We are a long way from March 2020 when the pandemic first hit, with the events industry having evolved more in the last two years than in the last twenty.
As global lockdowns continue to ease and fluctuate, businesses must resist going back to old ways. Instead, they need to look to the here and now, making sure their events adapt to today’s hybrid environment.
Don’t compromise on performance
Virtual and hybrid offers are essential to your overall marketing strategy. But why? Just think of how they can extend the reach of an event and the extensive consumer data they collect.
Event planners often wonder, “Won’t offering online access to my event entice people to participate from home instead of attending in person?” The truth is that studies show that creating a hybrid offer is unlikely to disrupt attendance rates. Not only that, but it opens up many other growth opportunities for events.
Extend your reach by targeting new segments and regions regardless of their location.
Increase your volume of content by promoting and providing permanent event content that can be bookmarked, saved, downloaded or watched anytime, anywhere.
Increase audience participation through interactive touchpoints including live polls, forums, chats and videos.
Connection with content
Technology isn’t the only thing that’s evolved over the past 20 months – the way event teams view and produce content has also changed dramatically.
In the B2B space, we see a much more balanced view between live events and the value of face-to-face networking with a “Netflix and Spotify approach” to event content. Live presentations were usually a great way to sell tickets. But in the hybrid world, they provide an opportunity to create accessible, on-demand content that can drive conversations with your market that continue long after the curtain has fallen on the live broadcast. This gives event marketing a meaningful way to connect with always-on digital marketing, SEO performance, thought leadership, lead nurturing, customer advocacy and more.
Year-over-year data for viewing times on VOD platforms is up 155% (with nearly 20 minutes spent per session). By producing great event content with high production values, it’s possible to create a real point of distinction between competitors pushing a recorded webinar with a poorly formatted PPT, or missing out on the video content opportunity entirely at request at your next in-person event.
Understanding that your event content is not just a one-time broadcast but a multi-purpose conversation with your market is surely a win-win.
So where do we go from here?
5 tips for planning your next event
1. Understand your audience
Be sure to conduct internal and external research with attendees, partners, and other internal stakeholders to make sure you have a full understanding of the audience before you start scaling your event.
2. Content is still king
Content is always the driving factor of any event, but how we program that content is key. Make sure your content works for virtual and in-person audiences and plan how you can reuse it to build engagement before, during, and after your event.
3. Define your event, then define the technology to support it
Understanding what metrics of success you will measure your event against will define the type of technology partner you need. It’s not just about technology, it’s about people and process first.
4. Stay creative
Remember that creative fierce thinking is one of the cornerstones of a successful event. Spontaneity and creative energy are at the heart of great events and the last thing you want is for those qualities to be stifled because you revert to the old normal.
5. Execution is everything
Be sure to partner with the best vendors to deliver the best possible experience and achieve your event scaling and impact goals.
The event industry has evolved and embraced digital marketing. There is no turning back now. The future is for immersive, connected experiences that delight your customers and prove a return to business.