With face-to-face events looking doubtful at best for 2021, many marketing teams (ourselves included) are having to find more and more ways to go fully digital with marketing activities. Event budget is difficult to plan, and lead volumes need to be maintained.
This sounds simple, but given that digital conferences are not necessarily the perfect direct replacements for face-to-face events, it is proving to be a challenging job. And with physical events are off the table, the normal travel and expense costs associated with them are no longer required.
In short, there is a good amount of marketing budget to be re-deployed for next year.
Redeploying event budget and bridging the gap
Alongside this, many companies are facing a quick re-think of how to build their marketing strategies. In normal times, one way we often build strategies with clients is to have a focal point event every quarter – usually a face-to-face event.
This could be focused on a particular topic, service offering, or industry vertical for example. Everything would be centred on that to build up energy and focus before, during and after the event.
One solution is to work on the same principle of a quarterly focal point, but by sponsoring virtual events instead. But as we have discussed at length, it can be difficult to get the same value from sponsoring virtual events as face-to-face events. Alternatives can include running your own virtual conference or event, or by making more use of webinars.
Avoid a monologue – and false engagement
Finding the right approach for virtual events can be difficult too. Too often the default position is 3-4 presentations, some opportunity for engagement, and then the usual follow-ups from SDRs and telemarketing teams.
But how about creating a virtual workshop session, with a whiteboard approach instead of PowerPoint? Let customers and prospects join and discuss their pain points and how they think your company may be able to help solve them. Similarly, a virtual “drop-in” session can have the same outcome that you get to listen to customers and their needs as opposed to vice versa.
It’s not all about the live event
There is still a role for educational content and the more traditional video/PowerPoint driven content of course. People want to see what they would be buying from you after all.
But do not become too obsessed with live webinar registrations and attendees. This is becoming little 2015 and before.
Research carried out by ON24 indicates that 61%of viewers watch the live webinar only, six percent watch both the live event and the recording, and the final third watch only the on-demand version. Other research has suggested an even greater shift to on-demand consumption.
This is not to say forget about your live webinar metrics, but just do not be surprised if the trend continues to shift to on-demand. With more and more people working at home, watching a recorded webinar later in the evening when the kids are in bed and the world is peaceful will become more and more of a thing.
In further articles we will outline more ways of redeploying your 2021 event budget, and how to ensure your demand generation funnel is well stocked in 2021 – with or without physical events.