hybrid happiness: don’t commute, communicate
December 15, 2022
The key to success within the hybrid model is to see the virtual and live event as two individual events, with a shared vision, content and audience but how do you find this balance?
We are no longer in a tactical environment with marketing events. The introduction of hybrid possibilities now means that brands need to deliver on both quantity and quality and can’t be reactive in their event planning. Don’t assume we will all go back to “Physical with some webinars”.
60% of B2C marketers agreed or strongly agreed that their brands are going to continue to employ a digital strategy to maintain their virtual audience after they’ve returned to in-person events. (The 2022 State of Experiential, Agency EA. December 2021) But this new permanent element in event and experience creation means that how and where you talk to your audiences has to be planned out more strategically.
You cannot provide the same offering to those who attend a live event and those who log in virtually; so it is best to consider their individual experiences and put a unique value proposition to each.
A main benefit of hybrid events is the flexibility they offer. Attendees have the choice between the in-person connections & experience vs the benefits of having to invest less time & cost to travel to each event. It is not just the attendees either, it opens more flexibility for the speakers and talent you provide at your events: it is perfectly acceptable to stream a remote keynote speaker to the live event audience and so you could find your talent budget going further.
Another benefit which should not be underestimated, is the wider audience reach. By going Hybrid you allow more people to attend an event that would have previously been restricted by venue and location.
More experiential doesn’t have to mean more cost – if things are planned right. Brands that match their annual marketing needs with those of the new audience concerns will create a manageable event flow. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that hybrid or virtual events are cheap. The savings come more in the cost reductions around flying, some hospitality and duplication in different markets, they shouldn’t come in execution and creative. You must work as hard to create the content.
what can you do?
Begin with the audience. As always, who you are trying to talk to is as important as what you need to say – but their values and needs around travel, convenience, information and immersion are even more important when you build out the new hybrid model as a permanent consideration.
Consider changes in “economies of scale” carefully. You may reduce in one area but need to up investment in another to create engaging experiences that work.
The time for tactics is over – create a layered strategy to ensure you deliver on audience and business needs.
Don’t limit yourself to technology – think event first and then use the right platform to make it happen. There are interesting new opportunities across everything from conference technology to metaverse spaces that can appeal to all.
who is doing it well?
Ford have maintained their physical event business alongside building a completely new platform on a game engine that allows them to launch vehicles in a hybrid, attractive way and have conversations with investors and consumers alike.all insights