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A look into 2021: Reintroducing physical events with Chris Wickson

With the vaccine roll-out underway, Kavita Singh spoke with Chris Wickson, general manager, EMEA at Integrate, about what 2021 might have in store for physical, hybrid and virtual events.

Reintroducing physical events

Physical events are what most companies are familiar with, so it makes sense that they might be itching to get back to them – especially with the vaccine now being administered.

In August 2020, Integrate conducted a research study with 500 senior B2B marketers across the US and UK to uncover the impact of coronavirus on event strategies this year and how this will shape 2021 plans.

80% of B2B marketers were expected to run or participate in hybrid events in 2021. Of the 80% of marketers, 32% suggest they’ll return in Q1, with another 29% in Q2. Chris Wickson says they're currently living in a particularly fast-paced environment as he reflects on some of the results.

He says: “The thing that stuck out to me was that there was a real confidence when in-person events would be returning. People were by predicting Q4, but we also had a significant number of people predicting Q1 and Q2 for 2021. I think the reality is that it’s pointing toward the second half of this year from safely being able to get back to in-person.”

So how do we re-introduce them, and what can we do in the meantime?

Chris mentions that there are events happening in other parts of the world, such as the US and Asia, and they are setting the precedent for safely running physical events.

Chris says: “I think there will be a lot of waiting, watching to see what the big organisers do seeing how other people are tackling it, and learning much like in 2020 with virtual events – which is looking around and seeing what other people are doing for what works and what doesn’t work.”