Under: virtual events
by Ronn Levine
Events were certainly top of fold on the first day of BIMS 2020 yesterday, with a very popular Connections and Cocktails. Frank Salatto of Government Executive Media Group spoke of the success they've had pivoting to virtual. "There are new opportunities in the data you can collect and the leads you're able to deliver," he said. Here are some of the virtues of virtual events as we look to 2021.
Like many others, we pay tribute to the great host Alex Trebek with this challenging, 8-question BIMS 2020 quiz (Dec. 2-4). One other similarity with Jeopardy at BIMS is that we'll give you loads of answers and welcome all your questions! See how you rank here with your peers!
"Virtual events break down geographic barriers to attendance. Stretch your event across time zones so participants can experience it live wherever they are. Leverage digital conferencing platforms... that enable live captioning and translation for speaker remarks so audience members can view subtitles in their local language."
This morning I happened on a release posted by Craft Brewing Business titled, Here’s a How-to Guide on Virtually Attending PACK EXPO Connects Next Week. Although I do like craft beer, I found it because PACK EXPO is produced by PMMI Media Group, a member of our sister Connectiv division.
In a post on Skift’s Event Manager Blog today, Julius Solaris writes that we need a better business model for virtual events. “[These events] need to help brands keep the conversation alive while bringing in revenue. We risk losing track of the endgame if we get sucked into the vortex of free events without a solid business proposition for what we are doing.”
He gives six suggestions:
1. Decide whether you are a conference or a tradeshow.
2. Use a subscription model for ticketed events.
3. Build a community.
4. Reward live attendance.
5. Offer better content on demand.
6. Offer one-to-one meetings and networking.
Number two intrigues me. “One of the best ideas for ticketed events that happen regularly is to bundle them and offer subscriptions," Solaris writes. "As Netflix does with shows, planners should deal with events. Bundling creates more value than selling tickets for individual events.”
This strat ...
I wrote last week that there can be a lot to like about virtual events—global reach, access to more speakers, expanded Q&As. But one virtual events problem that’s not discussed as much—as say, the networking issue—that we don’t have for in-person events is getting registrants to actually attend. I mean, who isn’t going to Florida or California or Vegas after signing up and booking flights?
Reach for tough-to-get speakers. “For event planners, booking speakers becomes more flexible as well,” writes David Meerman Scott, who once keynoted a SIPA Conference. “Speakers (like myself) find ourselves booked out for events all across the globe, making it hard to squeeze in last-minute requests or adjust our schedules. With virtual events, we can deliver our content from a home studio. While speakers need to tailor their keynotes to create a unique experience specifically for the online medium, the added time of travel does not need to be a part of pre-speech preparation anymore.”
With publishers and media organizations still wary of charging too much for their virtual events—and some like this week’s Atlantic Festival charging nothing at all—sponsorships become that much more important to financial success. But should we be approaching sponsorships in the same way that we have for in-person events?
Two groups, Ricochet Advice and Bruce Rosenthal Associates, have partnered on a white paper to say no. Titled The New Sponsorship Model for Virtual Events, the report offers a new blueprint for recruiting your virtual event sponsors.
“During the pandemic, the traditional benefits offerings repurposed for virtual events are not likely to be of interest. The old way of courting sponsors has likely come to an end for most events and [organizations],” states the report. “An enhanced sponsorship approach that takes advantage of the unique characteristics of digital events to create better engagement between [ ...
In a just-released events survey, Sophie Holt, global strategy director, Explori, said: “Online and hybrid seem to have a complementary role to play alongside [in-person] events. Not only will they give reassurance to visitors who are concerned about safety in the short term, but still want to connect with their community, but they may also have an important role to play in bringing new audiences to established events.”
That was exactly the case for Pro Farmer’s first-ever virtual Crop Tour held last month, Joe May, their marketing and sales director, told me yesterday.
“It went really well. We went into it with no idea how well it would be received and were very pleased. We’re lucky enough to be part of Farm Journal, so their TV crew produced a really professional looking broadcast for us each of the four nights. We never had a live broadcast component before."