From 30 September to 1 October, this year’s CX EMEA 2021 will be our second all-virtual European CX event. Thanks, COVID…

We know you’re experiencing virtual event fatigue, and not being there physically means missing out on some of the key aspects of an in-person event, like queuing to collect your pass (i.e., networking), queuing for the buffet (i.e., networking), and desperately trying to spot a waiter to snag a drink at happy hour (i.e., networking). Or does it?

Virtual events reduce the barriers to attending. You don’t have to travel, so you save time and money. You can consume the content on demand, so you can multitask and slot it in around your normal day. In many ways, virtual events are more convenient than in-person events, but they demand a different approach as a delegate. You have to be proactive. You have to reach out and actively get involved in networking, rather than defaulting to the serendipity of standing in the lunch queue and meeting someone cool or walking through the lobby and picking whatever track session is nearest when the bell goes. You have to shape your own virtual experience, rather than letting the physical flow of the event lead you. But a savvy virtual event attendee can reap a range of benefits their real-world self would miss out on by:

  1. Thinking of the event as binging an entire Netflix series from the comfort and convenience of your office, rather than taking a single trip to the movie theatre.
  2. Being more proactive than you would be at an in-person event to hunt out virtual networking opportunities.

To get the most out of our CX EMEA 2021 virtual event, or any other digital event experience:

  • Think of the event as a three-month subscription to focused CX content, not a one-off experience. One of the key differences between our live and virtual experiences is that we are making all our virtual content available on demand for 90 days after the event. So, while there’s an advantage to being there live (i.e., networking), on-demand content means you can consume the entire event or hunt down content you would have missed if it were live.
  • Make playlists to solve problems and prioritise your experience. We try and balance inspirational keynotes and external speakers, actionable “how-to” content and networking. Our keynotes look at the major shifts in consumer behaviour, in market trends and dynamics, and in major transformations you need to be planning for. Our four tracks are oriented around solving the key challenges European CX leaders told us they face, namely: establish, fund, and scale your CX function; embed customer insights into your business; design great experiences; and measure CX performance and prove ROI. Networking sessions support these themes, but you may have a problem that cuts across these pillars or is industry focused, like improving your mobile banking app. Build your own “playlists” to address your problems, and prioritise which sessions to attend on the day to get the most out of networking and which to listen to later.
  • Network like a proactive pro. We are creating a range of networking opportunities to connect you to peers and Forrester experts. There are analyst one-on-ones, where you can deep-dive into research. There are AfterWords sessions, where our keynote speakers will answer live questions on their research. There are drop-in discussions, which are analyst-led, low-pressure groups that enable conversations, networking, and engagement on popular CX topics aligned around our four tracks. And there are a range of non-English sessions, including an entire French language track and sessions in Italian, Spanish, German, and Dutch. But the key theme here is that the onus is on you as an attendee to reach out and get involved, rather than wait for a chance encounter.
  • Bring a cross-functional team to create a shared understanding. If you are a CX leader working on creating a CX culture, driving alignment with other leaders, or trying to highlight the importance of CX to your wider organisation, bring a cross-functional group to the event. Note content sessions that speak to the problems you are trying to solve, make sure everyone in your team attends, and use sessions to create a shared language. Debrief afterward, share key takeaways and lessons learned, and work out how you are going to action your new ideas — or use analyst one-on-ones to help.