Virtual Events Suck – so now what?

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13 May 2020

How to stop trying to recreate a physical event online, and let the real magic happen.

“All my means are sane, my motive and my object mad.” – Herman Melville, Moby Dick

After conversations with hundreds of marketers, I’ve come to the following conclusion: an effort to transition your field event schedule to a virtual event schedule and achieve the same energy and outcome is like chasing the Great White Whale – an exercise in futility. 

Marketing has missed the boat on creating truly immersive, engaging digital experiences. The term “virtual event” is tolerated, and is synonymous with hour-after-hour of WebEx or Zoom, chalked full of pre-recorded, one-way content delivery. A moderated Q&A is optional. Engagement is minimal. Without the bright lights and energy of an auditorium – the content falls flat. There is no magic, and the virtual event is a shell of the physical event it’s meant to replace. 

One thing is clear: A physical event cannot be replaced by a virtual one. Let’s leave that notion in the past, and step forward into 2020 and beyond. 

What if, instead of trying to recreate your field events in a virtual environment, you focused on creating digital experiences instead?

A digital experience succeeds by leveraging the attributes of a remote environment. A virtual event succeeds in-spite of them.  

A digital experience succeeds by leveraging the attributes of a remote environment.  A virtual event succeeds in-spite of them.  Attributes such as:

  • The removal of geographic boundaries
  • Unprecedented access to famous authors, actors and other personalities
  • The ability to interact on-demand with a broad pool of perspectives
  • Access to a more diverse set of experiences, unencumbered by logistics 
  • Advanced personalization and relatability by reaching people in their homes, home offices, or in various parts of their daily routine

The trends speak for themselves – research shows that content consumption is greater in a remote environment, and many organizations are seeing exponential growth in registrations for their online events (even with cost associated). The remote environment has created a hunger for information and interaction, and to top it off, the prevailing importance of work/life balance and disapproval of “hustle porn” has been highlighted by this era of self-isolation. 

With so many people sharing a similar work environment, the opportunity to create immersive, interactive digital experiences that engage people has never been more present. 

Digital experiences raise the bar for remote engagement by:

Focusing on multichannel content delivery 

  • Work with an interface that offers live streaming content alongside related static content with the ability for users to interact with one and other 
  • Use evergreen content as an opportunity experiment with augmented and virtual reality

Removing Barriers to Interactivity

  • Choreograph peer interaction by inviting vocal personalities and influencers to larger discussions with groups who might not know each other

Creating Special Moments

  • A whiskey tasting led by the company’s president and CEO
  • An Olympic medalist taking questions on work/life boundaries

Digital experiences are here to stay. Do them right. 

Now and in the future, digital experiences are part of the marketing plan. They should align to your marketing strategy and global campaign themes, have specific KPIs associated, and scale up or down depending on your objectives.

But most importantly, digital experiences should demonstrate the creativity and out-of-the-box thinking that will truly engage your remote audience. 

Steven Spielberg was recently quoted as saying, “We are living in a world where anything is possible. It will be imagination and innovation that gets us to the other side.”

When it comes to imagination and innovation, the landscape of virtual events is primed. Inverta is ready to get you to the other side. Contact us to learn more.

Ashley Shailer
By: Ashley Shailer
Ashley has spent more than ten years designing and implementing world-class demand creation and lead management strategies that leverage the latest in marketing technology. She’s held client-side and analyst roles in marketing systems and marketing operations, and consulting roles that leverage her unique expertise in lead nurturing, account-based plays, content, messaging, and social media strategy for more than 40 clients.

In her spare time, she can be found enjoying a good super hero movie, a solid single malt, and dessert (not necessarily in that order).
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Ashley Shailer
By: Ashley Shailer

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