In its purest form, technology helps bridge gaps between users and their desired outcomes — whether they seek convenience, efficiency, or togetherness.
All three of those objectives are a high priority for event marketers. That’s especially true as they used whatever solutions were available to stay connected to their audiences during the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s why event marketing software company Banzai recently raised $15 million in venture funding and acquired platforms like High Attendance and Demio to service its more than 3,000 customers and 100 employees. The Seattle-based startup understood the need to expand its services to cater to audience members’ evolving needs.
The need to invest in a full breadth of technology solutions isn’t lost on event marketers. As brands continue to embrace virtual and hybrid gatherings, these resources will become invaluable parts of your marketing toolbox.
The Influence of Tech on Future Events
According to a recent Bizzabo study, 93% of event marketers will integrate virtual events into their repertoires in the future. Technology’s impact on how brands embrace these gatherings falls into a couple of buckets:
• Infrastructure. Virtual and hybrid event marketing rests on the quality of solutions you have. Technology provides the foundation for brands to facilitate great events. It’s also a reasonably simple infrastructure to maintain as long as a consistent internet connection keeps disruptions to a minimum. Ideally, there should be a secondary broadband connection available as a backup.
Be it videoconference tools, messaging platforms, or full-scale systems that help with end-to-end virtual event management, these all combine to simplify the process for all involved.
• Communication. Virtual events mean attendees worldwide must connect to the event’s messaging to get maximum impact.
Tech establishes the digital overlays on top of live streams so audience members can have real-time interactions with the event’s content. Consumers can also use social media to comment on or participate in sessions to replicate in-person experiences.
These two tenets are essential to putting on an event that engages attendees from both near and far. Continued investment and refinement of event marketing tech is vital for hosting gatherings that resonate with attendees while keeping them excited to return.
Adopt Tech That Makes Your Virtual Event Pop
Are you searching for solutions to help your virtual or hybrid event run smoothly? Try the following strategies:
1. Pick an event type. Your event is likely trying to accomplish a goal. Look at that goal and determine whether your in-person event even needs a virtual component. For example, are you looking to expand the awareness of your product or service to international attendees who typically have not visited your events in person? As you answer those questions, your tech needs should come into focus.
If you’re running a hybrid event (e.g., trade shows, conference, etc.), you’ll have a mixture of in-person and virtual attendees. First, survey everyone to assess their solution needs. Then, use these answers to start imagining a tech stack that engages all of your guests.
2. Consider your at-home audience. As those answers come in, separate who is local versus who will be at home. Get a read on your virtual target demographic and look for ways to get them interested.
When possible, give them a behind-the-scenes taste to avoid causing at-home attendees to feel left out. Use your tech to fill in that gap; if your event is a video game tournament, for instance, you could offer on-demand player stats or selectable player POVs to give virtual attendees more viewing angles.
3. Outfit your event accordingly. Once you’ve identified your event and people have signed up for it, get the tools you need to make it a great experience. Look for tools that engage virtual attendees and make them feel connected from afar.
Provide overlay, gamification chances, and product offers. You might even opt for a reverse stream that allows those at home to stream themselves or their group back into the physical event. The idea is to put on an event that leaves them feeling like they’re right there with you — even when they aren’t.
Virtual and hybrid events will be more of the norm, even as we return to some form of the pre-pandemic standard. Consider how technology can help your gathering connect with in-person and at-home attendees organically and memorably.