20 Takeaways From The First-Ever Virtual Experiential Marketing Summit

Event Marketer featured insights from Walmart’s annual U.S Holiday Meeting in this list of top takeaways from its first-ever virtual Experiential Marketing Summit (EMS). INVNT built, designed and managed the virtual experience, which was aimed at Walmart associates.

It’s been a year of firsts for many brands and their shows, and for EM it was no different. Our 18-year-old Experiential Marketing Summit pivoted not once, but twice in the wake of COVID-19 before moving fully virtual for the first time in its history. In the end, thousands of industry attendees converged on an interactive platform, Oct. 19-23, to talk strategy, forecasting, creativity and innovation… comfy pants and “tush cushes” encouraged. 

We supersized the event from three days to five full days of learning, all programmed for attendees to “choose their own adventure” and tune in based on their personal preferences and schedules. The journey included daily group workouts, keynotes from leading executives, peer-to-peer think tanks, an exhibit hall, the summit podcast, midday dj dance breaks, activities for kids, workshops, and late-afternoon entertainment. And lest we forget the dozens of sessions taught by brand-side marketers.

Though there were no group huddles in the hallway, hijinks at the afterparties or post-show movies and nightcaps in the air, the community sparkled on through the screen. We recap some of the best insights and takeaways from the virtual week. And if you missed us entirely, you can still register to check out the whole show on-demand at emsummit.eventmarketer.com.

GETTING EXECUTIVES IN ON THE FUN

The most successful virtual events haven’t “lifted and shifted” their program; they’ve developed creative new solutions. Like Walmart, which discussed the pivot of its holiday meeting to virtual, describing how it implemented elements like a gamified trivia experience woven throughout the event and a game show featuring the brand’s chief operating officer and chief customer officer—yes, even the corporate rock stars need to get in on the pivot action.

“There are elements that need to happen no matter what—attendees need to hear from the ceo, they need to hear from the chief operating officer—you just have to put on your thinking cap and do it a little bit differently,” says Jenifer Bice, senior director-event solutions at Walmart. “Everyone is Zoomed out, so we came up with more interesting ways to deliver key messages.”

Check out the rest of the key takeaways here.

20 Takeaways From The First-Ever Virtual Experiential Marketing Summit
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