Virtual events were all the rage last year, whether we liked it or not. While some adapted fast and organized extraordinary virtual events in 2020, many are still grappling with the new reality. But according to today’s #EventIcons guest, it’s high time we stop reminiscing about the past and start planning for the future!
Liz King Caruso is the CEO of Liz King Events and techsytalk. She’s a source of wisdom who has been doing virtual and hybrid events for much longer than the pandemic has been around. As an event strategist, she talked to Sarah about the importance of engagement strategies for virtual events as well as their monetization. As you’ll see, the two aspects of event planning are inextricably intertwined. Press play and join Sarah and Liz as they break down all there is to know about this hot topic.
Liz starts the conversation about engagement strategies for virtual events by saying we need to raise the bar. “As we look to 2021 from an engagement standpoint, we really have to think about doing things better. It has to be more interesting. I heard so much in 2020 about prerecorded content and simulive, but people don’t like that. It’s not going to last, in my opinion. I keep telling people stop calling it ‘the live events industry’. Live can be live in-person or virtual. Live events have not gone anywhere. It’s just that they have transitioned to the virtual space.”
When it comes to choosing between live and pre-recorded sessions, Liz strongly prefers the former. “The webinar culture ruined the idea of pre-recorded in-person events on virtual. The expectation that I can sign up for something I’m not even putting in my calendar because I already know you’re going to send me the recorded content or it’s going to be all recorded in the first place, makes me even less likely to join.”
“If your in-person event was worth $349, your virtual event should be worth $349,” says Liz. “I think the two big problems with that are event organizers are not typically delivering the same kind of value they were in person because we are figuring it out. And quite frankly, even if you know what you want to do, the technology doesn’t really exist on the level that we want it to. The other piece is that we have to get people to believe that virtual is worth money. That’s where the question of engagement comes in. That’s why these two conversations always come up together.”
“If a person thinks that they’re going to get a ton of pre-recorded content, they’re not going to pay. We have to raise the level of quality that we’re giving. We have to do that for long enough that people realize it’s worth paying for. I think that events should be monetized, but I don’t think we’re going to just dollar for dollar right now,” says Liz. She shares an exemplary engagement strategy for virtual events: “I am having a lot of success with free access or lower cost access for live only, and then a higher price for community for recorded access for all these other perks.”
“It’s okay if you’re not making all the money you were making on your ticket sales in the past. If you get that live engagement, it makes your sponsors happy and you can get more sponsored dollars. What you don’t want is everyone registering, but no one showing up. Most people are just not paying what they would pay for an in-person because the value proposition doesn’t match in their minds right now. We really have to change the value of what we’re offering first.”
“The problem is once a person has a bad experience, they’re not going to come back. They might’ve been a little bit gracious because it was COVID, but it’s not going to last forever. It’s one of the things I’m concerned about because virtual is not a one-to-one match for in-person. There are some things you cannot replace the in-person connection, but there also are a lot of things with virtual that really have huge power.”
Liz sees virtual as an essential part of the future, even when in-person events come back. “Hybrid is also going to be really important for us to bring back in-person. If we can nail virtual, we will see hybrid last forever. There will be the expectation that it’s both an in-person and virtual and that you can be either engaged in one or the other.”
The state of the events industry is archaic, though. “What we’re seeing in TV production is nowhere near the level that we’re doing in events. Now, we have years of catch-up in terms of education. How do you produce something that’s engaging, interesting, and different in order to catch up with the competition, for example, Netflix or everything else that’s … read more
Source : Originally published on endless event