With the COVID-19 pandemic firmly in place, industries relying on events are being forced to not only rethink their marketing and promotion strategies, they are also seeing a demand to take their shows online by innovating reactive, virtual platforms.
Now that in-person events are being cancelled, Charles Warner, CEO of Innovative Properties Worldwide and Editor in Chief of Cannabis & Tech Today said most companies can take part in other forms of conventional public relations, “but the cannabis industry is unique and can’t wait for this pandemic to subside.”
“It can’t advertise on mainstream channels like television, Facebook, or Google, so events are critical for industry players to come together, learn, and do business,” he said. “We just needed to find a more engaging platform along with top-notch content.”
Just like front-line workers in healthcare, emergency services, transportation professionals, and critical manufacturing, the cannabis industry has been deemed “essential.”
Created by Innovative Properties Worldwide, the Emerge Virtual Cannabis Conference & Expo will feature noted industry speakers from all fields in a Hyperfair platform and avatar-based virtual ecosystem while educating attendees on the latest in cannabis discoveries, trends, innovations, and policies.
Already this year, major events like Collision, CEDIA, and CES have went virtual or announced immediate plans to go online for their next happening on the schedule.
While the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not have a limit or recommended number of attendees for in-person events, the more people an individual interacts with at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the potential risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and spreading the virus, according to the organization.
The CDC also points out the highest risk for events are large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least six feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area. In stark contrast, the virtual-only activities are listed as the lowest risk.
For the cannabis industry, “connection and relationships have significant meaning,” Ron Kolb said, founder and CEO of Sensi Media and Forbes Contributor.
“The siloed nature of local markets can create a challenging environment,” he continued. “At events, relationships are formed that lead to improved efficiency and margins.”
In addition to a new virtual platform, the Emerge Conference will also feature the industry’s first virtual job fair and investment pitch program to attendees.
While gatherings online seem less personal than their traditional counterparts, cLab founder, Rob Friedman, said benefits of the virtual event extend beyond logistics.
“Saving on airfare and hotel costs can be enormous, but I think the ability to learn more, meet more people, and close more deals is only possible in an interactive, virtual environment,” he said. “Embracing the best of emerging technologies like virtual conferences and trade shows will help us all continue to grow.”