COVID-19 has accelerated the digital shift that was already in the works.
Companies who rely on events as an important part of their marketing strategy have been forced, with the current health crisis, to cancel face-to-face events. Many companies have therefore shifted their event strategy to 100% online formats.
If there is one lesson to be learned from this accelerated change, it’s that the digital format can be a very interesting counterpart to in-person events.
Digital events provide an interesting solution that organizations just can’t afford to miss.
“The digital events initially compensated for the face-to-face events that could not take place because of the health crisis. But what we experienced under the constraints of lockdown has taught us important lessons and we will now continue to experiment with the digital format.”
Mathieu Bigeard, Director of the Consulting and Digital Transformation at Jalios.
What is the specific value of digital events for companies ?
1) Easier organization and participation
Attending a digital event is easier and less demanding than a physical event.
First off, participation is possible wherever you are. In just one click, you log on to the platform. No need to travel to the event.
Guests will also be more inclined to register if the digital event is shorter than the physical one – which is often the case.
For the organizer, recruiting participants is simpler and less time-consuming as it is possible to launch the communication later than for a physical event.
Finally, the problem of a “no-show” rate is inexistant with online events, removing a major concern for organizers. There is no “empty room” effect that leaves a very negative impression to the attendees, nor is there a risk of budget waste linked to the reservation of a venue that is oversized compared to the number of attendees.
2) Minimal marketing and operational costs
For a physical event, the reservation, the setting up of the venue, the logistics, and the catering often represent nearly 50% of the cost of the event. The organization costs for a digital event are therefore generally much lower.
3) Easier to leverage
Organizing a digital event is ultimately about setting up an online experience for participants : the event website hosting video sessions, networking opportunities, invitations to business meetings and all the related communications (by email, on social networks) etc.
Once this digital environment has been set up for the first time, it is then easy to run several editions of the event, in a different language, for another subsidiary, on other themes, etc.
4) Collecting satisfaction is easier
On digital events, our clients see an average satisfaction rate of 80%, compared to 10% in person.
5) The content produced for the event will pay for itself over time
Your speakers’ sessions are in video format. You can broadcast your speaker’s sessions, during your event but also continue to use them throughout the year.
Tools for indexing your video content or automatic subtitling allow you to make your content easily re-usable later on. Attendees who come to your event site after the initial date can easily find the specific content they are interested in thanks to on-demand replay.
6) ROI can be maximized over time, even after the event
A digital event can stay online after the initial date. This means that lead generation (for the organizer as well as for its partners), visibility associated with the event and content viewing continue over time.
This represents a change in the marketing budget approach as a digital event continues to pay for itself throughout the year.
7) Digital events are more eco-friendly
An online event avoids the need to transport participants, speakers and partners, and therefore limits the associated CO2 emissions and reduces carbon footprint. This is a positive trait for organizations who put an emphasis on being eco-friendly.
The most effective BtoB event marketing strategy is a mix of physical and digital
Physical meetings remain privileged and irreplaceable moments. But digital events open up new opportunities and bring complementary value to in-person events.
Organizations benefit from the advantages of both formats by combining the face-to-face format with the more permanent approach of the digital format.
It seems to us that digital events, acting as a clever complement to face-to-face events, are not a momentary phenomenon but a future trend for sure!