Trade Show Cancellations – How to fill that massive 53% conversion void

March 18, 2020 – Losing 53% of anything is a huge deal.  Figuring out what to do about it might even be the bigger deal.

Amid widespread global sequestering and a near shutdown of travel and even venturing out of the house, our lives have never been turned more upside down.  How long will this last – nobody knows for sure.

While there are countless needs for contingency plans, today I focus on the major business disruption caused by mass cancellations of trade shows.  Some of you ‘Road Warriors’ surely must be dazed and confused, nearly in a catatonic stupor as you craft new daily routines from your in-home office.  Potentially only the family pets are thrilled about the current state of things. [Still trying to interpret the intent of questions from my wife and kids, asking "When do you travel again?"  Wishful thinking, I presume.]

Unfortunately, the cancellation impacts are much deeper than our personal disruptions.  Lenders, servicers and vendors rely heavily upon trade shows to expand client relationships as well as forge new partnerships to drive sales and revenue.  How large the impact of the missed opportunities?

New research from Demand Gen Report – B2B demand generation marketers say that in-person events are their best performing top of the funnel approach.  According to the report, and Exhibit 1 below from, over half of U.S. B2B marketers said that in-person events and trade shows were an effective channel for driving conversions.  While respondents ranked in-person events and trade shows as the third best for engagement, they ranked highest in actual conversions.  Net Message – Our most successful source of conversion rates, our iconic trade shows, are being canceled or postponed every day, and we don’t know when this will reverse course.  

Exhibit 1

So, what is your back up plan?  None of us can ill afford to sit back and take the attitude of ‘this too shall pass.’  A 53% conversion rate sinkhole demands some creativity and immediate action. 

As one of the most popular online destinations and content marketing platforms across mortgage and credit union ecosystems, at Vendor Surf we have spent many hours talking to lenders, servicers and vendors.  We wanted to know what organizations are doing to fill this 53% void.  Below is a summary of the most frequent responses.

Content Marketing

Publishing more email campaigns, whitepapers, eBooks and value-added reports to draw in prospects for engagement.  [Note: This is rarely about selling your own products and services.  You must deliver content that adds value and insight to your target audiences.  Keep publishing and keep them coming back.]


Surprisingly, we learned that many have never hosted or sponsored a webinar in the past.  Better late than never, and hopefully they achieve results enough to keep these organizations doing more long into the future.  Planned and executed properly, webinars are a powerful force, and among the most preferred content mediums.

Virtual Events

Each week we see a trend toward fewer ‘canceled’ events, instead converting them to virtual online sessions.  The more tech savvy players are even streaming their virtual events.  Advice – record them and make them available for playback on-demand.

Social Media

Social media accounts are the primary distribution channel to broadcast all of the above activities, with CRM email campaigns being a distant second.

In addition to the above feedback, we also heard nearly everyone mention they are urging their staff, many working remotely these days, to fill slower times with career/self-development activities.  You can find hundreds of such opportunities on the Vendor Surf ‘calendars/resources’ page, found HERE


Your path forward is challenging in effort, yet quite simple in directive.  Adapt or suffer the consequences.  While I don't claim to be an avid Bruce Lee fan, his quote below is certainly adequate for the times we currently live in:

 “You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”


Thanks for reading.



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