Face to face still best?
Companies, including us, are having to adapt to the fact that face-to-face meetings in person are off the agenda at the moment. Zoom and Teams have become the norm for presentations and introductions in the last 12 months.
Reading some recent stats, according to Econsultancy 97% of event marketers believe hybrid events are the future.
In a recent stats survey they said: ‘Covid-19 has had a profound impact on the events business, eliminating crowded conferences and expos and forcing event’s organisers to adapt by shifting online. However, the outlook from the events industry is positive in the wake of this change.’
‘Bizzabo’s Evolution of Events Report, published on 13th November and based on a survey of almost 400 event and marketing professionals, found that 97% of event marketers believe hybrid events are the future – and that going forward, the most rewarding events will have a virtual component.’
‘More than 80% also reported greater audience reach from their events thanks to the shift to virtual technology, due in large part to the elimination of barriers to attendance such as travel, venue capacities, accommodation booking and other costs.’
‘All of this has led to nearly a fifth of marketers (18%) reporting that they intend to increase their event marketing budget for 2021, with many already planning events for 2021 that will be supported by an online component. This widespread acceptance of hybrid events – and willingness to invest in them – is even more remarkable considering that 77% of respondents say they have never hosted a hybrid event before.’
All that said, even if you use sophisticated virtual venues software, making the face to face contacts you might traditionally have made – say at one of FTD’s Business Networking events, is harder in the view of FTD’s MD John Booth.
‘We aveage about 150 people at one of our networking events – which would throw up a staggering number of potential connections - over 22,000. Even the best software we have looked at for virtual networking can’t cope with that prospect without moderators orchestrating who meets who.
‘Given the range of contacts we have we can however short-cut the event process by creating bespoke contact lists – in effect putting the right people together. That can be by email marketing or direct introductions. Kept to small numbers the humble phone or Zoom/Teams can get the ball rolling.’
‘I still think face to face is best though – an old marketing phrase comes to mind – people buy people – and however we engage with digital alternatives, we can’t wait for our next event.’
‘COVID permitting that will be at Manchester City on July 8th 2021 and we hope to have an event every month thereafter. By then hopefully, most vulnerable people will have been vaccinated and the overall infection rates are back to low levels. Fingers crossed.’