Virtual Event Fatigue?

Feeling in a virtual event fog? You are not alone! Take a look at part one of a two part series by Emma King taking a look at this new phenomenon.

Emma King

Ever had a hangover, where you think back on the experience of the previous day and reflect on some of the choices you made and feel regretful? I feel like some companies have a huge hangover from 2020 and the choices they made to deliver a virtual event. Forced by the pandemic to pivot, companies fell into several traps which are not uncommon, but which can be avoided. 

“…companies have a huge hangover from 2020…” 

1. Spent $ on a technology only to only use 40% of its features/functionality 

This gets #1 spot simply because it takes significant strategy to leverage all features & functionality in any platform. Many of the more expensive platforms, did not have capacity to deliver upon services last year, resulting in companies needing to leverage internal staff to deliver their event, which is a tall ask. 

2. Transferred Physical Agenda Online 

When I worked for INXPO we ran a campaign sharing that the average adult attention span is less than a goldfish. That means, adults typically pay attention to one task for about 8 seconds. It is not that adults aren’t capable of paying attention for longer, but they need triggers to keep them engaged, and in 2020 with most kids being home schooled, no parent, especially mothers could pay attention to one thing for longer than 30 – 60 minutes. So, delivering 4 days of 8hrs of content, was not going to deliver results 

3. Accepted that 1:1 or 1: Many incorrectly assumed that valuable networking experiences couldn’t happen. 

During 2020 many event platforms found that their technologies simply did not have the functionality to deliver all features to all events. Sponsors where those left hanging, when chat rooms simply did not cut it, compared to foot traffic at an event. Peer networking simply could not happen in the same way, but that didn’t mean it couldn’t be done, often other tools needed to be leveraged, strategies of engagement created. As a result, many events fell flat, and while sponsors gave their partners a pass for 2020 they want more for 2021 and beyond, and the event platforms are pivoting fast to bring solutions that work. 

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My list could go on and on, and next week I will focus on a few more. The pressure of 2020 to pivot simply prompted rookie mistakes, which while understandable could totally be avoided during less pressured and intense times. But… there is feeling becoming very clear in companies, mainly from the c-suite that face to face HAS to happen in 2021/2022 and while I totally agree, you cannot beat in person for networking the benefits of a multi modal or hybrid approach must be delivered in tandem. 

“…the benefits of a multi modal or hybrid approach must be delivered in tandem.”

With a focused strategy review of data statistics and an overall event health check providing companies with hard data as to WHY their event was not 100% successful can be the starting point for your multi modal / hybrid event enabling a winning strategy, and ensure that we continue to provide that work, life, balance, and accommodations to those who simply can not or do not want to travel.

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