When Will Live Events Come Back?

Sami Sommer
Sami Sommer

I love live events!

I love the energy, the sounds, the colors, the food… (that’s a joke, the food is usually awful). But most of all, I love the way events connect me with customers and the front lines of thought leadership. The conversations with customers and industry innovators are what really make it all valuable.

I used to play this game, where at the end of a conference, while most of the other booths were watching the clock and starting to pack their things (or even LEAVE THE BOOTHS ALTOGETHER??!), I would stay to the very last second and see what extra badges I could scan from those final stragglers wandering the floor. Not sure if it ever made a difference to top line revenue, but it was the principle of it: we are here to share our story with people who need our software, and we’ll do that until they kick us out of this hall!

Anyway, I love events.

Which just added to the hardship of 2020 – seeing almost 90% of event planners canceling events.

For most companies that has been a huge hit to pipeline development. And 2021 doesn’t look like the year when live events make a comeback. So what do you do with that Lead Generation budget? Do you pocket the cash? And what about those lost leads?

Virtual events and webinars have entered the chat.

Most big conferences have been comfy with video streaming over the past decade, and video streaming has become easy enough that virtual and hybrid events (hybrid, as in a combination of in-person and streaming participants) are the perfect solution. 2020 was the year when most companies were essentially forced to confront their video conferencing appetite, with some clumsy results.

2021 is the year when companies need to make it elegant.

How many of these things are you now using video conferencing for?

  • All Hands meetings
  • Team meetings
  • External Training
  • Customer & partner webinars
  • User Group events
  • Industry events

Now, think about the care and attention you give to your website. Or your office space. Or the care and attention you used to give to a conference booth design. The way you are telling your story matters! Would you be satisfied with an unironic 1994 geocities website design to attract leads?

Why would you let your virtual events be any different? Brand them. Make them beautiful. Make them easy to consume. Shepherd your attendees through a choreographed experience that shows them you are a world-class brand. Whether they are internal employees, partners, or customers, your attendees will notice.

I think 2022 will see the widescale return of live events. I can’t wait. Maybe I’m wrong…who knows? But whenever it does happen, I’m confident we’ll see a permanent shift towards the hybrid event style. No serious event planner can ignore the streaming aspect anymore. The technology is there, and the importance of including anyone who can’t physically attend isn’t going away.

Someday we’ll be back in exhibit booths. And in those booths, we’ll be meeting people in the flesh and virtually. And if we’re planning our events right, both types of attendees will have a great experience. We have the ingredients – it’s just a matter of assembling solutions that are easy enough for everyone to adopt.

I love events! Have I said that yet? Can’t wait to feel the energy of the crowd again, and the wall of sound as a conference hall bustles with booths, vendors, and customers. Until then, we are here to help make your virtual events as exciting and spectacular as possible, with your brand in focus. Get in touch and let’s talk about how we can partner with you on your next event!