Persuading a sceptic audience for an online conference

Nov 1, 2021


Scepticism was high throughout the concreting industry when the decision was made to take the Concrete Institute of Australia’s National

Biennial Conference online in 2021 for the first ever time. For a profession that places great weight on meeting in person, shaking one another’s hands and networking over afternoon drinks, it would take meaningful education to convince sponsors, exhibitors and delegates to participate.


To help demonstrate the simplicity and capability of the online platform eMeeting, a number of demonstration tools were produced specifically for the conference, including;

  • An introductory video to present the platform and showcase the functionalities
  • A ‘How to set up your booth’ video and a ‘How to get the most out of your virtual sponsorship’ video for sponsors and exhibitors
  • A downloadable PDF containing instructions on the platform.

Full technical support was provided in the lead up to the event, helping to ease sponsors’ concerns further by having 1:1 demonstrations where questions could be asked directly.

Engagement between delegates and sponsors/exhibitors throughout the event was equally important. To assist this, attendees were persuaded to engage with sponsors through a virtual passport competition, with valuable prizes as an incentive and a reminder made at the start of every session and welcome address.

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The various efforts to educate and bring on board sponsors and exhibitors proved overwhelmingly successful. Not only were sponsor and exhibitor targets met but these stakeholders received significant virtual traffic, allowing them to make meaningful connections and realise their value in attending.

  • Combined sponsorship and exhibition target were exceeded
  • An average of nearly 32 sessions attended per delegate
  • An average of 409 booth visits per exhibitor
  • 9,202 delegate interactions with sponsors were recorded
  • An average of 15 private chats per delegate
  • An average of 3 resources downloaded per delegate

Our industry is very hands-on so the thought of a virtual conference was very foreign to the majority, including our sponsors. Through a very guided approach, we were able to educate all stakeholders in the value of using a virtual platform and it not being just “another zoom call”. With over 400 booth visits per exhibitor and an average of 32 sessions attended per delegate the data insights have been invaluable to increasing value for all attendees and maximising return on investment.

David Millar

CEO, Concrete Institute of Australia

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