Disrupted Events – Digital to the Rescue

In the past 12 months, sales and marketing moved to using communication tools like Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, and the rapidly growing Zoom.

In this article, I’ll explore how digital events are being disrupted, and suggest an insights-driven approach to nurture sustainable connections that drive long-term value.

Marketers and sales teams in the technology sector have traditionally relied heavily on live events, trade shows, and industry conferences for branding and to sell, but post-pandemic all this has changed. Research from Bizzabo shows the massive impact that the Coronavirus has had, with most businesses being forced to pivot, postpone, or cancel events.

93% of Bizzabo’s sample of 400 marketing leaders say that virtual events will be a mainstay in the future. In the past, this was a mere 26%.

Live streaming is increasing dramatically. A global survey by the Interactive Advertising Bureau shows that almost 50% of viewers are streaming more live video than they did last year. And we already know from TechJury research in July 2020 that video has a huge impact on consumers.

Event managers need to rethink their approach. A good real-world event is intended to engage with participants and generate ‘coverage’ in traditional media and social media. Create memorable experiences for the attendees that lead to conversations about the brand in their community.

Technology provides opportunities for event organisers that have not yet been fully exploited. Take webinars — these are traditionally one or two people having a casual chat or making a heavy sales pitch. And they go on far too long. But what if you were to host a webinar with several participants, each having a limited time to present their piece, with an arbitrator then taking questions from the audience, in real-time? This can and has been done. The online event by Global Citizen, called One World Together at Home, featured artists from around the world and raised thousands for the World Health Organisation. Different performances, done live by artists around the world, were interspersed with pre-prepared video segments.

All in all, winning at events when everything has gone online requires businesses to rethink their strategy, not only when it comes to their target audience and determining what content is relevant, but also in ensuring it reaches the right people and adds value. Research clearly shows that the events industry has been disrupted and that virtual conferences and live streaming are here to stay. Knowing this, it makes sense to master this vital part of your marketing mix. The good news is that digital events are now data-driven and analytics rich, which means you can use this marketing tactic to better understand and build relationships with the audiences that matter most to your business.

About the Author

Danielle Salvatori is Commercial Manager at Right On The Line. Right On The Line is ready to help you deliver great engagements that make the most of your budget and deliver results. Get in touch with me today for more information about our services.