Amid the ease of restrictions on physical meetings in the post-Covid recovery phase, as organisations worldwide scale-up preparations for returning to in-person B2B events, several speculations emerge around the existence of Virtual Events post the return of physical events.
While Virtual Events emerged as the only alternative to in-person gatherings during the pandemic, online events’ widespread popularity and future relevance are associated with their significant benefits to organisations, audiences, and global sponsors. In addition to being a mere response to the pandemic, Virtual Events have become integral to the organisations’ growth strategy.
Here, we examine various factors that propel the relevance of Virtual Events even after in-person meetings have fully resumed:
Virtual Events Scaling Up To Metaverse: In the quest for scaling up audience engagement, the next generation of human connections, Metaverse is the technological evolution of online events that have assumed prominence amid the ravages of the pandemic.
The virtual ecosystem of Metaverse proposes to bring real-life experiences into the digital realm that thrives on 3D spaces, 360-degree Videos, AI Avatars, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality. Metaverse creates a sense of social and physical presence that enables the visitors to navigate the event platform seamlessly, attend speaker presentations, and spontaneously interact and network with fellow attendees.
A fully customisable Metaverse space can function as virtual universities, conferences, marketplaces, corporate training facilities, and simulations. Brands can discover new ways to connect with a global audience in 3D worlds through browser-based accessibility using desktops, mobile phones or tablets.
Fast Adoption of Hybrid Events: With a large-scale audience that attracts a more significant number of international sponsorships, hybrid events enjoy improved marketability and branding.
According to a 2021 Marklectic research, 71% of the organisations with 5000+ employees are keen on harnessing the twin powers of the hybrid model that connects local in-person gatherings with a global virtual audience. The in-built virtual component of the hybrid event model enables the marketers to develop a repurposed content marketing strategy.
Marketers create post-event on-demand offers, including a mix of sales collaterals and high-value gated assets, such as e-books, videos, and B2B marketing coaching sessions, that drive prospect engagement and generate leads that may turn into potential clients.
Virtual Events Pack Unmatched Benefits: According to Kaltura’s “The State of Virtual Events 2022” global survey, higher attendee engagement, a more significant number of registrations, and better ROI are the top three benefits that enhance the marketability of Virtual Events.
The digital phenomenon overcomes geographical barriers and logistical challenges to onboard renowned keynote speakers, international celebrity guests, and a diverse global audience that collectively creates deeper engagement levels and quality networking opportunities for attendees. The resource savings on time and travel expenses are a significant draw for increased registrations and global sponsorship investments that are key to maximising the event ROI.
De-risk Event Investment: With the pandemic insurance cover on the physical corporate events unavailable or cost-ineffective, organisers risk a 100% investment loss if a Covid-19 or any unforeseen circumstances surface.
The virtual or hybrid event models enable organisations to de-risk their event investments against factors beyond direct human control, such as a pandemic, political unrest, terrorism, communal riots, etc. In case of cancellation of the in-person aspect of the event, organisers can resort to the default virtual event component with no last-minute panic.
Both organisers and audiences agree that the events industry has transitioned from in-person to digital. The benefits of Virtual Events find patronage in 94% of the organisations keen on hosting online events in 2022, with 48% planning to host an increased number of Virtual Events next year. According to Kaltura, 75% of the attendees are committed to the organisers’ vision and are keen on attending virtual events even after in-person events have fully resumed.
With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses across sectors were forced to adopt Virtual Events as an alternative and immediate response to the global health crisis. However, the online events have contributed significantly to reshaping the organisations’ B2B marketing strategy with multiple benefits.
Additionally, the digital landscape of events plays a decisive role in empowering the upcoming hybrid event model, gaining immense popularity amongst organisers, global audiences, and international sponsors.
Furthermore, with the new-age technological ecosystem of Metaverse that promises to take the events industry by storm, Virtual Events have successfully established itself as a credible resource.
Thus, the online phenomenon of events will most likely bear strong relevance to the marketing landscape of the events industry even after the return of in-person events.
(By Mr. Paras Lohani, Founder & CEO, B2B Sales Arrow)