The events world has recently experienced a lot of change and companies are being forced to re-evaluate conference strategies as they navigate uncharted waters. All options are on the table, including postponing, canceling, or transitioning to a virtual or hybrid conference. In the short term, many companies are choosing to go virtual. The following five factors should be part of your strategic discussions when considering a virtual conference.
It begins and ends with the audience. Who are they? What are their demographics, psychographics, and technographics? What are their needs at this stage of the relationship? It’s important to understand who your audience is, both professionally and personally, in order to craft a virtual event that will work to meet their needs while accomplishing your goals at the same time. Things like comfort with technology, how people engage with others, professional passions or personal interests, and learning styles will guide you in creating the right content, engagement strategy, and delivery method.
Define your objective. What is the one thing you want to accomplish with a virtual event? In this new environment, focus is paramount to success. You’ll most likely have several benchmarks you’d like to achieve but choose one overarching goal and nail it. Everything else supports the main objective; it becomes the North Star to guide your event.
Design the experience around the audience and the objective. Now more than ever, it’s critical to think beyond the platform. Consider your audience’s desires and goals; use these to create innovative content delivery and engagement models that will draw your audience in as participants, and not just spectators. Needs and objectives drive content. Content drives format. Format drives platform. Not the reverse.
Entertain. High production value could be the answer but content curation and accessibility can up the ante. What can you do above and beyond the usual that puts your event on par with top-tier entertainment productions? To make your event truly remarkable, add experiences that your attendees cannot get anywhere else. That will make your virtual event the one that creates buzz – even outside your industry.
Think beyond the tactic. Completely virtual events might not be the right approach for your objectives or your audience’s needs; hybrid events may be more appropriate. Remember, this is about moving audience relationships forward so another digital tactic could be a better approach. Maybe a phone call? A peer conversation? Be smart about where you invest both now and in the long term. Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean it’s working, or it’s the right approach for you. Events, virtual or not, are points in time; relationships are points over time.
Whatever your goals or audience demands may be, we’re here to help – even if it means talking you out of a virtual event if it’s not the right thing to do for your brand.