Being an event marketing professional, is like life in general, we’re gophers. We pop-up from our holes or in our case, our laptops and look at another monitor, asking, “Is it safe?”. Sometimes it feels as soon as things appear on track and back to ‘normal’, we’re hit with another wave.
Many of us have been residing online, at events which just “aren’t the same” as live events; waxing nostalgic for the return to a romanticized past. If you’re like many of my colleagues, your current mindset is a return to in-person events, toasting a “job well done” and a closing party where your favorite band’s singer is about to call you up on stage. “You can’t get that experience online!” you exclaim aloud. I’m here to say: you can’t, you’re not supposed to, and “we’re here, we’re online; get used to it!”
Online is what online does. What? Yes, “Stop. Wait a minute. Fill my cup and put some positivity in it!” Great, now I have to look into what Bruno Mars charges for virtual events. Hmmm…maybe as an alternate, KFaceTV, performing Dark Lord Funk (not familiar? Check out…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbdvogFyZZM.
Think about what has been working well in virtual events, especially in two categories:
A virtual event provides an opportunity for smaller companies who may be limited by geography and/or budget to participate in the onsite event. Imagine the opportunity to connect a virtual customer with an onsite booth staff expert or vice versa to present a demo, solve a business issue or simply to network with a new prospect or further an established relationship. Their speakers don’t have to adjust their busy schedules to travel to an event. They can either prerecord their session or conduct it live from the comforts of their current location.
Being able to attend a virtual event eradicates any concerns over travel, time, budget, or health & safety. Differing time zones aside, the world is your event’s potential attendee oyster.
For both groups, 1:1 and small group virtual interaction (networking) is available via a host of platform options, such as live chat, appointment setting, video meetings, Q&A’ sessions, and gamification (along with additional interactive and collaborative activities). As we move toward a better, but still uncertain, future, thinking “hybrid” can both help you stay positive and plan properly to make the most out of your events. Including a virtual component alongside your onsite event will definitely be the norm in the short term and the continued effectiveness will determine the future strategy.