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'How Can Virtual Events Be An Important Part Of Your Marketing Stack?'

November 16, 2022

The world is opening back up, and one thing is very clear: the way we currently host virtual events isn’t working. Marketers still do identify virtual events as a crucial part of their future strategies, though. At the convergence of these two truths are Hubilo’s latest offerings as a part of their leading virtual, in-person and hybrid events platform. Hubilo’s CEO and Founder, Vaibhav Jain answers pressing questions on just how marketers can start planning for the next wave of virtual.

Why aren’t virtual events working?

The event industry is in flux. Two years ago, we all had to pivot to virtual, fast. Everyone did it, ranging from pretty good to barely good enough. Now that we’re adjusting to a new normal after the world has reopened and the way we were doing things isn’t working for audiences’ new expectations and requirements. According to recent research, 71% of event planners find that virtual events can’t truly mimic IRL experiences, 72% of event attendees prefer in-person to virtual events, 90% of buyers have online event fatigue, and 71% of event organizers are challenged connecting with virtual attendees.

Today we have endless options: virtual, in-person, and hybrid events are all on the table. As planners and platforms, we need to be honest about what isn’t working with our virtual event options––and what is still resonating with audiences. While the world has opened up again, in-person events aren’t the only go-to for marketers or their attendees. The events industry had to digitize nearly overnight. Now it’s time to define what the next for events will look like.

How can virtual events better engage audiences?

Virtual is competing with real life; now, people can visit friends and family, have hobbies and activities outside their homes, and go out socially. An event online feels like an extension of the computer or a smartphone, making it less compelling as a medium.

Marketers are struggling to deliver experiences in any format that are meaningful and engaging and that can compete with the rest of life’s competing priorities. Marketers need an interface that is a completely immersive experience without the need for a headset, and Hubilo’s interface is intuitive to the extent it requires no demo or training. Hubilo now lets attendees join a literal seat at the table around the speaker. Our Immersive Session Layout assigns a table when a guest arrives, though they can switch seats at any moment. Complete with watch parties that let people join an interactive social watching experience and view the sessions as a group from their table.

Attendees also want shorter events they can fit into their new busy lives, with more connection between themselves and other attendees. Gamifying engagement starts the process, and one-on-one connection keeps audiences feeling like more than a box on the screen. Furthermore, additional features like Interactive Polls and Chats, Reactions, Contests, and more help make every event immersive and engaging.

In what ways can virtual events increase ROI for Marketers?

All the challenges marketers have experienced as we move into our new normal have resulted in decreased ROI for planners, sponsors, and vendors alike. Budgets for events still haven’t returned to pre-pandemic levels, and marketers need to reinvent their marketing mix for how to best leverage events. They need help driving engagement, attendance, and ROI; for this, they need to reconsider all aspects of how events are created and executed.

The best way to accomplish this is through the deep analytics and data provided by virtual platforms. Hubilo’s analytics and insights help planners understand event performance in order to optimize revenue streams and understand event ticket sales, post-event results, and more. Start the personalization by using Hubilo’s Email Marketing Engine, which lets marketers create branded––and trackable––automated emails. From segmenting the audience by interest or attendance type to pre-event promotions, there’s no need to integrate a whole new software to market your event.

Event marketers who use an integration into a Marketo/HubSpot/Salesforce can share what happened at the event into the system of record for all stakeholders to dive into. Hubilo provides immediate insights to understand how to build even more engaging, personalized event content and experiences in the future by tracking what resonates with attendees––and providing value to sponsors and vendors.

What’s up next for virtual events?

With COVID still present, and a looming recession, virtual events are still the safest and most reliable way to engage audiences and share vital information. For planners who want to take advantage of the latest wave of virtual events, Hubilo provides a designated and embedded customer experience manager who works on your event side by side. Our customer experience team has seen––and worked on––some of the best events of the virtual era, and they know how to help marketers turn their ideas into more. More registrations, more engagement, and more ROI.

In addition to dedicated customer service, Hubilo also offers in-suite marketing tools to take your event to the next level while keeping data secure and complete within the software without the need to integrate other programs.

Our industry digitized nearly overnight at the onset of the pandemic. Hubilo’s new features will help keep this field growing and innovating. As we move forward, marketers will begin to see increased registrations, attendance, and ROI as virtual events have an opportunity to benefit from intention and data. Marketing will stay personalized and accessible, and marketers will have the ability to be more creative than ever.