Experiential Marketing: Making Giant Strides Despite the Lockdown

Variety's Chief Marketing Officer, Dea Lawrence shares some thoughts on the steps behind the success story despite the recent lockdown

Variety Streaming Room has existed for over a hundred years and typically organises around 70 live events each year. The events range from its annual marketing summit in March to its Power of Women luncheon that encourages members of the entertainment industry to network and hear from leading industry voices.

With in-person events coming to a near standstill, Variety was now faced with a tough choice:- cancel all events and wait endlessly or find a way to go virtual. The company opted to lean into the virtual space. The result showed they made a good choice.

What is the insight that helped them navigated to success despite the global pandemic? Variety's Chief Marketing Officer, Dea Lawrence shares some thoughts on the step behind this success story.

The company created a team of eight people to dig out the nitty-gritty of virtual events production and events marketing execution. The team also began vetting platforms to determine the best way to host virtual events. Then the organisation unveiled the Variety Streaming Room- a branded series of virtual events and held its first instalment, titled “The Entertainment Industry & Navigating COVID-19,” early April. Since then, they have not looked back.

From the peak of the lockdown till last month, September, when they opted to lean more into the virtual space, they have handled more than 60 online events, with some attendance beating pre-pandemic numbers at in-person events.

Part of Variety’s success in the virtual event world was due to her staff’s eagerness to embrace sudden change.

According to DeaWe wanted to be the first so we started pitching all of the advertisers immediately, and every one said to us, ‘You’re the very first one that’s talking to us so we will try you on this.'"

In most of Variety’s virtual events during the pandemic, the figure averaged 43 per cent attendance and some went as high as 50 or 60 per cent. She attributed varying attendance numbers to the quality of speakers involved in each event.

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