As we talk to so many of you –– and sometimes we’re even talking to different teams within the same company –– we’re noticing a few other trends in the midst of this crisis.
- A rush to understand and leverage the virtual landscape. You’re all exploring a wide world of virtual event platforms and virtual event types, learning what a virtual event entails and assessing whether and how it can replace an in-person event. This is awesome. Not every in-person event has to become a straight-up webinar. The smartest event marketers are rapidly evaluating the original goals of their in-person program types against the virtual platforms on the market to determine which platforms and formats will work best to advance their goals.
- Disconnected learning within organizations. Amidst this rush, teams across organizations are conducting separate virtual-tool searches and hiking up a steep learning curve in siloes. If you work for a larger company, we recommend you connect across teams to see what’s worked for others. Your field marketing team, demand generation team, recruiting team, internal events team and community teams--across product lines and regional offices--may have valuable learnings and insights to share already. Open up those lines of communication and do this together.
- Process disruption. Many teams are recreating their event marketing processes, almost from scratch, to adapt to virtual events. Even if they previously had a process that worked well, they’re discarding much about it and trying to rebuild as they pivot to virtual.
- Uncertainty about the future slows decision-making. How long will we need to stay virtual? How heavily should I invest in virtual tools? How will I switch back to in-person? When? How can I make a decision when I don’t know these answers?
We’re seeing some very specific problems emerge as a result of this.
- Limited or zero brand consistency across virtual events. With the current “every team on their own” chaos and the rapid shift to assorted third-party virtual platforms, visual brand integrity has been the first thing to go. This is a bummer, because events are such an important part of bringing a brand to life.
- Limited ability to measure or optimize across programs. As teams rush to different third-party platforms and new processes, and as they do it separately, there is no “single source of truth” to help leadership apply data-driven learnings across teams and program types rapidly, which is so incredibly important right now.
- Lost data and fragmented follow-up. Without the systems and processes teams are used to, virtual event data gets lost, siloed or delayed, and follow-up programs are slow to trigger or don’t happen at all. This further hampers efforts to use virtual programs to drive pipeline or other business goals.
- A widening gap between in-person and virtual events. The siloed adoption of new platforms and processes for virtual events is going to make it difficult for teams to most efficiently leverage these virtual technology investments when in-person events are back on the table.