In the last few weeks, day-to-day life has changed drastically, and it seems like the world has been turned upside down. I have been in the event industry for seven years and have never encountered such a desperate need to implement pivot strategies in such a short period of time. Trade shows, conferences, game nights, and dinners have now been turned into digital events forcing marketers and event planners to question: How do live experiences translate into digitally immersive experiences that are still engaging and keep people coming back for more?
We live in an era of integration; our telecommunication networks and computer systems allow us to communicate with people across the globe. In this technologically advanced world, it is now easier than ever to reimagine every one of these highly impactful and engaging live events in a digital format. The real task is determining how to keep these targets engaged and how to keep the conversation going long after the online event has passed. Expectations are rising— getting prospects to attend and keeping them engaged is increasingly challenging for live and digital events alike.
While the shift may prove to be challenging at first, there are many benefits associated with going digital, including:
- Sustainability – the carbon footprint is very small
- Reduced cost – no booth, no labor, no shipping, no vendors (other than the online platform)
- The potential for more personalized engagement as these events tend to have a smaller audience
- It’s easier to target specific accounts
- More opportunities for Q & A
- You can reach a larger audience globally – no need for travel and additional expenses
As more and more events become digital, we’ll see organizations utilizing the following tools and formats to keep people engaged and connected:
- Live Stream: Here at SADA, we have launched a new weekly live stream series in the spirit of service and not selling. Suite Bits: Meet the Experts are short 20-minute videos that provide a high-level overview of the different collaboration tools in G Suite and give you tips and tricks to help ease the transition to remote work. Each video is also available on demand following the live stream.
- Google Meet: Staying connected is easy with Google Meet. Now available to every organization (free until September 30th), the enterprise-grade video conferencing platform enables you to have video meetings with anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time—all from any computer or mobile device. Host meetings with up to 250 people, or broadcast with Livestream to up to 100,000 people. You can find out more about this offer here.
- Virtual Happy Hours: That’s right—I said it: happy hour. You can now have a virtual happy hour and send actual drinks. With so many delivery services that will actually send alcoholic beverages, it is easy to share a drink in your own homes. This is a great way to connect and just unwind and relax in this time of uncertainty. It is also a great way to socialize and not feel so stuck at home.
- Pre-recorded Video: One of the easiest ways to have a digital event is to send out a pre-recorded video. If you are able to create something relevant that doesn’t require a specific time for others to join, this is a great way to get your message out to customers.
It is a pivotal point for businesses to start thinking outside the box and thinking more about how to leverage the cloud to keep people connected in innovative ways. It’s time to be strategic as technology is evolving and customer needs are shifting the trajectory of event planning, as well as current health and social concerns surrounding this pandemic. At the end of the day, to achieve a competitive advantage, businesses must keep up with innovations that enable them to pivot effectively.