Insight: Issue 24 (9th December)
Two words: absolute legend.
Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week, was the first person in the world to be given the Pfizer COVID-19 jab as part of a mass vaccination programme. Her message to others who are unsure about getting the injection?…“Go for it.”
In other news: is it time to stop serving alcohol at events? (*gasp*); how COVID-19 is changing the industry (the abbreviated version); 5 new tech inventions for a COVID world; how to promote your virtual event; 7 key takeaways from the (Almost) HYBRID summit; and yet more reasons why hybrid events are the future.
Is it time to stop serving alcohol at events?
This one might hurt a little, so we’re getting it out of the way first…Event Manager Blog is posing a controversial question, is it time to ditch the booze at events? Happy hours have long been a staple of networking activities at live events, but this doesn’t transfer so well to the virtual scene. And now that we’ve learned to cope without it, some event profs are questioning whether it should even be reintroduced when hybrid events take over.
Ironically, the biggest reason to serve alcohol at events is also the biggest reason not to: it reduces people’s inhibitions. Though it might be everyone’s favourite social lubricant, booze and social distancing just don’t mix, and you can’t wear a mask whilst sipping on a cocktail. Not to mention, alcohol undermines professional networking. This is always true—pandemic or no pandemic—but considering hybrid events are recorded, most people won’t be keen on the idea of their alcohol-induced conversations being broadcast over the internet.
So yeah, that’s given us some food (and drink) for thought.
COVID-19 and how it’s changing the industry
Next up, events company Reed Exhibitions has released a new whitepaper on how COVID-19 is changing the events industry. It’s 15,000 pages long. (Just kidding, it’s only 15.)
They spoke to nearly 3,000 exhibitors, and over 9,000 attendees across 201 events, to find out key concerns and behaviours, and to track changing attitudes to physical events and digital technology over time. They’ve kindly made their findings available to everyone, offering valuable insights into how event profs might reshape events to fuel long-term profitability and growth. Here are 3 key takeaways to get you started:
- COVID-19 is accelerating changes in consumer behaviour. 84% of visitors and exhibitors have tried at least 1 new digital service since lockdown, and engagement with these digital tools increases with familiarity and exposure.
- The pandemic has not diminished the value of in-person events. Throughout the survey period, the importance of events has remained consistent for both exhibitors and visitors.
- Customers are increasingly open to the idea of hybrid events. 65% of visitors and 57% of exhibitors believe digital elements will continue to be valuable during live events when they return.
5 new tech inventions for a COVID world
Speaking of change, the finalists for IBTM World Virtual’s prestigious TechWatch Live Award have been announced and, unsurprisingly, most are companies with solutions to pressing pandemic-related challenges. So, if you want to know more about the event tech companies making waves in the industry right now, check out the nominees:
- Pubsphere Exhibits—a wearable device that reminds attendees to maintain physical distancing.
- Troop—a big-data analysis tool that compares event locations based on risk factors, like travel restrictions and COVID-19 rates.
- ConsenseIQ—an online polling tool that encourages virtual event attendees to collaborate.
- CLIPr—a video-viewing platform that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to create searchable recaps of event recordings.
- Socio—an event management platform for virtual, hybrid, and in-person events.
How to promote your virtual event
Arguably, it’s harder to promote a virtual event than a live one. That’s because, in an online environment, you’re not just competing with similar brands; you’re also competing with different industries, big media companies, social media apps, videos games, and the list goes on and on…That means you’ll need a well-thought-out strategy to cut through the noise. Event Planner has you covered with 5 steps to get your event noticed online.
- Step 1—Create a standalone brand for your online event. This will give you greater flexibility, so you can transform your event into an unstoppable marketing machine.
- Step 2—Design an event-related email signature. It might seem small and insignificant, but just think of the sheer number of contacts your team communicates with daily.
- Step 3—Write guest posts with an event registration CTA. Partner with sponsors and write high-quality content for their websites, targeted towards their audience; then follow this up with a strong call-to-action to register for your event.
- Step 4—Run an online event outbound campaign. Don’t wait for people to come to you. Instead, encourage your team to reach out to other professionals in their LinkedIn network and spread the word about your event.
- Step 5—Use remarketing and online event banners. Create a few different types of simple-but-striking online banner ads, then use remarketing to test what works and what doesn’t.
7 takeaways from the (Almost) HYBRID summit
Last week, almost 6,000 event marketers from all over the world tuned in for The Bizzabo Blog’s (Almost) HYBRID virtual summit, where attendees discussed the hybrid future of the events industry. If you missed it, fear not—here are 7 key takeaways from the event:
- Tech providers will play a pivotal role in the future of events.
- Promote engagement by shifting your focus to the virtual audience.
- Learn how to engage attendees by putting yourself in their shoes.
- Captivate your audience with highly curated, interactive content.
- Impactful events promote co-creativity and authenticity.
- The best way to embrace diversity is to make it your top priority.
- The most successful hybrid events strategies will be adaptive.
And if you’ve got a little more time, you can read the full summary here.
The future is hybrid (déjà vu?)
Have we told you lately that the future is hybrid? Yes? 5 seconds ago? Okay then.
If you’re fed up of us saying it, then listen to someone else instead. Senior marketers from telecoms giant Ericsson spoke at ‘The Future is Lively’, a virtual event organised by marketing agency Lively. Their main message? That COVID-19 has accelerated a move towards hybrid events. Michiel Pool, Global Head of Events at Ericsson, commented:
“We see the future as a perfect blend of the physical and digital elements of the experience. For us, the physical part, and human interaction, are key to our business and will remain crucial in the hybrid experience.”
Mark Mitchell, Co-Founder of Lively, ended the event on a positive note: “The future is live and connected.”
That’s deep, Mark. Real deep.
No *you’re* a broken record!