The Digital Pivot

This is Tech Disruption, not just Business Interruption

We are all planning to deliver our postponed events on time;  but will it be another 3 months, 6 months, 9 months? We’re all risk managers now, and whether we like it or not, digital is disrupting events.

That doesn’t mean that face to face is over. Digital is more than a way to stay in touch with customers: it has to be part of the value and delivery mechanism going forward. We need to accelerate digital transformation and give it just as much thought as if we were launching a new event. 

All our business partners and clients are well into their Digital Pivot. It’s particularly hard for tradeshows to replicate their value propositions online, but that doesn’t change the facts: a responsible risk plan requires hybrid solutions. I don’t mean replicating your event on a specific day, I mean delivering the value your audiences and clients expected and needed, online, distributed across time and formats.

Clients are sitting on unspent budget, and are missing their branding, lead gen and comms targets. They are going to look for value online, and that means talking to publishers – many of whom used to own or run exhibitions. 

Event organisers, publishers (many of you are both, of course): we’re all in this together, sitting at home in front of Zoom, trying to put life back together. Most publishers are suffering from events postponements and cancellations too. You’re already media partners: talk to each other about innovative and collaborative business models.

[And who knows, maybe even a JV, merger or acquisition. We can help with that.]


So what’s the Digital Pivot? 

It’s not about virtual events, although virtual events are part of it.

It’s not about giving your postponed event clients and audiences free inventory and content, although you should.

It’s about digital transformation:

  • Rapid product development (we are doing our own digital pivot now – Piers and Dan are keeping a video blog about our learnings
  • Accelerating your transition from a push methodology to fully inbound (our friends at BrightBull wrote about this for us before)
  • Changing the way your sales team thinks and works (our friends at Flume saw this coming)
  • And above all, being willing to change your own habits and thought processes, and learn new skills. We certainly are!

Our Senior Adviser and Digital Pivot Guru Fergus is working with several hybrid digital/events entrepreneurs and their teams on this right now.

You can reach him at

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Stay safe,

Team Collingwood