format in webinars to keep them lively. Webinars do take structure and planning. Promote at least 4 to 6 weeks out and make sure to have a dress rehearsal.

You can also find turnkey platform such as BrightTALK that will promote your webinar to their pool of subscribers for a fee. This can be a nice way to extend your reach.

Social Selling

For readers of this blog, including Social Selling to this list should come as no surprise. If you want to get your lead goals back on track, engage your inside sales team with a spiff and ramp up your social selling program.

Related blogs:

Should Inside Sales Report to Marketing

I Stumbled Upon Your LinkedIn Profile

Social Selling is Not a Magic Potion

Post on your LinkedIn Company Page once a day. Yep, every day. It’s proven that you can gain new followers and drive traffic to your website.

Pro Tip: LinkedIn Page admins can invite direct connections to follow their page.

If you don’t already have a formal social selling program for your inside sales, account sales, customer success and marketing teams, this is the time to get that started.  Don’t just let your teams approach social selling ad hoc. That can actually do more hard than good.  Just because millennials are digital natives, doesn’t mean that their Instagram and TikTok experience translates well to LinkedIn or Twitter.  Set some guidelines and ground rules, help with curating content for them to share and making it easy for then find relevant trending topics for them to engage in.

These are some quick ways you can start to replace your event marketing program with virtual and digital connection with your audience. Reach out if you are looking for more ideas or for help putting together a social selling program.