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THE SHOW MUST GO ON: How Coronavirus Made an Annual Conference Go from On-site to Online in the Most #VirtuallyAmazing Way Possible.

August 19, 2020
Virtual Conference Success Story

You’ve been planning your annual conference for months—and then a global pandemic, unlike anything we’ve ever seen in modern times, hits. Now what?

Virtual Conference Success 1Like so many other companies and associations across the country, that was the question the Maryland Municipal League (MML) asked themselves. The key content, timely information, and sharing of insights and ideas were far too important to just cancel or reschedule. MML members—comprising of dynamic tiny-town managers, large-city mayors, and dedicated departmental staff members across 157 municipal governments—had to get together. Just like the theme they had selected before COVID-19, they had to “Reimagine Tomorrow.” Virtually.

A major pivot such as this in a short amount of time was going to be a Herculean, all-hands-on-deck effort. But before Van Eperen jumped on board to help with a variety of integrated marketing and PR services, we had to remember one thing: the user experience.

Virtual Conference Success 2

Every year, the MML Summer Conference is held in Ocean City, Maryland. We had to bring all the fun and excitement of the beach to their desktops. An experience so virtually amazing, you could almost taste the boardwalk fries. (With malt vinegar and Old Bay, of course.)

Working closely with the Maryland Municipal team, Van Eperen helped transform the experience—on-site to online—branding Attendify (the mobile event platform) along with all the conference promotions and processes related to registration, sponsorship, and exhibit hall/trade show sales. We tapped into our toolbox of fully integrated capabilities—from writing press releases and editorial content to creating social posts, emails, and their featured award videos. (We may have also passed along a few moves for their virtual dance party.)

All in all, it was a first for both MML and Van Eperen—and the event (as promoted) was, indeed, #VirtuallyAmazing. (Even other states took notice and commented on the fun and unique approach—turning a negative into a positive.) Pandemic or no pandemic, the way conferences are attended and experienced may forever be changed. Just add technology and teamwork. And maybe a sprinkling of Old Bay.

Virtual Event Planning Success 3 Successful Virtual Events 4

“Your work and that of MML’s internal marketing team, was hugely important and honestly, the most creative, impactive, fun, all-encompassing conference promotional efforts I have ever seen in an industry I’ve worked in and/or at least monitored for twenty-plus years.  You all are incredibly talented, hard-working and truly partners for MML.  We couldn’t have done this without you. That’s the truth.”

– Patty Foss-Bennie, CAE, IOM, CMP, MML Director, Conferences and Publications

Looking to transform your upcoming conference? We can help in a number of ways. Let’s talk!
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