On demand: How much ‘digital’ does my events business need?

We were delighted to host Jessica Natinsky, Chief Strategy Officer at Hyve Group and Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX  at our recent webinar “How much ‘digital’ does my events business need?”, chaired by Collingwood Advisory Senior Adviser Darren Johnson and joined by Collingwood VP North America Debra Chipman:

The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed yet! Here are the key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Live is having a moment again: there’s been a lot of pent up demand after two years indoors and uptake for live events is exceeding 2019 levels in some sectors. However, this growth is influenced by sector and geography, particularly their influence on Covid measures and comfort levels.  

  • ROI will come to the fore. While there’s an important need to meet in person, audiences are now well aware of the value they can get from digital events. Longer term we’ll see attendees being more selective and only choosing to travel when there’s a tangible, measurable advantage over digital interactions.  

  • You need a hybrid strategy, not a hybrid event. Digital now has a place in event businesses, whether that’s as a monetizable product or to create stronger market engagement, but digital interactions shouldn’t distract from physical events, they should support and enhance them with your round interaction. A business that has revenue streams across physical and digital and can rebalance the mix as conditions change, is far more resilient to disruption and therefore more valuable.  If you’re meeting your customer where they need you, you’ll be more resilient to both competitor and market disruption. Customer needs come first. 

  • Events don’t create a community on their own. Communities are purpose-driven and thrive on lateral interactions. While a strong community can support your events business, you need dedicated skill sets and drive to make it work. Don’t forget your digital offering is about the value proposition for your customer and focus on what they need before building out new products.

  •  Sponsors are getting more granular. After having access to unprecedented amounts of campaign data during the pandemic, it’s hard to match this kind of granularity in person. However, live events still continue to offer the ‘wow’ factor for branding and strong interaction with customers. By understanding the needs of your sponsors you can curate an offering across all platforms which will help them meet their goals.

We are always happy to talk to owners, founders and CEOs of independent media companies about the strategy for your business in a rapidly moving landscape, and to discuss any questions you have arising from the webinar. Get in touch with Darren or Debra or the rest of the team to find out more.




  • Jessica Natinsky, Chief Strategy Officer at Hyve Group
  • Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX
  • Darren Johnson, Senior Adviser, Collingwood Advisory
  • Debra Chipman, VP North America, Collingwood Advisory

Here’s the recording:




Darren JohnsonDarren Johnson, Senior Adviser, Collingwood Advisory (Moderator)
Darren has over 20 years’ experience within international B2B media, events and service businesses, latterly as CEO of Reed Exhibitions UK. Darren has a cross-functional background with particular expertise in customer-led business transformation to drive sustained, profitable growth. He has successfully led and grown international businesses in the £50 – £300m range, through changes to value propositions, NPD processes, commercial business models, platforms, and structure. Prior to Reed Exhibitions, Darren was Chief Growth Officer for Kodak Alaris, a $1bn Imaging, software, and digital printing business.

Jessica NatinskyJessica Natinsky, Chief Strategy Officer, Hyve Group plc
Jessica joined Hyve in June 2021, working in both Divisional strategy and Group transaction support before being appointed as the Group Strategy Director in February 2022. Jessica leads the Group Strategy function and is responsible for the implementation of Hyve’s overarching strategic goals, including the formulation of M&A, product and go-to-market strategies across the business, and ensuring alignment across the Group’s key strategic areas. Jessica is passionate about driving meaningful growth and value within a business through collaborative, data driven projects that address rapidly evolving and complex strategic challenges.

Carina BauerCarina Bauer, CEO, IMEX
A passionate and dedicated leader, Carina Bauer is the CEO of the IMEX Group – an organisation responsible for organising the leading global trade shows for the international business events industry. Carina is passionate about the business events sector and its impact on the world, taking a particular interest in issues around sustainability, diversity and inclusion and mentoring the leaders of tomorrow. Carina also takes a keen interest in leadership development and organisational best practice. She is currently Chair of the AEO Council and the EIA, serves as an UFI Board member and is Past President of the SITE Foundation (2020). She has previously served on the Board of the MPI UK Chapter and on global committees for MPI and PCMA.

Debra Chipman LIDebra Chipman, VP North America, Collingwood Advisory
Debra is an entrepreneur and C-suite executive with deep expertise blending strategy, digital transformation, M&A, and operational skill sets in private and public B2B events businesses. She has been a founder, a buyer and a seller of event companies.

Debra began her B2B events career at the privately held Institute for International Research (IIR), culminating in her role as CEO of U.S. Events. After the sale of IIR to Informa in 2005, Debra stayed on as the President of Global Life Sciences, where she continued to grow the company organically and through acquisitions. Most recently Debra founded Corey Lane Partners (CLP), a boutique consultancy that advises B2B event businesses on how to launch and scale independent events. In 2017, CLP launched its flagship proprietary event, the AI in Biopharma Summit.