This could rightly be called “the year of the hybrid,” as more brands add virtual components to expand, enhance and increase the success of their physical event programs. The hybrid model, which combines physical events with a virtual component, offers brand marketers a win-win event, as it combines the face-to-face interaction of a live, physical event with the convenience, cost savings and expanded reach and interactivity of virtual technology.
Everywhere you look, whether in the boardroom or the local wifi café, people are texting, tweeting and filming their thoughts and opinions. The explosion of social and networking technology adoption has exceeded all expectations and become just a part of life for millions. It is no surprise then that the world of event marketing has also been transformed by these technologies – with more and more events now combining online and offline elements.
New Revenue Streams, Qualified Leads Dominate Business Priorities
According to the Event Marketing Institute (EMI), 80 percent of marketing executives surveyed say their top business priority is generating new revenue; more than one-third gave top billing to generating new leads. Increasing event attendance, awareness and reducing costs are also priorities for over 50% of those surveyed.
Hybrid events, leveraging virtual event technology, can play a key role in achieving all of these goals.
As the economy shifts emphasis from cost control to revenue and attendance growth, leading organizations have recognized that creating hybrid events can dramatically increase event attendance and leverage existing event investments by engaging online audiences and archiving content that would otherwise be lost for educational and revenue generating purposes. In fact, some hybrid and virtual events have actually delivered higher knowledge and learning scores than their physical counterparts could alone.
As a result, event marketers have an unparalleled opportunity to further innovate within existing event marketing strategies and tactics by using virtual events to maximize the impact of their existing physical events. Virtual events have already become an important complement to expand the reach and effectiveness of many physical event marketing programs. Forty percent of marketing executives surveyed by EMI said they are already employing hybrid events, defined as an event with both virtual and physical components.
An Opportunity to Educate
Virtual event platform providers have a prime opportunity to educate event marketers about how to most effectively plan, execute and measure virtual events and integrate the technology into their existing physical event programs. In particular, there is an opportunity to help brands establish more appropriate metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), since one of the key benefits of hosting or participating in a virtual event is the attendee performance and behavioral data that can be collected and analyzed. By leading this education process, virtual event providers can allay existing misperceptions and work with brand marketers to demonstrate how physical events can become more compelling and effective when coupled with a virtual component.
Read about Best Practices for your Hybrid Events.