As event planners continue to pivot towards digital, the industry has seen the incredible audience-reaching capabilities of online events.
Providing dynamic, personalised events without the constraints of venue limits has allowed organisers to create new digital experiences and engagement, aided by new tech.
Now, companies are rethinking how to bring in-person events back, but the constraints for event professionals are still challenging. They now must overcome smaller teams and budgets, while also developing a robust strategy, seeking new event tech, and driving participant engagement.
More than ever, event marketers must provide a return on investment for hybrid events, and drive growth by engaging participants.
So, how can planners utilise the best of both in-person and online events? With a hybrid strategy.
Bringing digital-first engagement to a physical event
Event planners are now having to think increasingly about what their hybrid strategies look like.
For example, how can they use a virtual event platform to drive engagement with both remote attendees and onsite attendees? What about providing sponsors and exhibitors with genuine, measurable benefits? How can a corporate event be turned into a successful hybrid event?
While the past year has been incredibly challenging, it also provides planners the chance to take what they’ve learned from virtual events and apply them to hyper-relevant, immersive hybrid events that drive deeper engagement.
Going hybrid allows event organisers to unify the virtual and physical event experiences, extend event reach, build engagement opportunities across the customer lifecycle, and collect data on each touchpoint, regardless of whether they are engaging with physical or virtual attendees.
The Power Behind Combining Digital and Physical Event data
Data is the key advantage of integrated experiences.
In-person event have been traditionally leveraged as a key strategic activity to reach large audiences, but provided minimal engagement tracking and metrics.
In the past, data collected at in-person events primarily fell into four categories:
- Badge swipes
- In-person polls
- In-session survey feedback
- Conversations with either salespeople or presenters
With hybrid, audiences can engage and interact either digitally or in-person. It provides the ability to take a digital-first approach to engagement — measuring engagement before, during and after an event.
As both groups of attendees engage with interactivity tools, planners have information about to improve the event experience.
With virtual events, data can be collected from resources such as:
- Attendee chats
- Resources downloaded
- On-demand content consumption
- 1:1 networking
- Social media engagement
Hybrid combines the data of digital and in-person, empowering marketers and salespeople to compare metrics and see a more complete view of the event buyer’s journey.
A virtual platform built for hybrid events and engagement can help.
Planners can unify their data across each experience and provide a detailed analysis on each attendee whether in-person or digital by looking at time spent watching an event, questions asked, resources downloaded – all while building a prospect profile on behaviors and intent.
Integrating Event Data To Drive Business
Hybrid events are massive data generators. Integrating hybrid tools with businesses systems, allows organisations to build a consistent customer profile by connecting the data they gain.
These systems include things like marketing automation tools, CRM and business intelligence.
Data such as this is helpful for marketing and sales teams to improve lead scoring and account profiling. It can also help prove event impact across the business, and maximise return on engagement, as well as make the business case for increased investment and optimising future event marketing.
Hybrid engagement is here to stay
Event planners now have an incredible opportunity to show the impact of their work and improve event ROI by using an integrated platform for hybrid events.
This opens up new ways to experiment with the right mix between virtual and in-person engagement, and where to build further interactivity across experiences to make it feel more integrated for your audiences.
In this was, hybrid events are a revolution from the past. They offer a way to use event data, to activate how to build, plan and create memorable, effective experiences for your audience and the business – and, ultimately, deliver a return on engagement that wasn’t necessarily possible before.
To learn more about hybrid events, register for ON24’s webinar, ‘Hybrid, In-person and Virtual: Reengineering Your Event Mix’, featuring Matt Heinz, president of Heinz marketing, and Cheri Keith, ON24’s head of strategy.
You can register here.
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