How to Pivot to Digital in the Event Industry

By Aubrey Berkowitz
June 9, 2020

How do you run a business or organization where your revenue is based on events in the current economic environment of social isolation? How do you keep the lights on when you can’t have events or have limits on the capacity of an event? 

It’s a tough question, but the answer for one of our clients, The Musician Treatment Foundation, has been an increased focus on digital. 

The Musician Treatment Foundation assists in providing medical treatment to under-insured musicians who without help have lost their ability to perform. They’ve lost their ability to provide for their families. As a musician myself, it’s a client I feel a particular affinity towards and for Alter Endeavors, MTF is a client we’ve seen grow from infancy. 

MTF depends on live events and concerts to raise funds. The ability to bring people together through music is critical to their mission statement and success. So, how do you do this during a global pandemic? Focusing more on digital, our team got creative. 

Nic Weiss serves as the Digital Marketing Strategist for MTF here at Alter Endeavors. I picked his brain to learn more about the strategies they’ve implemented for MTF.


Aubrey: Nic, typically MTF events are held at locations like Parker Jazz Club in NYC or ACL Moody Theatre here in Austin, what are some unique ways you’re still “keeping the music playing” – MTF’s core mission statement? 

Nic: MTF events are always really fun to plan and take part in! We’ve obviously had to pivot from holding events at venues like the ones you mentioned due to COVID restrictions, but that doesn’t mean we’re holding off altogether. We’ve started putting on a variety of live streams to reach local music fans. We have put a major focus on doing whatever we can to help local musicians, including hosting live Q&As where an orthopedic surgeon answers questions about common injuries that musicians experience.

Aubrey: Without events, what are some other ways you’re working with MTF to raise donations, but with a more digital approach? 

Nic: Livestreaming has been a major part of our efforts to continue to raise donations – we’ve held (and will continue to hold) Musician Monday streams, where we highlight local musicians that have been recipients of care from our organization. We lend our platform so they can tell their story and show off their good health with short musical performances. It’s really a win-win for everyone involved and it’s a ton of fun. 

Aubrey: What are some of the ways that the operations of MTF have crossed over into Digital Marketing or the Digital “sphere” due to current limitations? 

Nic: As I’ve been harping on about, live streams have been huge for us recently. 

But from a foundational perspective, it’s interesting what happens when, as a brand, you’re limited in what you can do in-person. It’s almost like when you lose one of your 5 senses, your other 4 get stronger and pick up the slack. 

It’s a great time to focus on content creation and your messaging as a whole across all digital platforms. There’s never been a time like this where everyone is spending this much time at home scrolling through their newsfeed, and it’s up to us to capitalize on that and keep the momentum going.

Aubrey: What are some points of emphasis or pieces of advice you’d give to a business or brand that relies on events to generate revenue in regards to what they can do during times of social distancing policies? 

Nic: I think the biggest thing is to be flexible. Livestreaming is not for everyone (or every brand.) What made your events successful? Was it personal interactions or partnerships? Was it based on performances from artists or from poignant speakers’ messages? There’s always going to be ways to adapt, it takes creativity and a willingness to get through the uncomfortable period of doing something in a different way, or even doing something entirely different. This pandemic is devastating from an economic standpoint and has pushed brands to get out of their comfort zone and meet the needs of a rapidly changing digital landscape. The biggest tip I can give is to be flexible and creative. Remember, this is uncharted territory. Create a strategy and go for it.

If you have any questions about the platforms we are using to conduct live streams or what else you need to consider when pivoting to digital in the event industry — please reach out. We are happy to be a resource for you.  

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