If you were unable to join our inaugural Cadence gathering, here’s a quick rundown.
Hosted by Steve Boyce, ‘Show Me The Money!’ featured a stellar panel, including Christy Burcham (BERNINA of America), Mary Beth Micucci, DES (MDM Strategic Consulting), Deborah Greif (American Association of Anesthesiologists) and Barry Upbin (Achieve Engagement).
Our experts shared their best practices and predictions on how to best leverage technology to develop new value propositions for sponsors and attendees, as well as drive revenue generation to successfully monetize events.
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By: Emma King
Each panelist tackled the topic of monetizing a virtual or hybrid event, sharing their amazing insights and experience.
Debbie shared that at ASA they first started to frame their virtual event, in the same design as they would an in-person event, with booths yet they soon realized that they needed to step back and develop a different strategy for a different experience and purpose. Focusing on the end goal but reinventing the event engagement was key to their success. The tactics need to be different for virtual & hybrid with rich education required for the sponsor regarding the value they gain from virtual and the longevity of their sponsorship in virtual compared to a one-off physical event.
Education benefits were highlighted by Christy Burcham from BERNINA of America who pivoted in 2020 to deliver a virtual event for their coveted annual BERNINA University that is the key event for BERNINA to educate their Dealers of BERNINA Sewing Machines, but that virtually was able to reach international & domestic audiences including the dealers store staff, that they were previously unable to reach. This increased revenue and an audience that they now need to continue to serve! What was key was understanding how to educate on their products that were typically taught hands-on, yet now had to be hands off. Choosing alternative instructional design methods was key, and they were able to reinforce learning with content available longer than at an in-person event with the results of a record year!
We heard a common theme from Barry from Achieve Engagement who saw the trend last year that companies were not thinking strategically about their events, or their community in March & April of 2020 and simply taking the in-person program and slapping the same design into virtual experience, he decided it was key to build a community to empathize and educate. He recognized that companies were willing to work with partners and companies that they had not used before and open their check books to leverage companies that needed experience in unknown waters of virtual events.
Mary Beth continued that theme with a clear message to companies that you will not find value in a virtual event, if you do not define your strategy upfront defining clear goals, so that you can define metrics to measure against to amplify the success your event. Strategy also needs to start before a technology choice, and before packages are defined for corporate sponsorship, to make money from sponsors, and for the sponsors to see the value in a virtual, they need to have face to face connection with the attendees, not all tools offer that, and offering packages that do not meet their needs can result in dissatisfaction. Sponsor Strategy is key to success.
Metrics, how to interpret them, and the value of engagement metrics was a question posed by the audience. Are companies just relieved to finish their event, or should they be delving deeper into metrics, and we know that is a whole new topic for another Cadence event in the future!
Following this first segment, which switched to table discussions, the platform we leveraged for Cadence enables participants to view who is seated where and go join peers & experts at their tables. I moved around a lot, I got to speak with many people at many tables, I love not being stuck in a breakout room, where nobody piques my interest as I’m just going to close out of the networking experience… that didn’t happen this time… Fifteen minutes of discussions brought some hot topics to the table, so Steve invited experts back to the panel discussion to dive deeper into attendee questions and share thoughts and guidance on key topics.
The focus on hybrid was front and center with clear conversation surrounding the challenge of running a physical event in parallel with a virtual one, Barry shared with the panel agreeing that hybrid should not and does not have to run in parallel in fact delivering the virtual event AFTER the in-person event, brings another paradigm of engagement and thought leadership to your attendee base enabling leverage of content from the physical event reducing costs in live streaming.
The chat was scrolling, questions were posed to the panel, bringing rich engagement between the panelists & attendees, tables were buzzing and the engagement activist in me loved the dynamic nature of interaction between the panelists and the core audience.
The three aha moments which drew the greatest reactions:
We had an amazing first event and are looking forward to the many more Cadence events to come!