There are many reasons why marketing teams love events. Events provide a gargantuan and dynamic network platform to reach a large number of people. A large number of marketers worldwide generate sales thanks to event participation. While conventional methods such as conferences, seminars, and trade shows have been around for a long time now, hybrid is on the rise. Planning a hybrid event is an excellent way to generate leads, and will continue to rise in popularity.

However, we have seen a lot of buzz regarding hybrid events over the past few years. This is something that is gaining a lot of popularity in the event planning industry, especially after the pandemic hit.

Hybrid events incorporate the best aspects of both a physical and digital setting. Live streaming, webinars, and virtual spaces come in handy when planning hybrid events.

So if you’re planning on a hybrid event for your next marketing campaign, here are some questions to ask yourself before you proceed.

How Do Costs Stack Up To Benefits When Planning A Hybrid Event?

The first question you should ask is: Is planning a hybrid event the best way to go? How will a hybrid event help me hit my goals?

Hybrid events are extremely flexible and can accommodate many different event types and marketing goals at the same cost or only a fraction more than a traditional in-person event. Also, considering the current pandemic-related restrictions, it’s a natural step for many event planners that were hoping to host an in-person event. Cramming a lot of people into one venue is not feasible these days, so hybrid events provide a middle ground. 

With hybrid events you can also reach a wider and more diverse audience. This is because you won’t be restricted just to the local intimate setting, you’ll also be reaching a wider digital audience online.

The best part about hybrid events is the amount of data-driven lead tracking you can perform. You can monitor the level of engagement and follow-up with them long after the event.

metrics dashboard mockup from hybrid event exhibitor

What Are The Challenges Of Planning A Hybrid Event?

So, let’s say you weighed the pros and cons and you’d like to go with a hybrid setting. For you, a hybrid event may very well be worth pursuing.

The very next question that comes to mind is: what are some of the challenges that you might face while planning a hybrid event?

One big challenge is that you’ll be planning for two audiences instead of one.

One will be present at the in-person live event, while the other will be watching the event unfold live from their homes. Such a setting obviously creates a gap between the two audiences.

You need to create a unified experience between the two.

Another challenge that could arise comes in the form of sponsors and exhibitors. Both of them need visibility to make their appearance at the show worth it. You’ll need to figure out how to make sponsors happy by helping them reach both the in-person and online audience. We took a look at some of these challenges and more in this article.

virtual exhibit hall example from a scientific research converence

What Format Will Your Audience Prefer?

This is an important one.

The number of attendees and participants can make or break any event. This is why you need to be transparent with them and determine what format works best. Of course, you need to come to a mutual agreement with your customers, so try to be direct with them. Contact your audience via a blog post, voting poll, or social media post. Ask them to get an idea of their preferences. You need to ask your audience if they would attend the event in person, considering that there are some safety measures in place.

If it’s a mixed poll, you might want to opt for a hybrid setting and create registrations for people that want to attend the event physically and those that want remote access.

Listen to their concerns and think of how you are going to answer those concerns if you go hybrid. You also need to understand that crowd restrictions might change depending on the state or city you are in.

sample virtual event exterior, modelled after real venue

Who Will Attend The In-Person Event?

It is quite possible that you are planning a smaller audience for the in-person event, and a larger one for the virtual platform. While planning a hybrid event, there is a very important distinction that you need to make: who is coming to the in-person event, and who is going to be viewing the event online?

Since your online audience is naturally going to be larger, it might make sense to target a specific persona to cater to at the in-person portion.  Think of who your major influencers or top prospects are. How will you be able to create unique experiences that will resonate with them? What do they expect to gain by attending in-person? Even ask yourself; where are these people traveling from?

Ask yourself questions like this to narrow down the audience that will be coming to the in-person event. Remember you can always have influencers at the in-person event and broadcast interviews or talks with them to the online audience. 

event agenda sample featuring speakers, bios, and presentation timings

Finally, What Are Your Event Goals?

This one should be quite obvious and might not be worth mentioning for some folks. However, you need to repeatedly ask yourself this question to know if what you are really doing is going to help you achieve your end goal. Different companies will have different agendas when planning a hybrid event. Some focus on community building or customer engagement.

Other companies will be looking for things such as lead generation, and maybe even brand awareness. It’s possible that you are trying to focus on all of the above. When planning a hybrid event, think about how it will help you achieve these lofty goals you have in mind, and ensure that your in-person and virtual event providers can help you achieve them.

Final Thoughts on Planning Hybrid Events

These are just a few of the questions that you should ask yourself before planning a hybrid event. This will give you a head start and more questions will follow. Answering them will define your path towards your business goal/s.

If you are sure that a hybrid event is best for you, you can try our demo.

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