Last year, many companies were not able to hold seminars, congresses and trade fairs as usual as face-to-face events. The course of the pandemic shows that with a high probability the lockdown can last until the end of the year. This means that most of the events for 2021 must also be planned and implemented as a virtual event, or at least should be thought of in parallel. The latter means that seminars, congresses and trade fairs are basically planned as so-called hybrid events, i.e. scheduled virtually and supplemented with classic, analogue offers if appropriate relaxation is required. Either way, organizers will not be able to avoid dealing with the topic of virtual events in 2021 either.
As an organizer, how do I approach the topic of virtual events? What technical requirements do I need to create? Which technologies are the most suitable? How do I generate the greatest acceptance among my customers?
Success factors of virtual events
Many organizers make the mistake and try to implement the classic format 1: 1 on the net. This does not work or only insufficiently. The visitor behavior is different on the web than in a face-to-face event. If an offer is not liked, the participants disappeared online with one click. Have you ever experienced at an offline event that the participants left the lecture hall in rows? Probably not or very rarely. In a virtual event, however, this can happen very quickly.
All participants (visitors, exhibitors, organizers) expect added value to the classic offer from a (supplementary website). This means that a virtual event has to be planned and prepared differently and much more precisely. The work processes are different. This also means that other forms of customer support are used.
Clearly define objectives
Basically, all digital offers are much more thorough to plan than analog events. This means that the goals are also very clearly defined, preferably in the story format, as known from agile project management. What do I want to achieve? What exactly should my target group do? What should the participants take away from the virtual event? How should they interact? How can customer loyalty be built?
Tailor your virtual event to your target group
Virtual offers are much more precisely tailored to the target groups. This starts with the choice of the technology(s) used and their functions and ends with the methodology and content. The event platform must be intuitive to use and accessible as conveniently as possible via the browser or mobile. Interactions must also be well thought out and adapted to the participants.
In addition to the technology, which must be intuitive to use and work well, it is the content and its media presentation. The demands of users have become higher in recent years. A bad tone is particularly unpleasant for everyone involved. Varied productions, meaningful pictures and videos and sometimes a strong musical sound are also expected. Above all, it is important to provide variety. And it must not become too much. It is important to hit the right mix.
Event format and budget
It does not always have to be a virtual event in 3D format. 3D platforms are more expensive to use and require different knowledge and skills in the team. However, there are target groups, especially younger people with a diverse media experience background, who expect certain incentives and react bored if they are not offered.
The event format and the design of the virtual event are therefore highly dependent on the budget used. The necessary skills for complex productions are often not available within the company. External specialists must be consulted.
This does not mean that a virtual event cannot be financed with on-board funds. It always depends on what my target group expects and what I want to achieve.
Team and scheduling
The amount of work is underestimated because the work processes are new and therefore not known. This is especially taken into account when planning and implementing the first virtual event. An agile approach is recommended. Employees not only have to learn to deal with new media and technologies, they also have to adapt their work processes to the virtual event. Individual learning experiences and coordination requirements must be taken into account during the first few times and scheduled in time. Not all the necessary skills are available in the team.
The team ventures into unknown terrain and is correspondingly nervous. Experienced event managers and process facilitators support the learning process and make a decisive contribution to the success of the first own digital events.
Come to us with questions. We are happy to advise you.