Virtual events are here to stay and how. Over the past year, owing to the lockdowns and restrictions on gathering and movement, the world of event marketing underwent a sea change. As in-person meetings and industry events were brought to an unprecedented halt, organizations turned to virtual events, i.e., webinars, conferences, and trade shows held online to retain the momentum in networking, lead generation, and business development.
Virtual events have taken the industry by storm. They not only help organizations expand audience reach and promote attendee inclusivity but are relatively economical when compared to in-person events. Moreover, sustaining audience engagement is the primary goal here; therefore, organizers focus on rich and immersive content delivery.
Hence, even when the COVID-19 pandemic becomes a thing of the past, virtual events will supplement offline events and constitute a significant part of an organization’s marketing endeavours.
Let’s understand further.
Why are virtual events here to stay?
Virtual events marketing is budget-friendly. Organizers save the money otherwise spent on venue, travel, set-up, staff, meals, hotel, and much more. Moreover, speakers may offer discounts on their fees to offset the lack of travel. Additionally, marketers can generate many qualified leads at lower expenses, reducing the cost per lead in the process.
Virtual events are not limited by geography. Anyone from across the world can attend the event while sitting at home and jump on or off when needed. Also, organizations can aggressively market the event on social media channels, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and provide the event link on the company’s official website.
Audience experience is the foremost priority
Be it a simple webinar, a thought-leadership conference, a town hall, or a full-fledged seminar, virtual events demand experiences that build a strong connection with the attendees. Gartner predicts that by 2023, 60% of the companies that pivoted to virtual events will incorporate real-time or real-space experiences into their virtual events, including live streaming, virtual simultaneity, location-monitoring, etc.
Additionally, virtual networking rooms and Q&A booths enhance the attendee experience. With an opportunity to deliver such versatile and unique digital experiences to a potentially unlimited audience, virtual events promise maximum outreach for the company.
Marketers are free to choose the scale and type of event they want to hold (sales pitch, informational webinar, etc.), invite guest speakers from across the globe, and offer various language options.
The time required for planning and prepping for a virtual event is significantly less than for an offline event. While an in-person event may need 3-4 months to set up and execute, a virtual event can easily be organized within 4 to 5 weeks. Moreover, as seen above, participants needn’t travel and can attend the event from the comfort of their homes.
To gauge the event’s effectiveness, organizers can conduct real-time polls in-between sessions and collect attendee feedback. Moreover, by studying participant actions, including poll results, questions asked, and sessions attended, organizations can improve their content strategy and decide on future sales and marketing initiatives.
Marketers can study the data collected from virtual events and past insights from offline events to refine their marketing endeavours further.
A quick peek into some successful virtual events
1. A Fortune 500 Industrial Automation company hosts a virtual event
We helped a Fortune 500 Industrial Automation company host a closed-door virtual summit that engaged senior decision-makers and influencers and drove lead conversion. We seamlessly orchestrated and delivered a smooth ROI-driven event successfully within three weeks despite a short lead time.
The results? Before this engagement, the client spent an average of $150,000 per trade show and could generate 50-100 leads. However, the virtual event managed to generate 300+ qualified sales opportunities in four weeks, at a fraction of the expense of a full-fledged in-person event. Consequently, the ROI skyrocketed, and the cost-per-lead was reduced by 90%.
2. Salesforce World Tour Sydney Reimagined
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Salesforce decided to go digital with their World Tour Sydney Reimagined within a short time frame.
Even though the decision to host the event virtually was made in February, and it went live in March, the event garnered over a million video views and 80,000 live stream attendees.
With over 100 keynote and selected breakout sessions, the event focused on the company’s latest product innovations that help build connected customer experiences, the future of technology and its impact on businesses worldwide, and various customer success stories and delivered a day of innovation and inspiration.
3. The Adobe Summit
Given the social distancing protocols and movement restrictions, Adobe decided to take its annual summit virtual to introduce its newest product innovations and offerings instead of organizing an in-person conference.
Adobe delivered a seamless digital experience with a mere 25-day turnaround time and 100 pre-recorded sessions that eliminated live streaming hassles.
With the plethora of benefits they provide, virtual events are redefining the future of B2B marketing and are definitely here to stay.
However, their success depends mainly on outlining an effective strategy, picking the right marketing technology, creating impactful content, driving registrations, getting the logistics in place, and post-event conversion and nurturing.
If you want to organize a virtual marketing event and need expert assistance in execution and marketing, contact us, and we’ll be glad to assist you with it.