An Insider's View to Live, Virtual Events and Everything In Between
In the fall I was on a panel at CSE Live by Canadian Special Events with esteemed production leaders Matthew Byrne CSEP – President & Founder, Byrne Production Services and Anthony Vade – Event Experience Strategy Director, Encore. Moderated by the talented Jason Thomson.
You can watch the panel here and below is a summary of key points that I think reinforce why our virtual platform is in demand.
Customers Want Choice
In the intro, Jason talks about event owners planning for live events and then tacking on virtual, then taking it away due to budget constraints, and then tacking it back on. All that tells us is that they’re not really listening to their customers.
Matthew Byrne captured it best: Hybrid is not a format, it’s a strategy.
What the event industry did before – we were missing out on the engagement of customers to a brand and story. Marketing got this over 20 years ago with new digital strategies.
We absolutely need integrated event strategy. You can read more about this in a previous blog.
We all agreed, everyone’s calling it hybrid – but it’s the wrong word! At TK Events, we call it our Experience+ package. It’s how you integrate content. Make it available 365 days a year. And as Matt said – “Turn our live events into content factories.”
Jason referred to it as campaigning. Think of what you can do with the data you find: You know exactly what customers tuned into certain content. It allows you to build marketing campaigns around it.
In our virtual venue rooms, customers have the ability to view or download additional content. We can balance how we share content and have the ability to keep an event going long after the doors close on the live event.
Let’s talk numbers.
In a high production value general session, costs to produce that same session virtually are not going to be a budget breaker.
While companies are weighing everything from travel costs to sustainability to ROI, a virtual event is a key part of the event mix. No one is saying we should eliminate live events. However, if you can double/triple your audience size as we have seen with our recent integrated events, and now you know what content has resonated (because we have that data) and you can target campaigns, the virtual investment more than delivers your ROI.
Real numbers: In one client’s case - the cost per person for the virtual experience in our virtual venue as part of an in-person conference was $67.00/person.
More examples: A client has adopted our virtual platform with a signature virtual venue for all their HR orientation events – a cost effective, engaging way to connect with employees.
What Makes a Virtual Event Successful?
During the pandemic we found a way to connect people in a very disconnected world. Now it’s up to us to evolve that and continue to deliver on what customers are asking for. If they want to consume content on their own terms – we should deliver an experience that allows them to do that. Afterall, it means we are maintaining a relationship with the customer.
In the events world there’s an old saying, you only receive feedback if it’s negative. But overwhelmingly, audiences have commented about how happy they were to be able to participate in an event even though they weren’t there. They tell us they felt like they were in the room. AND, how engagement opportunities within our platform were a difference maker.
As my esteemed panelists pointed out: Production value matters – hear, hear Matthew Byrne and Anthony Vade! Our audiences are sophisticated and they are demanding quality.
Measurement and your Event Agency as a Partner
I think I might have laughed out loud when Matt said: “Nobody puts on an event for fun.”
The most successful events are when the agency is part of the planning – when we start with measurement in mind, what KPI’s are going to be measured for success and we help build your event around that. The survey as an afterthought is not how we measure success. With how you will be measured in mind, we can provide you with audience behaviors and measurable results.
We are on the cusp of what is possible. Change is inevitable and incremental. Real innovation is born from these moments. We can be leaders.
Let’s start with eliminating the word hybrid and calling it what it is – an integrated event strategy.
You can watch the panel here. And of course, get in touch with us through the form below to talk about your event strategy.
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