Insight: Issue 13 (23rd September)
Are you ready. . .for another survey?
Because we’ve got one for you either way. Don’t say we’re not good to you.
Today’s insight is also bringing you: a plea from the night-time industry for government support; the debate around charging for virtual events (AKA, the elephant in the Zoom room); taking that debate one step further with 8 virtual sponsorship ideas; the low-down on how to create virtual events with post-COVID staying power; and an exploration of what events will look like once there’s a vaccine…*stares wistfully into space*…
Oh yes, it’s another events industry survey. . .
As everyone in our industry is painfully aware, there are still large gaps in emergency COVID funding for live event workers. That’s why the Scottish Live Events Network have put together a comprehensive survey (yes, another one!) with the aim of highlighting these deficits and, ultimately, securing adequate funding. The results will help to inform and put pressure on the UK and Scottish Governments, as well as the relevant funding organisations. Also, FYI, the survey is anonymous and all info gathered will be averaged; that means no individual answers will be used publicly (excluding the comments).
And yes, we know you’re probably sick of the sight of surveys at this point—but we also all know how important they are right now. So please, head on over there and fill it in.
Impending collapse of the night-time economy
Yesterday’s confirmation of a new 10pm curfew for the hospitality sector is another devastating blow to the UK’s night-time economy. Even before this announcement, the Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA) was warning that over 700k jobs in the industry could be lost within weeks without urgent government intervention. Without a ‘road-map’ to reopening or any sector-specific support, the end of the furlough scheme could be the final blow for many businesses. Michael Kill, CEO of the NTIA, commented:
“The night-time economy alone has been hugely damaged by the coronavirus pandemic and is on the brink of collapse and an onslaught of redundancies…We are reaching a critical point and without decisive and comprehensive action from the Government, businesses will be forced to make tough decisions about their futures and those of their staff.”
The elephant in the Zoom room: paid vs. free
To pay or not to pay (for virtual events)—that is the question. And the answer? Well, that bit’s not as easy. The debate rages on about whether or not virtual events should be monetised, and about how that decision affects marketing strategy. Smart Meetings have addressed the issue (or the elephant, if you will) by walking us through the value of charging for a virtual event vs. running it for free.
These are some of the key takeaways:
- If your gut reaction is to make your virtual event free, remember that there is value in your content; giving it away FOC may reduce that perceived value, making it harder to monetise events in the future.
- In a similar vein, charging for a virtual event can create a sense of exclusivity—suggesting that you are offering content that isn’t available anywhere else. FOMO is real, people.
- A *huge* benefit to monetising virtual events is that there is no cap on attendance—and that means no cap on potential revenue (assuming you can sell tickets, of course).
- And be warned…choosing not to monetise your virtual event removes the sense of commitment. In other words, attendees won’t lose out if they don’t turn up.
That said, if you don’t want to charge attendees for entry, there is another way to monetise your event—sponsorship. Which leads nicely onto the next item on our agenda, almost like we planned it…
8 virtual event sponsorship ideas
With 90% of marketing profs planning to invest in virtual and hybrid events in 2020, now’s the time to build sponsor partnerships, to make sure those events achieve that all-important ROI. To get you started, the Bizzabo Blog have rounded up 8 sponsorship ideas for virtual events:
- Virtual sponsor booths—allowing sponsors to engage with attendees 1:1.
- Sponsor web pages—a dedicated space to share a sponsor’s mission, messaging, products, and brand design.
- In-app splash screens—displaying sponsor logos when launching your event app.
- In-app sponsored offers—helping sponsors capture warm leads.
- Sponsored tracks & sessions—giving your sponsor the tools and the platform to showcase their brand.
- Sponsored promo codes—a great way to drive event registrations.
- Pre-roll videos & ads—showcasing your sponsors while you have your attendees’ undivided attention, right before the session.
- Email promos—branded communication by email, an oldie but a goodie.
The article also highlights some value propositions for persuading sponsors to partner with your event (brand awareness, audience insights, engagement, etc.)—so it’s well worth a read.
Creating virtual experiences with staying power
It goes without saying that we’re all looking forward to the triumphant return of in-person events—but that doesn’t mean their virtual cousins will fall by the wayside. There are *so many benefits* to virtual events, and those won’t disappear when there’s a COVID vaccine. So, with that in mind, how do we create virtual experiences that don’t just cater for now, but actually have staying power?
Event Industry News has a few ideas for championing virtual experiences and engaging audiences through this era of continued digitisation. The article highlights the importance of transforming physical experiences into digital; really drilling down to what your virtual event is and how it should live. (In other words, simply trying to replicate a live experience on the Internet isn’t going to cut it.) It also reminds us that content is always king. So virtual event planners should focus on creating content that is meaningful to their target audience, and triggers an emotional response. Harder to do online, but by no means impossible.
What will events look like post-vaccine?
To end on a forward-thinking and…dare we say it…positive note—let’s think about what events will look like once there’s a vaccine.
According to Event Manager Blog, event planners think a vaccine is the only way out of the event industry’s current predicament. And with the world’s greatest scientific minds getting us closer to that vaccine every day, event profs might as well start planning now—because planning is what we do, goddammit. EMB has outlined a timeline for a potential virus rollout, going all the way up to Q4 of 2021, with suggestions around what each development means for events. So, if you’re as keen as us to finally meet F2F, you’d better get reading.