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For event pros, this year essentially is for marketing, not direct selling.
From doing anonymous charity to volunteering, event pros have left no stone unturned. But nothing matters if you haven’t embraced the digital world yet.
That’s where the people are, which explains why 43% of business event owners and hosts are pivoting and will be moving to hybrid in-person and virtual events by July 2021. Online events are going to be such a huge part of our lives that every tech investor already wants to invest in virtual events.
EventMB has confirmed that even the small event companies who have helped businesses make their online shift profitable have made more revenue during the pandemic than they have in the last few years. And those event companies that failed to do it either weren’t familiar with virtual event tech or are yet to crack the code to creating profitable virtual events.
Since the biggest challenge of hosting virtual events is low engagement, here’s how some event pros have been generating interest, increasing engagement, and garnering leads to improve revenue.
Virtual destressing and mental health awareness campaigns
Probably the most alarming part of the lockdown and this entire pandemic is the number of people who have admitted to being depressed.
People are feeling overwhelmed due to the present environment that the coronavirus has created for everyone and countless have been diagnosed with clinical mental health disorders.
The situation has become so dire that the World Health Organization (WHO) had to launch a digital stress management guide on WhatsApp.
Lauren Hope, a local producer and certified peer recovery specialist from Hamptons, helped organize a virtual event to discuss mental health struggles. She worked with a couple of mental health professionals to offer a safe space to people, so they could share their battles with depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and PTSD.
Event pros have been quick to realize that mental health is paramount and is one of the fastest ways of bringing communities together. And that will bode well for many.
Everybody’s favorite Broadway Musical made a virtual appearance via Zoom
Broadway shows are easily the biggest event of any year, which is why Hamilton the Musical was still selling out auditoriums even after five years of its initial release before the lockdown ever happened.
So, when John Krasinki started his delightful YouTube web series, Some Good News, to combat the negativity caused by the pandemic, the beloved original cast of the musical made a cameo on the show for a nine-year-old who had missed the musical due to the lockdown.
The entire cast performed the first song from the musical, Alexander Hamilton, on a Zoom call that caught everyone by surprise.
It goes without saying that this can make two major positive impacts on Hamilton’s reputation. First, the ticket sales might rise because the cast proved their niceness (yet again) by doing a mini-concert for one single person. Second, the production has already got immediate exposure to a new target group that has now become a potential audience for them. All they had to do was give a little sneak peek to generate leads for the future.
And while you might think that it was all done out of generosity, if that were the case, then this little maneuver wouldn’t have landed them on a Broadway PR site.
Moreover, the rights to the show were bought by ViacomCBS soon after Krasinski finished wrapping up the final episode, which proved to be profitable for his production company. A great example of pivoting indeed!
Digital events are being used for keeping shareholders posted
Events & Marketing Company, Percept DigitICE organized an online event for ZEE Entertainment’s stakeholders. The event was attended by 65,000 people and has put the company on the digital map for multi-channel marketing.
From conceptualizing to designing the stage for the event, Percept DigitICE managed every little aspect of the event – including creating a mini website to be used as a login portal.
For this reason, the event/meeting is being viewed as a big win by ZEE Entertainment and countless other event companies.
The entire experience provided ZEE’s stakeholders with a seamless transition from in-person meetings to digital ones. It has also helped in solidifying the organization’s trust among its investors by positioning ZEE as a responsible brand that believes in timely communication, come what may.
Event pros are hustling to make online events simple
If digital weren’t the future, then Zoom wouldn’t have launched its independent platform for hosting live events called OnZoom. And HeySummit, an online event production company, wouldn’t have raised $1 million in seed funding to simplify virtual event hosting for businesses.
Online events work, especially when they’re live. And OML, a major Indian talent management and event company, has proved it. The company hosted an entire quiz tournament on Zoom with the help of its network of comedians.
The show garnered a loyal fan base and even sold out tickets for each episode. In fact, the first season was such a raging success that OML has already released the trailer for season 2.
Learning new skills for greater sustainability
Selvis Morales of Devils in the Details Events confirmed having “most of their events switching over to digital-only experiences or being postponed until 2021.”
So, being out of sorts made her turn to diversifying her skill set and becoming certified to execute events in the post-pandemic market. She feels more prepared to take on the world now.
COVID-19 is the new norm. The sooner event planners and managers embrace it, the faster they’ll recover.
Monetising in-person, offline events like before is definitely going to be a challenge. But you know what they say, you should swim with the current, not against it. The stakes are high, so if you want to withstand the tide, you ought to prepare yourself for the new norm.