In this week's Alumni Stories, we speak to Mark Gordon, who joined ExpoPlatform after completing the Virtual Events Institute's (VEI) Certification Program. Read his review of the training course, plus his top tips on delivering digitized events.
What is your background?
I have worked in the media industry for more than 24 years across a variety of different disciplines – events, publishing, online, and now tech.
My background originally was in advertising sales but this evolved over my time with big companies such as Haymarket Media Group, UBM, and Media 10 to running large-scale exhibitions.
Previously, I was event director of a portfolio of events at Informa and now, as of April 2021, I have been working at event tech company, ExpoPlatform.
What attracted you to the course?
Last year, along with most people in the industry, I saw my exhibitions pivot to the virtual world and I’m delighted to say they were a huge success. Luckily for me, I was already a huge fan of virtual events. In fact, I organized my first such event in 2011, so I was genuinely excited to embrace this brave new-ish world.
Organizing these events gave me a real thirst for finding out more about the new possibilities open to our industry and I found myself on a mission to attend as many webinars and virtual events as possible that explored this world. For me, the VEI course ticked so many boxes that I had to enroll.
I thoroughly enjoyed the course and have already found it incredibly useful. Being able to complete it at your own pace was extremely convenient, too.
My favorite modules were definitely ‘How to build your event community online’ and ‘An introduction to hybrid events’. Both of these address directly the two main new areas that event organizers can use to break new ground and increase their show’s relevance within the communities they serve.
How has the program helped you?
The program has helped me to become even more confident in working in the virtual and hybrid space. I was already excited to embrace this new world but the course brought together all the knowledge I had accumulated and also filled any blind spots I may have had.
Since completing the program, I have already consulted on numerous projects with a wide variety of different types of organizers through my own company, Mayflower Events. It has also enabled me to get a new job at ExpoPlatform where I get to discuss hybrid and virtual events with some of the biggest organizers in the world all day, every day.
What are your top tips on organizing hybrid and virtual events?
Two things come to mind. Firstly, you don’t have to be confined to just the 2-3 days of your event anymore. Every community for every event has a constant need to network and communicate with each other. Yes, our events are normally the largest opportunity for them to do this, but why not look at how you can help the rest of the year.
The hybrid and virtual world can help you give your visitors/exhibitors/sponsors a much more enhanced offering, which will result in building the size of your community. This is great for your marketing teams. It will also increase revenue opportunities, which is great for your finance director.
Secondly, don’t let the tech platform you use dictate what type of event you put on. Choose the platform that can help you achieve the look and feel of the event your community wants and needs. Make sure you have the right priorities at the forefront of your mind when choosing your next tech platform.
Learn more about VEI's certification training program here.