02-Apr-2020 11:21 AM Virtual Events
The era of the virtual event is here. Powered by super-fast, reliable internet speeds and the need for cost-savings, virtual events are no longer confined to niche corners of the marketing world.
Interactivity and engagement are no longer a concern. With many companies coming out with offerings to take your trade show or conference online, more and more enterprises are open to the idea of virtual events.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has halted several marketing events in their tracks. Marketing budgets have been tightened and companies are re-evaluating their lead generation strategies.
However, keeping your marketing in limbo for a long time will have disastrous consequences. Unless you’re a big company that has firmly established itself in the consumer’s mind, you cannot afford to go lean on your marketing. Now is the time to get creative and get hustling. When things do finally return to normal, and it always does, the ones who doubled down on their marketing will reap the rewards.
To learn how you can take advantage of the Virtual Event boom, check out this article on the benefits of virtual events.
But if you’re wondering whether your event can be taken online without compromising on networking, lead generation and ROI, read on to find out.
The short answer is every type. That’s right. Consider a typical trade show. They are very important events in the calendar year for B2B companies where several important deals are signed. They are also very logistics-heavy events. Even these can be conducted online whether as a simple, basic online directory or as a complex virtual 3D world with virtual lobbies and booths for showcasing products and services.
Virtual Meetings and Conferences
Ever since Skype made a splash in the enterprise world, managers have always resorted to Skype, Zoom, Discord and other tools to conduct virtual meetings. You can also scale up your meeting to include many more people and set an agenda to host a virtual conference.
What’s amazing is that tools like Zoom, GoToMeeting, WebEx and others are capable of serving as a platform for these conferences without compromising on the meeting experience.
Take the example of one of the biggest events in Microsoft’s roster; the annual Microsoft Build developer conference. For 2020, the event will be held completely online.
Anyone who’s seen a typical product launch experience would consider it a blasphemy to take such events online. Product launches are drummed up as huge events with elaborate marketing strategies in place. Who among us hasn’t come across those “leaked” emails trying to build up hype around a conference?
Not to mention the hands-on review done by Tech Youtubers during the event.
But all this can be done online too. Yes, there might be some decrease in the level of excitement, but it is just as effective in promoting your product. With tech events like CES being postponed, major tech companies are considering launching their product to an empty hall with the whole launch being live-streamed on Facebook and other platforms.
While this is deemed necessary due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not a bad idea even when things return to normal. The cost savings alone will justify this. Added to that, most customers don’t really care for grand events even though brands consider it as a major event.
Webinars have been around for a long time now. Pioneered by affiliate marketers, a typical webinar session is meant to educate the user about a product. However, today’s webinars are more interactive in nature. The audience can ask questions and expect them to be answered by the host. The host can also share polls, surveys, or even direct the audience to a test.
Brands can use software like Livestorn or Everwebinar which come with custom solutions to problems faced by webinar hosts.
These software usually only offer a limited trial period. As SaaS products, they can burn a deep hole in your pocket if you subscribe to them and not use them often.
Some brands also record their Webinar sessions and offer it as a downloadable to their attendees to other interested parties. But creating these downloadables can be resource and time-consuming.
While not strictly falling under the ambit of marketing, this example is included here to show just how flexible the technology is. Hosting a career fair — one where recruiters from different companies are present along with applicants — fully online might seem like a challenging task, but it is certainly doable.
Another virtual solution to conduct recruiting for your company through virtual conferencing only. Applicants can choose a time slot and appear for a video call, while also simultaneously solving coding challenges and answering questions.
Town halls are an integral part of every company’s internal functioning. It’s a good opportunity for employees to interact with their senior management and air their concerns. A town hall held in a meeting room usually gets chaotic and might not offer equal chances for all. By using an online platform for virtual town halls, questions can be moderated strictly and the host will have a better handle on the solution. Platforms like Airmeet are ideal for this.
Sure, there are a lot of cloud-based software solutions available for every virtual event need. Be it speaker management (Speaker Engage comes to mind), Pitch Builders (Contiq, for example) or audience engagement tools (like Your Takeaways).
But what most companies need is an end-to-end solution that takes care of everything from an idea to a live event feed and can do this in a cost-effective way. This solution should also be flexible when it comes to pricing. Brands cannot commit to a year-long subscription when they haven’t even planned the events for the next quarter.
Interested in such a solution? Then check this out.