The State of Virtual Events for Trade Associations & Tradeshows
Michelle Bruno is a writer, blogger and content strategist who specializes in the meetings industry. She is the co-producer of EastVirtual, a one-day workshop on virtual events being held in Washington, DC on March 21.
Michelle has been kind enough to answer some questions about the state of virtual events and how her upcoming event fills a niche for trade associations and for-profit exhibition and conference producers.
What are association and for-profit trade show professionals missing by not knowing how to organize virtual and hybrid events?
Virtual event platforms will play a critical role in helping live content (trade show and conference) producers expand the size of their audiences and drive revenue through membership, education/certification, larger attendance at face-to-face events or compelling, original pay-per-view content.
To get there, event organizers will have to answer a number of important questions about production, budgets, promotion, skill sets, pricing, resources, and platforms. Without that information up front, they will not be prepared professionally or organizationally to meet the demands of the future of meetings and events.
When you talk about virtual and tradeshows together, it brings to mind those immersive virtual tradeshows. Are they still being used a lot?
Trade shows that happen inside 3D environments complete with avatars and visually stimulating graphics, etc. exist (the platforms exist anyway), but are much less common than other types of virtual event models.
Immersive environments are relatively expensive to build. Plus, we are still in the early adoption phase of the virtual event concept for the b-to-b market; hence, trade associations and for-profit trade show organizers—the producers of most live and virtual trade shows—are opting for less complex and costly ways to deliver digital sales and content opportunities. When the next generation of (digital native) attendees finally arrives, that may change.
What other formats are association and for-profit tradeshow professionals using?
Many face-to-face event producers are looking at hybrid event platforms (online content is delivered live to a remote audience), virtual event (content is online only) perpetual business environments (content is delivered live or available in an archived format year round) or 365 trade shows (exhibitors and sponsors offer information, content and engagement year round).
The good news is that costs are coming down. The platforms are more user friendly and more versatile, and the benefits are steadily increasing.
How are association and for-profit tradeshow professionals learning about these new virtual technologies?
EastVirtual, a one-day workshop on virtual events, was designed to educate trade associations and for-profit trade show and conference producers about the strategy and execution of a virtual event.
There are other programs available to introduce event professionals to virtual platforms and strategies including several webinars on the subject. In fact, I’ll be moderating a webinar panel for TSNN, “Virtual/Hybrid Events – What's Working and What's Not Working?” on March 15 at 1:00 pm ET. In addition, the Virtual Event Institute will be offering a certification program for Digital Event Strategists later this year.
How is EastVirtual helping association and for-profit tradeshow professionals learn about virtual events?
EastVirtual is different from other programs that are discussions on the subject, an introduction of the concept or a case study of successful events in the corporate space. This workshop provides the nuts and bolts of developing a virtual event strategy and executing an event for a very specific audience. It will break down the process into five specific areas: strategy, content, marketing, team formation and platform selection.
Virtual event practitioners from the association, agency and for-profit space will deliver education and the audience will have ample opportunities to engage with each other and share their own experiences and ideas. The faculty is amazing and brilliant. Attendees will receive a printed workbook full of checklists, resources and information to help them develop a project plan when they walk out the door.
Click here for more information on East Virtual.
To learn more about virtual events, you can read Michelle's blog, Fork In The Road.
If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed for Sound n' Sight.