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25 Ways to Future-Proof Your Meetings and Events Firm

Futurist Scott Steinberg.

Over the past 25 years, has worked with dozens of event planning companies, hundreds of Fortune 500 brands and thousands of executive leaders to design winning business strategies and innovative marketing campaigns.  

So while COVID-19 may have disrupted the meetings and events industry, and temporarily upended the field of conference planning, it doesn’t have to be a showstopper for your organization. As we’ve explained across numerous keynote speeches and books like Think Like a Futurist, there are many ways to monetize the business of event planning—and many ways to differentiate yourself and stay ahead of the curve.  

Following, you’ll find 25 creative ways that you can capitalize on staff members’ unique insights or partner with subject matter experts to redesign meeting programs, expand or get more from featured event content—and keep business coming in the door.

Trade secret: The more creative and unique your offerings, the better-positioned to weather the transition to online, digital and hybrid solutions you’ll be. 

[Related: 7 Clever Ways to Market and Promote Your Virtual Event]

How to Maximize Your Event Content 

  1. Virtual Presentations, Roundtables and Interviews: Invitation-only online events including meet-and-greets with well-known personalities, live-streamed courses/classes (e.g. cooking, storytelling, leadership, branding, etc.), virtual fireside chats, executive roundtables and more. 

  1. Market Research and Trend Reports: Surveys, polls, focus groups and business intelligence on industries and market segments of note. 

  1. Scenario Planning: Strategy planning and ideation sessions with executive teams. 

  1. Think Tanks: Curated panels and group discussions featuring leading minds in any given field. 

  1. Content Marketing: Branded articles, blog posts, eBooks, whitepapers and other creative works by famed industry pros. 

  1. Custom Publishing: Sponsored publications, websites and audio or video programs starring top experts. 

  1. Video Hosting: Hosting, emceeing, and moderation of video programming, e.g., internal communications videos or public service announcements (PSAs). 

  1. Satellite Media or Radio Tours: Sponsored TV or radio news packages featuring leading brands. 

  1. Corporate Training and Development: Sale of training programs and instructional courses. 

  1. Curated Tracks and Symposiums: Custom-themed events (or event tracks within larger conferences), meetings and summits designed and produced in partnership with sponsors. 

  1.  Workbooks and Training Guides: Distillation of expert knowledge into training manuals, guidebooks and other educational materials. 

  1.  Rebranding and Repositioning: Repackaging of existing content resources to focus on and offer more in-depth insight for specific verticals, i.e., repurposing a social media sales guide for use by attorneys, accountants, real estate agents, etc. 

  1.  Celebrity Appearances: Cameos by well-known personalities at online gatherings, participation in virtual events and appearances in partnership with media and press announcements. 

  1.  Bylined Posts: Sponsored placements and commentary on leading social networks or industry websites and publications. 

  1.  Outside and Non-Executive Directorships: Sourcing of external directorship and advisory work by subject matter experts who are tasked to serve on a company’s board of directors. 

  1.  Executive Coaching: Mentorship and instruction in business from today’s most well-known personalities. 

  1.  Product Endorsements: Collaborations and co-signs with leading consumer or business-to-business providers. 

  1.  Promotional Giveaways: Books, tip sheets, training programs and other offerings on trending topics (artificial intelligence, digital transformation, content marketing, etc.) brought to audiences in partnership with thought leaders. 

  1.  Certification: Custom educational programs that offer official recognition of achievement in specific areas of study. 

  1.  Virtual One-on-Ones: Allowing individuals to gift 30- or 60-minute one-on-one training sessions with subject matter experts to partners and clients. 

  1.  Digital Meet-and-Greets: Online chats, question-and-answer sessions, fireside conversations, networking events and more starring noted authors and personalities. 

  1.  Limited-Edition Works: Sale of limited-edition, director’s cut and autographed copies of new books or creative works, some of which may contain expanded sections and materials. 

  1.  Membership Services: Creating and maintaining members-only communities and/or subscription-based solutions inspired by leading speakers and topics of interest. 

  1.  Authorship Solutions: Offering book development, design and publishing solutions, allowing speakers to translate their talks into print and online mediums. 

  1.  Behind-the-Scenes Access: Providing unique opportunities for superfans to enjoy one-of-a-kind access to, and time with, their favorite celebrities and industry rock stars, and/or chances to be included in their latest upcoming works. 

As you can see, there are many ways to adapt and innovate around COVID-19, and restructure your content offerings and solutions to speak to a host of new event types and formats.  The key is simply to routinely experiment with new approaches, and reconsider where you might help clients add value.  

Event planners would do well to remember that not only are they experts at crafting eye-catching content of all types, they also enjoy unprecedented access to many of today's most well-known thought leaders—relationships that they can capitalize on to provide all manner of new and innovative programs and products that are sure to leave audiences raving.

Download Our Free eHandbook: A Hybrid Meetings How-To


About the Author

Scott Steinberg
Award-winning professional speaker and business strategist Scott Steinberg is among today’s best-known trends experts and futurists, and the bestselling author of Think Like a FuturistMake Change Work for You: 10 Ways to Future-Proof Yourself, Fearlessly Innovate, and Succeed Despite Uncertainty; and Millennial Marketing: Bridging the Generation Gap. The president and CEO of BIZDEV: The International Association for Business Development and Strategic Partnerships™, his website is