2020 has already been the year of many firsts. In many ways the changes have been so big, it’s hard to find the words to describe the impacts of the shifts. In Marketing, where I spend my days, nearly nothing we anticipated in January has gone as planned. From the tradeshows that were canceled to the in–person events and campaigns that have been indefinitely postponed, everything has been a bit of a trip into the unknown.
Like other organizations, we have found new ways to connect with people; including virtual tradeshows and online user events. It is those events that have resulted in one of the biggest surprises for me. The capacity for shared connections online to meet and go beyond our in-person activities. As a result, as much as I am looking forward to things returning to safe normalcy and chances to meet again, there is one silver lining of this year that I am profoundly grateful for. It is one which I hope lasts. 2020 was the year I became friends with our customers and prospects.
2020 has been Special
It’s not that I have not interacted with customers and prospects over the years. There are always familiar faces at events, inquiries by e-mail, and cheerful greetings as we welcome people to events but we marketers are always the ones that need to leave just when things get interesting. There are details to manage. There are social media updates to post, and the next day at the show to get ready for.
Thanks to the pandemic, this year instead of fading into the woodwork, as we expand our virtual events, I am now one of the gang. At webinars and roundtables on virtual events, I’ve had the chance to put faces to names, and to hear the stories about what’s working and what is not. Everyone is so smart, so kind and funny, and so committed to what they are doing, It’s humbling to hear how organizations and individuals are rising to the challenges that surround us.
Follow-up emails blossom into conversations where I hear not just that they need the slides or the event recording, but why the session resonated and how the exchange helped them. It’s been awesome.
My theory is (perhaps a bit counterintuitively), that virtual events bring out our humanity, just a little bit more. We see each other’s faces (without masks). We are linking in from our homes, where pets and kids are part of the equation. Further, we are all at the mercy of good Internet and audio connections. Additionally, unflattering video cameras making us all a little more fallible; a little more human. Every online session feels like we really are all in this together.
Looking ahead to 2021, while many things may start to return to normal, I believe expanded virtual events are likely here to stay. For one thing the online communities we are building will be just as valuable as we rise to our next challenges, for another, I really like hanging out with all of you.
I can’t wait to see you again. See all of Mindset’s upcoming events HERE.
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