Back in March, Nick Barber and I teamed up to help B2B marketers assess whether virtual events were a viable alternative to physical, as COVID-19 forced event managers to cancel in–person events wholesale. More than six months later, we now see virtual decisions stretching into 2021 as more B2B marketers evaluate how much of a role digital events will play in their marketing strategy.
Beyond 2021, we predict that physical events will return to a prominent position in the B2B marketing mix, but valuable lessons learned conducting virtual-only alternatives will permanently change how physical events are planned and executed for both in-person and remote attendees.
Our recently published report, “Q&A: A Dozen Questions To Answer Before Taking Your Marketing Event Virtual“ (subscription required), can help marketers host their first virtual event or plan for the future when hybrid versions are common. In this Q&A format, we ask — and answer — important questions marketers should address to make their virtual events deliver value to attendees and profits to their business.
Answering these questions will help you avoid tripping over virtual-event stumbling blocks, such as relying too much on technology or production services to lift a physical agenda and shift it into an online venue. Instead, focus on creating a memorable attendee experience that doesn’t simply resemble a series of loosely connected webinars. You can avoid more pitfalls by answering questions such as:
- What are the three to five objectives that your virtual event should achieve?
- What experience should we offer to partners, sponsors, or exhibitors?
- What technology will this type of event require?
- (Check out the report for the full set of questions to address.)
In spring 2021, we plan to publish a Forrester Wave™ evaluating the marketing event management vendors that matter, with a focus on both physical and virtual capabilities. As the market continues to change rapidly, we hope this research can help you decide which offerings align best with your marketing goals.