A lot of organizations continue to focus on event cost and revenue, but there are other key aspects to consider.
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As business leaders, we consistently monitor ROI in all of our activities. Whether virtual, in-person or hybrid, events are a direct line to prospective customers. At this moment, your customers are being invited to any number of events, many of them free and most of them online. Time is typically the only resource needed to attend a virtual event, and that time is both limited and extremely valuable.
Determining which events to attend is about to get even more complicated, as companies decide whether to keep their events virtual or safely venture back to an in-person or hybrid format. Sometimes, these decisions are being made without considering anything beyond cost and revenue.
We are in an age where experience matters, and brands that consider events an extension of their customer-experience programs will find themselves ahead of their competitors.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen a lot of organizations continue to focus on event cost and revenue, and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing; it’s just not the only thing worth measuring. Here are four other key aspects to keep in mind.
You always need to be considering your brand’s place in the market. Events are one of the best ways to build and reinforce what your brand is all about.
Measuring brand sentiment isn’t complicated. For events, start with evaluating repeat attendance and likelihood to recommend both your event and your brand. Positive external validation of brands is one of the strongest ways to build referral business.
Look at the increase in engagement within a brand’s online community. Strong brand communities are very much on the rise, especially those that are tied to events, as a way to continue the dialogue and provide value year round.
If you are delivering a positive brand experience to your audience and attendees, you should see a lift in podcast downloads, video comments and social followers. Catering to the intrinsic human need to belong can also strengthen the professional brand relationship.
Time is the single most valuable resource any event attendee can give your brand, so give your attendees an experience that will be worth it to them. Every single decision that goes into an event should keep the attendees’ experience and preferences in mind first and foremost.
From selecting the right keynote speaker to providing flexible attendance options, an event’s brand relies on the overall sentiment achieved as the sum of many parts.
Virtual events simply reach more attendees, which has been shown repeatedly over the past 12 months. Event professionals are realizing that in-person events are both more expensive and riskier to manage, plus often mean having a limited audience as space allows.
Know your audience. If your attendees are not yet ready to travel this year, don’t host in person. Consider alternative ways to provide value through virtual or local small hybrid events instead.
Every touchpoint matters — before, during and after your event — so make each one count. Be consistent and on brand.
After your event, attendees might remember hearing sound bites or making new connections, but, ultimately, what they take away is how your event and brand made them feel. When done right, this positive impression can lead to a long-term, valuable relationship.