Marketers love events because of many reasons but perhaps the most important one is the wide and dynamic networking platform that they provide. According to Statistica, 79% of US marketers generate sales using event marketing. Although conventional conferences, seminars, and trade shows have been popular marketing and lead generation tools for years, the past decade saw the advent of hybrid events which have now taken over the event marketing industry by storm. What exactly are hybrid events and why do so many marketers swear by them? Read on to learn all about it.
What are hybrid events?
Quite simply, it’s an event that takes place in both a physical and digital setting. This is achieved by broadcasting a conventional event online through techniques like live streaming, webinar broadcasting or setting up a virtual space that mirrors the ongoing physical event. The ability of these events to cater to physical and remote audiences in a live event lends them their ‘hybrid’ name.
What value do they provide?
If your organization carries out successful physical events, the benefits of adding a virtual extension to them are endless and here’s why.
Your event attendance and productivity shoot by 20% and 27% respectively (Frost & Sullivan)
For all those who fear that the option to attend the event online might cannibalize their physical event, this is a great myth buster. Virtual extensions have quite the opposite effect because they help you catch attendees who would not have been able to make it to the physical premises. It also captures passive attendees from close by or far away who did not see a lot of value in attending the physical event and would rather participate from the comfort and convenience of their homes.
There’s no way that you can lose out on an audience by providing a more convenient mode of participation and rather by giving passive attendees a taste of your compelling content online, you boost their chances of attending the upcoming physical event.
Event technology reduces costs by 20% – 30% (Frost & Sullivan)
Physical events already require a lot of resources, money and time, so rest assured that virtual events will not be contributing to the weight. By adding a digital extension, you’d lower cost per attendee and would also save a portion of your audience travel costs, which could have been a reason that limited their physical attendance.
They allow data-driven lead tracking
Virtual events track each registration, login, chat, view, download, and share. These numbers are very useful in determining the quantity of people who attended the event and the quality of their engagement and experience. Being able to monitor the level of engagement of event attendees makes post-event follow up easier since you can segment people based on their engagement scores and share relevant content with them which is far more potent in capturing leads as compared to a standardized follow-up strategy.
You can keep driving ROI long after the live period
The most distinguishing benefit of virtual events over their physical counterparts is that once the live days are over, the virtual event can still live on. By making your webinars and content available on-demand, you can extend the life of your event which further boosts event ROI by allowing you to get the most out of your content, extending lead generation and extending opportunities for monetization.
Hybrid events add numerous benefits for a fraction of the cost of your physical event. Once you analyze the tradeoff, it is easy to categorize the spend as an investment that amplifies the impact and gains of the physical event rather than as a standalone marketing expense. According to Planning Pad, by the end of 2017, 26% of all meetings and conferences will be held online. This huge percentage demands that you stay ahead of the game and add a virtual component to your upcoming physical events.