You’re surely aware of this saying:
You can have it fast, cheap or good – pick two.
But the statement’s inherent “mockery” does illustrate an underlying issue with nearly all sales, marketing and training events – they’re tough to execute without a lot of time and expense.
Whether it is a user conference, trade show or job fair, gathering people means that time, money and logistics are involved. Scheduling travel, catering and A/V are just the tip of the iceberg for your overtaxed event folks, and budget is ALWAYS an issue. We all want better/faster/cheaper events.
So, what to do? Carefully examine the costs/benefits of each event in your marketing, lead gen or communications plan, and evaluate the time and cost savings that you can achieve with a virtual alternative. You’ll be able to achieve better/faster/cheaper and leverage the audience engagement impact of online communication. Here are four key reasons why:
Presenters and audiences can attend from their laptops, tablets or phones, and on-demand access allows registrants to revisit content at their convenience.
2. Low participation cost
No travel time or expense; forget about paying for airfares, meeting rooms, etc.
3. Easy interaction with other participants
Instant chat and networking opportunities allow interactions, and social sharing allows sharing of “bright ideas,” extending your event’s reach and the value of its content.
4. Powerful content management/distribution
Virtual environments, with live and on-demand webcasts and resource downloads, extend content’s reach and accessibility by re-purposing it and making it continually available.
Some recent examples of this “have your cake and eat it too” strategy, leveraging the four key principles explained above, include:
- AARP – the Real Possibilities Virtual Career Fair enabled older job seekers to connect with leading employers, offering resources such as videos, tip sheets and live chats with career counselors, building on a previous successful event that attracted 2,500+ candidates.
- Marketo – “Marketers First,” with more than 20 sessions and 20,000 attending marketers, brought together marketing masterminds from companies like Zappos, Google and Twitter – building community, driving engagement and demonstrating the value of Marketo products.
- XANT – the 2014 “Sales Acceleration Summit” was the world’s largest sales acceleration event, reaching 20,000+ users, providing a forum for the best and the brightest to network and share best practices and, ultimately, driving lead gen for XANT.
Of course, webinars and virtual environments aren’t right for every event, because face-to-face, in-person interactions sometimes make all the difference when it comes to training, demand generation or employee communication. However, careful and balanced event planning enables you to deliver better/faster/cheaper – thereby having your cake and eating it, too.
Tricia Heinrich is the Senior Director of Strategic Communications at ON24. Her responsibilities include public relations, industry analyst relations and customer communications.