7 Showstopping Benefits of Taking Your Event Virtual

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Marketing Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Marketing pros

Monday, November 16, 2020

Covid-19 has flipped B2B selling on its head. Since offices and venues were closed and employees sent home en masse in early 2020, the in-person events and meetings that formed the crucial nucleus of your brand’s marketing mix are no longer viable.

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7 Showstopping Benefits of Taking Your Event Virtual

The need for remote working and digital solutions has seen the emergence of what Gartner calls the ‘distance economy’. Within this, virtual events have risen to the fore as a way of continuing to reap the benefits of in-person ones, and there are a growing number of enterprises taking their events online.

While we all crave the interpersonal connection that live events and face to face meetings can bring, the digital trends now underway mean virtual events are here to stay, and can be just as rewarding – if not more so – in terms of networking, demand generation and sales acceleration.

Here are just a few of the show stopping benefits of taking your event digital:

1. More senior audience

Virtual events offer a better return on time investment for the C-suite executives that attend them. Events focused around critical challenges, education and solutions will, in turn, draw a highly qualified audience of enterprise buyers, on the lookout for value-adding insight. By taking your event digital, you can reach out to key decision makers, boosting demand generation among the people with the power to pull the trigger on deals, accelerating your sales pipeline.

2. More committed audience

Given that your virtual event audience is drawn by the need to tackle the commercial climate challenges of their own organization, they’ll come with an end goal in mind, and that makes your audience as a whole more committed.

The virtual reality experience abolishes geographical restrictions and reduces the amount of time needed to invest in attending, meaning your audience will be able to stay for the full 3 days (or however long your event is) with no distractions, bonding over shared problems and the insights your content offers.

3. More engaged audience

Both sponsors and delegates are able to truly shape the conversation during content session, encouraging interaction and tailoring virtual events to foster greater engagement among the audience. Like in-person events, but with greater control, virtual summits allow attendees to amplify their own brand/voice by ‘taking the stage’ in Q&A sessions or telling their own story in digital roundtables.

A more engaged audience is more likely to connect with your brand proposition and come away from the event with a full understanding of how it can add value to their own organization.

There’s an added internal benefit here, too. Virtual events can bring sales and marketing teams into closer alignment by delivering qualified leads for your sales team to follow up on.

4. Increased urgency and cooperation

The present market disruption caused by the pandemic has presented B2B buyers and sellers alike with an increased urgency to complete projects and find short and long term solutions. Virtual events bring both sides of the table together and enable them to cooperate with more purpose and      pace, working to define strategy and solutions going forward.

What that means for you, as a virtual event host or sponsor, is the ability to build a mutually beneficial community around your solution and establish your organization as a thought leader within that space.

5. Better delegate/sponsor meetings

As a result of the shared content experience delivered by virtual events, rapport between attendees is accelerated and a higher level of interest is generated, driven by the opportunity for individual contribution.

This quality of connection is vital to the success of any event – virtual or otherwise – but with the ability to use data and a greater control over the event environment, online summits can deliver richer, more rewarding delegate/sponsor meetings.

While the ‘distance economy’ is no doubt here to stay, and digital selling set to become the norm, it’s still vital to maintain a human connection, and virtual events, tailored to the needs of their attendees, can deliver that.

6. Greater visibility of impact for sponsors

One area where virtual events are better than in-person ones is the ability to monitor and analyze the engagement of your audiences in greater depth. Everything can be recorded, giving sponsors the chance to analyze who it was that heard their message, who interacted the most with it and who gained the greatest benefit from the content delivered.

Crucially, they can also analyze and react in real time to those attendees that want to do business with them, offering a holy grail for sales acceleration. In the ‘new normal’, the ability to gather and use detailed sales intelligence is crucial in the B2B space.

7. Continuous measurable value

Virtual events provide the opportunity for continuous and measurable value-adding marketing and      sales activities, delivered via follow-up meetings. This can benefit sponsors and delegates alike, driving a progressive sales pipeline for sponsors and facilitating better, faster solutions for delegates.

In addition, the rich data that can be harnessed from digital events allows a more focused and productive analysis and adjustment phase, empowering sponsors/organizers to continually improve events, delivering exponentially better results. This phase is a crucial part of the virtual event process. Not only does it ensure the content delivered at the event doesn’t go to waste, but it will enable you to plan and execute the next event to perfection.

With a proliferation of advanced meeting solutions emerging to meet the needs of the distance economy, and established virtual event providers on hand to guide virtual event beginners, it’s never been easier – or more important – to reap the benefits of online events. Gartner estimates that virtual events are going to continue to rise in importance over the next 5 years, A GDS and IFP survey of over 200 high-level executives and directors revealed that 80% of respondents were planning at least six virtual events in 2021. With all of the benefits we’ve listed here, it’s not hard to see why.

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