In March 2019 I organised and hosted the Aqua Feed Extrusion Conference 2019 at VIV Asia in Bangkok, Thailand. The conference, a joint co-operation between International Aquafeed magazine and Texas A&M University, was a great success and featured eight expert speakers discussing how to optimise your feed processing solutions.
Following on from the success of the 2019 edition, we immediately set to planning a 2020 conference, to be hosted as part of VICTAM Animal Health and Nutrition Asia in Bangkok, March 2020. After months of hard work, gathering sponsors and delegates, we discovered, just two weeks prior to the event, that the exhibition would be postponed to July 2020, as a precaution against the rapidly spreading COVID-19.
But, as we are all aware, the situation had not much improved by July. VICTAM Animal Health and Nutrition Asia was, again, postponed, and at the time of writing this is now due to take place in January 2022. Instead, we decided we would host the conference online via BigMarker, and our first foray into online events began!
Learning how to effectively market an online conference was an interesting challenge. The most notable change was the absence of physical opportunities to market the event. At previous events, I have always worked with designers to produce flyers, wall art and pop-up stands that market our events at exhibitions, as well as attend other events where we market our conferences to others via word of mouth. With travel completely removed from the equation, marketing the event was strictly limited to our magazine, blogs and social media. Despite this, the event was a great success, with 70+ attendees present for both day of the seminar!