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The COVID-19 pandemic will reduce or eliminate the number of live physical events for the remainder of 2020 and possibly, 2021.

If conducting, sponsoring, or attending physical events have been a material portion of your marketing mix, you’ll need to look beyond Webinars and begin to dive into the high-impact world of digital marketing through virtual events.

Many businesses are looking to establish virtual interactions, as the use of video collaboration tools soar, and people find new ways to connect in replacement of in-person physical events – traditional conferences, association meetings, trade shows, executive briefings, roundtables, and the like.

While many physical live events will resume, predictions are that the event industry is changed forever.

The enormous cost of time, travel expenses, attendance, and sponsorship fees will rapidly be reduced as companies and participants experience the value and impact of virtual events.

Fortunately, virtual event technology has been in the works for more than ten years, and today there are a significant number of virtual event technology platforms to help create and manage interactive events that duplicate or improve aspects of a traditional in-person event. 

Don’t invest time now in selecting a Virtual Event technology solution.

The type of event you conduct will dictate the technology, and you’ll be working with a 3rd party in most cases to produce the event that will offer technology options.

For sales and digital marketing leaders considering virtual events, it’s helpful to understand the range of available event types:

Webinar

They have been around for years and are simple, but not easy to do well. They are typically brief and can be one-off. Most webinars are managed internally.

Virtual Conference

These are new for most of us. They include a comprehensive agenda, robust engagement; Distance technology connects all participants; The entire audience is remote. Don’t try this on your own. You need to hire professionals that produce events for a living and understand experiential marketing.

Hybrid

Roundtables and executive briefings can be hybrid, as well as large events. Distance technology connects some participants; A portion of the audience is “in the room.” Don’t try this on your own. You need to hire professionals that produce events for a living and understand experiential marketing.

Live

Everybody in the same room; Always the first choice to deliver the most comprehensive experience. You need to hire professionals that produce events for a living and understand experiential marketing.

Virtual Events are drastically different than live physical events and require a complete rethink about the audience experience. A few examples include:

  • The shape and length of the event must change.

  • Presentation styles must change.

  • Engagement is very different when seated in front of a screen. 

  • Some content is best delivered live; some is best-served on-demand

  • Need to strike a new balance of “general sessions” and “breakouts.” 

Companies will use what they learn from experimenting with virtual events and applying their own collection of digital marketing tips to enhance their in-person physical events.

For example, you may conduct a physical in-person customer roundtable, but a portion of the customers may attend virtually if their schedule would not permit their physical attendance.

The transition to digital marketing and virtual events is accelerating due to the pandemic.

This transition is not just about replacing in-person physical events. In addition, expanding and optimizing a new marketing channel will help engage with prospects and customers in a more impactful matter – that is what’s at stake.

Now is the time to begin experimenting with professionally managed virtual events.

Physical events will come back. Virtual events are here, and they may become the majority of event-related marketing spend within the next few years.

     Click here to read our latest article about Productivity Improvement During COVID-19
     Click here to read our latest article about Business Performance Improvement During COVID-19
     Click here to read our latest article about Marketing Plan B Crisis Management During COVID-19

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