18
Jan
2021

Contrary to the predictions of the year 2020, the beginning of the new decade changed how we look at events. While most of the speculations went down the drain into what people referred to as the year of experience economy (2020), the global disruption forced the events industry as a whole to pause, think and make innovative changes.

As the dust clears a bit and we look to the future of meetings and events for 2021, one thing is certain — things will never be the same. At the same time, we must also remember that big challenges bring even bigger opportunities!

High Five to Hybrid Events!

Hybrid Events have opened up new doors and provided a unique opportunity for the organisers to host events that attract global audiences. The added responsibility of keeping both sets of audiences (physical + virtual) engaged becomes increasingly imperative. A Bizzabo survey suggests that 68% of event marketers are looking for hybrid event technology that supports both physical and virtual events. Therefore, taking advantage of this opportunity requires a shift in strategy, a departure from thinking one event at a time to using a consolidated approach to manage your total meetings and events program which takes us to the next trend-setter of 2021!

Technology Matters

Based on the prediction that Hybrid events will hold the fort for 2021, we need a credible tech infrastructure that gives a cohesive solution for successful event execution. 40% of respondents to a recent EventMB survey answered “No”, when asked if they were successful at pivoting their events to a virtual platform.

Running a total events program requires flexibility, adaptability, immersive experience, access and tailoring the program to suit the client’s requirements. Whether your events are virtual, hybrid, or in-person, that same single platform should power all aspects of the event lifecycle.

Get a 15 min demo and find out how to be the disruptive and not the disrupted.

Data is the new science

Here is one very insightful anecdote from World War II that will re-empower the belief on magic of data and feedback for live action grounds.

The Allied fighter planes would come back from battle with bullet holes. The Allies found the areas that were most commonly hit by enemy fire. A mathematician by profession, Abraham Wald pointed out that perhaps certain areas of the planes were not covered in bullet holes, as the shots at those areas did not make it out. This insight led to the armour on the parts where there were no bullet holes to be reinforced.

Putting this in context to Events, more than 54% of marketers expressed difficulty in proving ROI.

The platforms must provide an opportunity not just for live product demos, but also for gathering leads from any attendee. The benefits of digital platforms are that they automate lead generation and data collection, in turn, justifying the ROI.

Relevant content is the key

What drives your audience to the event and what makes them stay?

49% of marketers say that audience engagement is the largest contributing factor to having a successful event. Content that engages a virtual audience has proven to be a more powerful force than other factors, therefore understanding how to develop and deliver content for online and offline purposes is key to creating a content strategy. According to John Medina, a biologist and lecturer at the University of Washington, the adult brain gets bored in as little as 10 minutes.

Keeping it simple, bite-sized, rehearsed and engaging for our ever-shortening attention spans is critical for audience engagement.

Presentations should be undertaken by people who know how to interact with a virtual audience. But most of all, keep it varied.

Prioritise venue selection

Even when the world resumes functioning in the physical space (referring to Hybrid events here), the accessibility of the space will remain a challenge for people across geographies. Physical visits and recce to identify your best fit for the event (concerning the type and size) would still be limited, considering the cost crunch global economies have been plying on.

Hence, Accessibility becomes the first hurdle.

This being top on the charts, the demand for personalised and personalisation experience-worthy events without doing away with the existing inventory has become the need of this dynamic industry. This leads us to the next barrier, which is the need of having Multi-Purpose and Multi-Functional spaces. This is so that the user can attend the event virtually, with the experience and engagement of an in-person like event from the safety and comfort of their home. For instance, At Spalba, our CLON3D technology creates an immersive virtual replica (digital twin) of your space that can be visited by anyone across the world.

Click here and break through the shackles of accessibility and know more about repurposed spaces.

Privacy & Security

Work from home modules have put all of us at risk of losing data.

Data is valuable to track user actions and behaviour — a good way to attract sponsors but not so good for the consumers who are at the risk of hacking and data breaches.

Due to this being such a valuable asset for all companies, we must adhere to some basics. Disclosing the privacy policy to the user, investing in cyber insurance, appointing a data protection officer, picking a GDPR compliant platform, and creating a data usage policy between yourself and the client, are some ways to protect yourself and your clients’ data.

Sustainability

Cisco’s virtual Global Sales Experience was attended by 19,000 employees, preventing an estimated 84,400 tons of carbon entering the atmosphere from eliminating travel and a reduction in more than 200,000 lbs of waste. [a Cisco case study]

People across the globe are becoming more concerned with the negative impact we are having on our planet. As a result, there’s growing importance attached to the sustainability of events and reducing our carbon footprint.

Also said, sustainability connects with cost-effectiveness and scalability thus the platform you choose should become the enabler for all your tech needs.

Conclusion

2021 has shown us that how events are typically consumed, has changed. Brands are looking at flexibility, adaptability, scalability and sustainability. The virtual and hybrid worlds are here to stay and conquer the way we will look at events going forward.

The emphasis will be a lot more on creating micro experiences and engagement therefore, it’s time to unlearn what we have learnt. The opportunity lies with us if we re-set, re-think and re-imagine to remain resilient.