BtoB: Why does the industry need a certification program for virtual events producers?
Michael Doyle: Event marketers may have started with producing an event for one reason, but now people from all sorts of areas [within their companies] are looking for their expertise.
Event marketers are becoming much more strategic in these roles. It's not just about logistics, operations and execution. How do we do this virtually? What are the different types of solutions that fit into this, and how does it map to our business needs and our audience?
It's a great fit for them, and [the certification process] is a way for them to get experience and a broader look at all the digital solutions that could be applicable as demand comes in.
Not all of the event marketers and meeting producers are going to embrace this and want to excel and specialize in this; but, in the long term, I think it's going to be more and more important to have these skills.
BtoB: What should events marketers be doing on their own to grow their expertise?
Doyle: Go to other events. It's as far away as your keyboard, and it's a tremendous advantage. I encourage people to do that as often as possible and to look at totally separate kinds of events. You might not have an interest in the topic or it might be a different industry, but sometimes you find that [people outside your industry] are doing things that also make sense for you. You find people using different business models. It can guide a lot of creativity and innovation. That's the No. 1 thing to do.
The [others are] looking at the digital marketing space in general; and keeping an eye on what is happening in other aspects of digital media and marketing; and thinking about what you can bring into your events. You might look at iPads and see that they are really engaging their audiences through [certain] techniques. Is there something there I can bring into what I'm doing with my virtual events and virtual engagement programs?