Events have always played an important role in the annual business cycle—irrespective of industry or sector. And for good reason: they provide an ideal environment for networking, identifying new opportunities and trends and making your own brand presence felt. In fact, as per Certain’s ‘The 2018 State of B2B Event Marketing’ Report, 75% of B2B marketers noted an increasing importance of events to their company’s success.
Of course, something they couldn’t have factored at that time was the massive effect the COVID-19 pandemic would have. The increasing trend was brought to practically a halt, as safety and travel regulations limited the scope for events.
However, this was only really valid for in-person ones.
Smart organisations, equipped with the right tech solution, saw the opportunity to redefine how events could be held, by taking things online. And with good reason: Digital Information World reported that 85% of people noted increased or equal attention-spans in virtual events, compared to in-person ones. This also meant a change in considerations: from the investment of resources to messaging that is more suited to the new medium.
The platform brings with it more than a fair share of advantages. Going virtual immediately means increased convenience, for both the organiser and attendees. With the right virtual streaming solution, brands can get as creative as they would like, without limitations of geographic distances, venues, seating or even catering.
With more social media users and an increased digitisation of workplaces, virtual platforms aren’t as intimidating to the end-user as they once may have been. A 2020 study by Reed Exhibitions noted that 52% of attendees felt that they could conduct a majority of their event objectives by going virtual.
In addition, brands can now offer a more dynamic event experience than your typical work-conference screen. With the advent of new innovations in the space of event streaming, they can create customised virtual events setting their presentation apart from the many others in the market.
Once online and live, events offer an entire repository of tools that can be used to inspire curiosity and conversations. For example, by leveraging Video Platform as a Service (VPaas), brands can also create a repertoire of product information that can be seamlessly distributed across digital platforms, including social media. Think of it as a product brochure, but more eye-catching, able to retain attention better and not fated to be forgotten shortly after, in a pile of recyclables.
As with any endeavor, there is a fair share of associated risks. When talking digital, concerns such as complex technology, data security, attendee engagement and even technical glitches are the first to be cited. However, my experience in the industry has taught me that these can be mitigated. What one needs is a good idea, tech that can support it and a capable and adaptive team committed to ensuring the event’s success. Once those are in place, the more seemingly complex aspects can be tackled head-on.
And the results show. A survey by Markletic noted that 87% of marketers see opportunities created by digital events as a success factor. Another by Event Marketer found that 65% marketers will reinvest the some or most budgets for their in-person events towards virtual events.
The best part? There is no set formula for how to go about your event. It can all be adapted to suit your requirements, audiences, aesthetic preferences and intended objectives—in essence, a whole new level of customizing is now up for grabs.
While the scope of the physical world is obviously limited, there is no end to the possibilities that the virtual one can provide. With virtual events, your only true limits are the skill of your team and the extent of your imagination. The results, however, will be very real indeed.