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VEI Alumni Stories: Chris Lee, Informa

In this month’s Alumni Stories, we speak to Chris Lee, managing director of Vitafoods, Informa Markets, for his top tips on delivering digitalized events, plus his review of VEI’s Certification Program, which he recently completed.


Chris Lee, Informa

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE COURSE?


I was in the original pilot scheme to assess if a partnership with VEI would be a good investment for Informa. I completed, assessed, added comments, and suggested potential questions for the development of the course and modules. I was attracted to the course for the importance of reinventing our legacy event offerings to smart events in the future.


WHAT DID YOU FIND USEFUL IN THE COURSE?


The education for all stakeholders in a team and being able to learn more about how your primary function needs to evolve.


Additionally, having the opportunity to look at what other team members will need to focus on to close vital skill gaps for our accelerated digital vision was critical.


It was also a great opportunity to understand the emphasis on the need to reset, reflect and recreate for new models in the future. Long gone is rinse and repeat. Having my team use the practical worksheets to create new possibilities, ideas, and strategies, has proved very useful, too.


WHAT WERE YOUR FAVORITE MODULES AND WHY?


I enjoyed the ‘Building Your Online Event Community’ module, due to the importance of digital data management and engagement outside of physical events. Also, the emphasis on a community manager and how we shape that role for the future will be critical for understanding buy-side and sell-side behavior and experience.


HOW HAS THE PROGRAM HELPED YOU?


The program has helped the team and I pause, reset and rethink everything we knew. It has provoked thought to abandon legacy thinking and helped to innovate and challenge formats and structures. It has also identified the importance of continued internal and external education for digital engagement products.


HOW HAVE YOU USED THIS NEW KNOWLEDGE SO FAR?


It is our target to have all colleagues trained through the VEI Program. We have organized two digital events this year so far and have applied the learnings to our content programs, audience engagement strategies, commercializing the value proposition, improving better execution during the event itself, and, importantly, measuring the level of success post-

event.


WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TIPS FOR DELIVERING DIGITALIZED EVENTS?


Invest and train your staff. Upskill them now for your future digital demands. Create new digital, data, and community roles to close skillset gaps or needs for structural change. Be honest about where a new hire needs to be and what roles you can transition.


Never stop educating your customer on the value of digital and data.


Do not follow the crowds when it comes to selecting a platform partner. Customize that for your market and customer and be sure that your chosen supplier will develop a product platform with you as a partner for the best possible user experience.


Also, broadcast your content at the right time and in the right way for it to be consumed at the optimal time and by the right people.


Do not lose all of the serendipity when you produce a digital event – consider the wellbeing of your audience and make it fun.



This article originally appeared in The Fix, VEI's new monthly newsletter. For more exclusive features, case studies, and interviews on virtual and hybrid events, check it out here.


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