EventMind marketing manager Rhian Berry believes that virtual events really are the gift that keeps on giving. Here, she shares why…
We’ve all seen the hot news that there is a Covid vaccine on the horizon – which is great for live events, right? Regardless of what’s happening in the world, virtual should now be a natural extension to any live event, and one that provides an even greater opportunity for any organisation to further their mission.
Regardless of when the vaccine comes, one thing is for certain and that is that virtual events here to stay. Although they have only just fully emerged within the industry, they have really infiltrated it. According to Gartner, it has been estimated that by 2024, only a quarter of all business events will take place offline which is drastic in comparison to 60% in 2019. This is a massive change, but completely understandable and something I think we have all seen coming.
Virtual events have not only saved the events industry, but they have helped grow four main areas – corporate social responsibility, recruitment, digital marketing and sustainability.
Corporate Social Responsibility
CSR has been increasingly important over the past few years – research completed by Cone Communications revealed that 92% of Americans have a more positive image of companies which support social or environmental issues. With environmental issues so massive in the world lately, it’s certain that companies are exploring how they can improve their contribution.
In the midst of a pandemic, it’s fair to say that giving back has become even more essential. There are many ways that CSR can benefit virtual events, but the main one is that it can help make your attendees feel more engaged. Katrina Kent, head of events for TD Ameritrade has mentioned that “it’s a way for people to feel engaged and like they’re able to do something right now when so many people are hurting.”
When organising a virtual event, have a think about how you can incorporate a CSR activity into your event. Successful Meetings shared the below ideas:
*Assemble care packages – why not send out supplies to your attendees and create a team building activity by creating care packages for those in need – healthcare workers’s children in hospitals, veterans.
*Build water filter – instead of hosting another happy hour, consider organising a CSR opportunity where it brings the attendees together to build something for those in need.
*Plant trees – why don’t you think about planting one tree per participant? It will encourage people to attend your event, and it can contribute to environmental change!
Recruitment is an industry that has always relied on face to face meetings and interviews. Just because the pandemic has impacted in person events and recruitment was put on hold for many companies, it doesn’t mean the recruitment strategy has to change. This is the power of event technology – all meetings and in person events can now happen online.
Remote workers, including recruiters are now able to use tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Meet – allowing them to connect with their colleagues, applicants or potential employees. Interestingly, according to UK Recruiter, 82% of hiring managers have agreed that they will continue to interview using video when the pandemic is over, and two fifths are also happy to onboard staff virtually.
At the end of the day, virtual events save both time and money. You don’t need to worry about travelling time for your colleagues, potential employees or hiring managers, and you don’t need to think about potential catering, coffee breaks or venue hiring – this is all covered when people are in the comfort of their own homes.
Let’s be honest, had any of us heard of Tik Tok before the pandemic? The new craze all the millennials are into?
Since the pandemic struck, so many companies’ creative side has come out in full swing, and it was needed. Sometimes it can take tough times for a company to go above and beyond – and during the pandemic it is the one time companies need to push their brand out there to ensure they have business to stay afloat.
The benefits virtual events have on digital marketing is endless, but I’ll state the obvious.
*Global reach – using digital marketing means there is absolutely no geographical issue when it comes to your marketing. Using social media platforms such as Instagram, LinkedIn or Youtube means anyone can view your marketing strategy globally – which means your audience reach is far greater.
*Sponsorship at virtual events – now you can attend events online, it allows you to have a sponsorship strategy in place with companies you may have never considered, maybe because they’re the other side of the country to you? Or the other side of the world? It opens sponsorship opportunities up for you which means you can reach a different audience, and therefore generate more leads and grow your business.
Let’s face it, sustainability has been a hot topic for the past few years, and for the right reasons too. Since virtual events have come into full force since the pandemic struck, of course everyone was discussing the benefits they have – and sustainability is one of them.
Of course, the use of bamboo straws, refill cups and recycled hand towels have been big now for the past year, but if your company is looking for ways to make your event truly sustainable, you need to prioritise virtual events.
Being one of the most sustainable ways you can host an event, virtual events have a massive benefit in terms of sustainability. According to Ivent‘s recent study, they have found that a one day physical event at Birmingham University can produce up to 170kg of Co2 and create over 5 tonnes of refuse waste – this is shocking, right? The beauty of virtual events is that no Co2 is being produced from travel, as everyone can enjoy an event from the comfort of their own home, without even leaving the house. On top of this, everyone is responsible for their own refuse waste, which means recycling will be more common as this may be within their usual home routine.
Remember when we used to all attend conventions, trade shows or conferences and be given endless amounts of paper brochures and goody bags full of plastic we never use (some may say junk.) Well with the power of virtual events, you’re not required (or expected) to be providing goody bags or treats throughout the day – you can email your attendees their event brochure and information, meaning no paper is being wasted!
In summary, virtual events are the gift that keeps on giving with its endless possibilities and endless benefits. Whether a Covid vaccine is put in place or not, they are here to stay and are quite clearly beneficial to not only the attendees, but the companies and the environment.