How Do Virtual Events Compare to Physical Events?
Jul 26, 2018 7:20:00 PM
Many multi-sponsor marketing events are still physical events. If you fly from from San Francisco to Denver to attend keynotes and breakouts, learn about new vendors, and network with other marketers, it can be a solid event worth your time. But it makes you think: why would people want to attend physical events vs. virtual events? Here are the top three reasons for wanting to attend both.
In a world where we spend so much time online, sitting in front of our laptops or staring down at our mobile phones, it’s nice look someone else in the eye when you say hello. Meeting people you’ve only spoken to on the phone or via email adds an important layer to the relationship, allowing for a different kind of communication. Yes, we love virtual events, but the world needs handshakes.
The daily grind is the daily grind, whether you work from home in your pajamas most days or fight the traffic for a daily two-hour commute. There’s something to be said for changing it up, getting on a plane or taking a different freeway to spend the day literally looking at a different scene. Not to mention the change in what you’re doing – most conferences aim to be educational, so hopefully you’re engaged in learning while enjoying the view.
Admit it - you still pick up the conference t-shirt and peruse booths for the best items to take home, even though the last thing you need is another water bottle. That’s a fun part of in-person events, although when we think of packing that swag in my suitcase, we start to reconsider.
Travel can be tough. Two hours from house to flight, then flight time and the drive to the hotel can be a lot of “dead” time where email piles up and calls get pushed - not to mention the time blocked off on the calendar for the conference itself. Hotels can be noisy, conference food not so good, and the daily fitness routine can go right out the window. When attending a virtual conference, most of that doesn’t apply. You're more in control of how you use your time. While multitasking can be challenging, jumping from a virtual keynote to your inbox might just keep you sane.
Many attendees are generally interested in seeing what vendors have to offer. There are lots of tools out there you may not use, and by chatting it up with booth reps, you have the opportunity to learn a lot about what’s new, what’s possible, and what you should consider for your needs. But you may not want to chat with everyone. At a physical event, you may often avoid eye contact or try to browse datasheets from the back of the booth. In a virtual summit, you can take you time, browse what you want, when you want, easily ignoring chats from any overzealous sales reps - a much more relaxing experience.
Sure, a physical conference will provide access to the presentation decks after the fact and sometimes offer recorded sessions for later viewing. But in general, once it’s done, it’s done. Smart companies produce virtual conferences with the idea that attendees come back again and again. Maybe there were too many great sessions playing at the same time, or you want to grab some collateral to share with your CEO; whatever the need, you can revisit the experience on your terms, increasing the conference’s value for you, and its ROI for the summit producer.
Yes, at 6Connex, we’re a bit biased; but we still see the value in physical events. Many of our clients offer hybrid events, with live streaming, repeat days, or any number of the many options that add value for physical attendees while extending reach to virtual attendees. There’s a place for both in any marketing mix. When you’re ready to go virtual, give 6Connex a call.