A common misconception by first-time virtual event organizers is that digital is easier to execute than in-person. But the reality is virtual is just a different beast. A digital execution requires a heavy lift and is a rapidly transforming channel that is still heavily experimental. Rather than trying to force the trappings of what happened in person into an online experience, the most successful companies have reinvented their entire program and strategy from start to finish.
As the organizer of the massive Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the Consumer Technology Association started from scratch in preparation for the fully virtual January 2021 event. “We had to shift our mindset away from producing a physical show,” said Jean Foster, senior vice president of marketing and communications. “Like any organization, we had a playbook on how to approach CES. We’re ripping up our playbook via marketing, via our content, via our sales, and via sales engagement, because physical is a very different experience and we’re really creating a new playbook for a digital environment.”
Ideally, marketers should throw out the in-person roadmap and devise a virtual event strategy from the ground up. eMarketer identified three key best practices for event marketers rewriting the playbook:
“Marketers must recognize that a virtual event is a marketing activity that takes place based upon the marketing goal,” said Peter Micciche, CEO of enterprise event management software company Certain. “Are you trying to accelerate a sales cycle? Are you trying to educate your community? Are you trying to penetrate a new marketplace? Are you trying to get customers to upsell? Those are all different objectives and they all require a different strategy and a different approach.”
To get a virtual event off the ground, marketers should use the event life cycle to break planning and logistics into three stages: the pre-event, the event experience, and the post-event.
Join us at our upcoming webinar to hear more from Jillian Ryan, eMarketer principal analyst at Insider Intelligence, on how to break through virtual event burnout, engage your audience, and maximize dollars. Click here to reserve your seat.