There’s been a fair amount of talk about Virtual Events recently, but it’s nothing new – it’s been around for a better part of a decade. But with dropping costs of implementation and better distribution channels, Virtual events are now a strong contender for being a marketer’s darling. Are Virtual events the future for our industry? Let’s dig a little deeper.
Here’s what makes Virtual Events appealing:
Low cost of attending:
In most B2B scenarios, your ideal attendees are not restricted to just one geographic location. Some might be really interested in the topics that you are discussing, but the time, cost and effort required to attend would be prohibitive.
Virtual events remove these obstacles. The event would either be live-streamed or recorded, so attendees can comfortably engage with the event at their convenience.
Increased shelf life of event:
Undertaking a B2B event entails a considerable cost. So who wouldn’t want to squeeze every last bit of value from it?. You can record your speakers, and then market it as an on-demand webinar on your website to attract more leads (in addition to the ones you got at the actual event). Speaking of which…
Increased attendance means more leads
One way you can show ROI for your events is through the number of closures that you garner from the event. With virtual events, you’ll have more people engaging with your brand both online and offline. So it’s fair to assume that you can expect more qualified leads from your event when it is supplemented with a virtual event. A virtual event has far lesser costs as well, so you will end up on top.
So that’s why Virtual Events are great. Now, here’s what you should watch out for:
Physical presence still reigns
Communication is more effective when the listener trusts the speaker. But studies show that electronic communication has lower trust rates than face-to-face interactions. And business deals are closed based on the level of trust that’s present in the room. No doubt, there have been thousands of deals which have closed without the people never meeting each other, but face-to-face improves your chances of closing.
No Networking at Virtual Events
And the core of B2B events is the serendipitous networking that you can take part in. The chance meetings that lead to closures are noticeably absent in a virtual event because the participant is in a silo with little or no chance of chatting up other attendees at the single-origin coffee counter.
The tactile feel of a real event
Event manager spends a lot of time and money in making sure that the experience that their customers have are tailored exactly how they want. This is incredibly limited with Virtual Events, where a spotty internet connection could derail the customer’s experience. Also, being in the midst of the event – the energy, the emotions the multitude of feelings – Virtual technology has not caught up to encapsulate this inside a screen. Yet.
The Bottom Line:
We’re sure that Physical events are here to stay. Humans are social creatures, and like to come together to talk business. This is not to say that Virtual events will not increase in scope and volume in the future.
It’s similar to the case of ebooks and physical books. There are numerous advantages to going completely digital, but after the initial tumult, it all settled down. People still craved the tactile feel of books, so now there’s the peaceful coexistence between digital and print books.
Events are similar. The real-time events will be the epicenter, and Virtual events will supplement the event, which will increase in scope, as the technology improves.
For more insights on B2B events and event marketing, visit the Jifflenow blog.