A start-up’s speed to market strategy for virtual events

Woman smiling at laptop screen wearing headphones

The co-founder of Netflix, Marc Randolph; Shark Tank entrepreneur and RedBalloon founder, Naomi Simpson, and fashion and entertainment icon, Dannii Minogue have all appeared for love, not money, on virtual events this year.

They were recruited by Helen Baker, the Melbourne-based founder of Spill the Beans; a start-up that promotes the ideas of talented young people.

Helen, who is also on the Advisory Board of consulting firm Komosion - a Corporate Traveller partner, is a former senior consultant at Deloitte but quit the job to launch her own start-up.

Pre-COVID she had booked the Melbourne Convention Centre to host a 600-person event for the start-up launch. Then COVID hit. Helen says the pace of change in the online events world since then has been dizzying.

“I had booked in incredible kids to talk at this event, started selling tickets and then the pandemic hit. I had to very quickly turn this business into an online and virtual events business,” she said.  

Initially, Helen tried highly choreographed, slickly produced events, but they took a lot of time and money. She soon realised that she should instead focus on speed to market.

“I think the biggest lesson that I've learned over the last year is that things have really sped up - the processes have become really quick. Be quick to market with products, quick to market with promotion,” she advised.

Helen has promoted her business and its events via social media platforms, primarily Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. She confesses that her technological skills are amateur, but being able to take advantage of applications like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Descript (a simple editing application), have kept her business alive and competing.

“I'll give you one other quick example. I created an Australian Schools Program for In Resident Entrepreneurs for my business a couple of weeks ago. I designed it, put a strategy behind it and then I drew up the designs and put it out there to the market. I did a soft launch on LinkedIn and across our social platforms. Within three days we had seven customers sign-up and a recurring annual revenue just from those seven customers of $50,000.”

She has also discovered there is a large, “on demand” or “catch-up” audience she could tap into. “On panel discussions we might not have had very many people on the call, but actually pre-recording is a large part of events processes as well - ensuring that you are recording everything and then sending that out afterwards.”

Helen Baker was a panellist in a recent online seminar run by Corporate Traveller and Komosion to provide insights into Digital Sales and Marketing Strategies, post-COVID. The “on demand” webinar of the live event can be viewed here.