Preparing for the New Normal in Events

Featured in Event Marketer, Southport Marketing's VP of Client Services, Andrea Iranpour, provides insight on the challenges and adjustments required to navigate the current environment.

block letters reading new normal

How to Prepare for Change and Why to Embrace Lead Generation

How will the Coronavirus fundamentally change how the event industry functions and how can event teams prepare for these changes?

The Coronavirus is not the first hurdle Southport Marketing and others have had to cross. History repeats itself in many ways, but the face is often different. In the last 20 years, we have had to navigate 9/11, the Great Recession, increased safety and security measures, and now COVID-19. Every day we adapt to our clients’ needs and this is no different. Prepare. Plan. Adjust. Save. Now adjustments will be needed for event safety protocols and adaptations to consumer engagements so that experiences can still be created. While virtual should play a part, kicking the tires and enjoying a great taste of wine are still going to be so important for both brands and consumers. Southport will also fabricate display properties that allow for safer engagement. We are also adding protective equipment and signage to communicate safety measures.

What makes your agency uniquely qualified to help clients in the post-COVID era?

Our ability to adapt and move quickly, all while looking at the quality of the consumer experience. Our approach has always been to think ahead while planning, developing creative ideas, and procedures that are on target with our client’s goals and brand objectives. The ability to utilize our in-house resources allow us to be nimble and have quality control over every campaign. For example, a client wanted to create a local community campaign for First Responders. Our fulfillment team was able to assemble, package and deliver within two days.

How does Lead Generation evolve so consumers feel safer still participating with your brand?

Several years ago, we created a custom lead generation app. It gave Southport the ability to customize what we do for each client and what information they want to collect. That has been very valuable to us, as it allows us greater control on the outcome as well as delivering the necessary metrics for the client. The evolution will be engaging consumers to still drive leads with their own mobile device vs. a shared device.

How will logistics play a bigger role in your client work?

While we are a full-service agency, we place a strong emphasis on operations and logistics. If you don’t place importance on the front-end preparation, there’s no chance for a flawless execution. This allows us to be ready for events that require quick turn-around such as the LA Rams Super Bowl Send Off for 12,000 people that was planned in less than four days. Similarly, we partner closely other operational teams such as TSA for airport events and stunts, stadium security and venue operations for our sports clients, and with city, county and local governments for events that we own and produce. We have even helped them set policies they adopted for better safety and logistics.

What products and services make your agency the right choice for brands looking to pivot, plan and recover?

Delivering on great ideas while providing realistic execution solutions and being a trustworthy partner is most important to our Southport team. One of the things we have focused on during this time when events are at a standstill, is great marketing fulfillment ideas. Keeping in touch with brands’ customers is crucial right now. This could mean sending out a safety kit to customers, providing a gift that rewards or shows you’re thanking them for their brand loyalty, or supporting their community efforts.

This article originally appeared in Event Marketer June 2020.

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