Events are a major part of your revenue strategy. Events for new product releases, corporate conferences, and thought leadership sessions form the backbone of how many organizations build key account relationships, share ideas, and drum up engagement for strategic business changes.
But as the world continues to face turbulence during the evolving COVID-19 situation, those in-person events are jeopardized. Digital events might seem far less engaging — and less useful — based on the digital technologies commonly used before the pandemic began.
However, statistics from Bizzabo's report on 2021 event planning show that the transition from in-person to digital and hybrid events is worth investing in:
- The majority (93%) of event marketers plan to invest in virtual events moving forward.
If you know that events are a critical part of your company's strategy but you don't know if digital events are robust enough to fill those needs, we'll guide you through the stages of events and showcase how digital events have rapidly transformed over the past year. By understanding more about the process, you'll see where your strategic events can shine.
The Evolution of Event Design
Corporate events have changed from being standalone events to integral parts of marketing and customer relationship strategies. Today, event teams have to carefully plan events based on their potential impacts such as relationship-building, branding, and return on investment.
Today, event teams have to carefully plan events based on their potential impacts and return on investment. Event design is also not just a preparatory series of steps. Modern teams need to carefully plan attendees and activities, measure engagement in real-time throughout the event to ensure it's running as optimally as possible, and analyze all the data that comes out of an event.
All of those insights require a hefty amount of technology. While in-person events give you some access to data through reservations in specific events within your larger event, in-event surveys, and other processes, virtual events actually let you collect data during every second. You can monitor engagement, track which experiences are the most popular, and troubleshoot more effectively in real-time.
Breaking Down the Five Stages of Events
To effectively design a virtual event (and set the stage for future events), follow these five stages of event strategy. A consistent process through every part of event planning and analysis will help your organization get the greatest return on investment and reduce stress before, during, and after the event.
First, it's important to create a core objective or series of objectives for your specific event. Once those are defined, you and your event planning team can start to develop a plan for achieving those objectives. Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that can help you assess success during the event planning process, during the event itself, and so you can evaluate the overall success of the event after the fact.
By clearly determining these from the outset, you can ensure the next stages still tie directly to your core goals. You can also build a clear understanding of what steps or decisions do and don't support your goals for future events.
During this stage, you also need to reach out to people beyond your event planning team. Discuss the objectives and KPIs with stakeholders, such as your executive team, your product team (especially for events related to new product releases), and business partners that may be co-hosting or participating in the event.
This is the stage where you create the event design that will help you fulfill your goals. This includes your content strategy to drive your agenda design and speaker and engagement strategies and plans.
Focus on creating impactful experiences that will engage audiences specifically in digital formats. Compelling, valuable content is an essential part of this, so research your audience's interests to make sure the event's programs align with their needs.
Depending on the size and nature of the event, you should also plan programs that allow for authentic and fun interactions.
Traditionally, this stage may seem like the end of the process. However, creating the event design strategy is only one part of creating an event with the best possible ROI and usable data.
This is where digital capabilities shine. In-the-moment feedback almost always gives you more authentic, more granular, and ultimately more helpful feedback about the content of your event, as well as the execution of your event. You can pose surveys and introduce moments for feedback that clue you into the overall effectiveness of an event.
For example, after a talk discussing the potential use cases for a new product update, you can gauge whether the talk was confusing, whether the updates are as useful as you anticipate, and what points of delivery weren't as positively received as you may have hoped. Not only does this let you get on top of confusion and negative impressions during the event, but your marketing team can refine advertisement messaging and other content.
Once you've accumulated data from all of the engagement points in your digital event, you can start to identify areas for improvement. You'll have clear insight into how audiences responded to different programs, speakers, content areas, and more.
This gives you a framework for capitalizing on engaging moments and improving less engaging moments for your next events. With this information, you can design an event agenda that optimizes the attendee experience by creating engaging, meaningful interactions.
Instead of simply using your data collections to incrementally change subsequent events, you can use your insights to become a thought leader in your space. Have a facilitated discussion or workshop on how your business is incorporating digital events into your marketing and revenue strategies, create a unique brand perspective, and design fresh, innovative event experiences that engage audiences and stakeholders.
Evolve your events, programs, and team performance, and measure success by demonstrating the impact of events on your business.
Partner With Impact Point Group for Your Next Digital Event
At Impact Point Group, our processes focus on these five stages of events so every event builds up to the next one with increasingly refined and on-point content and programs.
When events are critical to your business goals, reposition your strategies so each event gives you insight into how to craft a better experience. Contact us today to learn more about our event strategy services and digital event success processes.