VIRTUAL VS IN-PERSON EVENTS - and what to consider
Updated: Sep 24, 2020
While we wait for live events to come back, staying engaged with customers through virtual events is crucial. Activations, launches, demos, and conferences are necessary for brand awareness and growing your community. These events allow you to get fresh content directly to your customers, and connect with them, and should be part of your marketing strategy.
Virtual experiences and events are also extremely valuable for employee morale. A Gallup study found that companies who invest in team bonding activities outperform their competition. Close work friendship boost employee satisfaction by 50%, increasing productivity (and therefore profit) as well as reducing turnover.
Virtual Events are drastically different than Live Events – everything from staffing to budget to program need to be adjusted to create an impactful experience that will impact your attendees the way a live event would. Below we’re breaking down what you should consider when planning a virtual event.
PROGRAM: As with any event, having a clear understanding of your event’s objectives will allow you to create the most engaging program. Remember that folks can only handle so much time sitting in front of the computer – developing impactful content through a variety of media (videos, gifs, etc) and managing timing is vital to keep your audience engaged.
- Instead of all day sessions, think about scaling everything back to a max of 3 hours, with breaks and breakouts every 45 minutes
- While it might be tempting to do a large virtual event (given the possibility of global reach), consider curating events targeting very specific segments of customers. Studies have shown that 10% of the people attend events for content, 40% to engage with speakers, and 50% to socialize with other attendees. This means that by creating opportunity for your attendees to engage with others you will provide the highest ROI for these attendees, increasing sense of community and brand validity.
PLATFORM: Consider your platform as the new “venue”. Your attendee size, program/agenda, media needs, and budget will all need to be considered. Are you broadcasting? Are you playing pre-recorded content? Do you have speakers/performers that need to will be streaming? Not all platforms are created equally.
STAFFING: A virtual event requires a completely different set of skills than a live event production team brings, and usually requires a lot more staff. A virtual event needs everything from a lead producer for the overall event, a sub group of lead producers for every virtual space (main room, breakout sessions, etc), assistant producers to moderate Q+A/chat boxes, media content managers, tech support, community moderator, and talent/speaker management. And keep mind that for every different “stage”, breakout session “room” and exhibit hall, you’ll need to have a lead producer, an assistant producer, and tech support for sure.
BUDGET: The budget allocation for a virtual event is very different from a live event. On the expense side, the largest ticket item is no longer the venue and food+bev – it’s now technology and associated staffing. The size of your event and the structure of your program will drive whether you’ll be using an all-in-one platform or getting one custom built. On the revenue side, sponsorships and event ticket prices also need to be reassessed. Coming up with creative solutions for VIP experiences and exhibits to achieve successful sponsorship levels is key.
At Studio DBI, we’ve produced numerous virtual events – everything from a large conference for the United States of Women to the virtual launch of Pakaloh’s online platform to corporate virtual happy hours. We’ve got our finger on the pulse for the latest technology and have a fully staffed team that is ready to consult on platforms, budgets, staffing, engaging programs, and production. Marketing events and employee engagement are two very important pieces to any business thriving in today’s world, so reach out to us to chat about your needs.