• Hybrid Events Take Hold

    tronA hybrid event combines a live physical marketing event with live online access for people who: a) cannot attend the live event, b) prefer not to attend or c) those who attended the live event but did not see all they wanted to see.  In INXPO’s white paper, “Best Practices for Creating Compelling, Innovative Hybrid Events,” the author cites several examples of companies capitalizing on this trend to maximize impact (leads) while reducing costs.

    For the new COMDEX Virtual launch, CEO and President Robert Faletra virtualized the traditional COMDEX trade show with many of the aspects of the original event that appealed to the former attendees including 10 keynote presentations, 107 topical sessions and 48 training sessions along with 27 technology vendor “displays.”

    For the Black Hat tech security conference held by UBM Studios in Las Vegas this past July, 1521 attendees joined virtually, paying $395 each and averaging 6.5 hours of viewing time per login.  On a larger scale, General Electric Healthcare held a hybrid exhibit at the Radiological Society of North America’s annual convention, which saw them creating an exact replica of the actual booth, doubled by a maneuverable webcam that let users peer into the actual 30,000 square foot expanse.  It attracted 4,000 visitors that spent an average of 1.5 hours with a cost 30% less than GE’s previous non-hybrid booth.

    IDC and Cisco are set to deliver the Directions 2011 conference on the future of information communication technology, a sophisticated example of a hybrid event beautifully promoted in a YouTube video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-doa0ABxmY&feature=player_embedded#

    An integrated event brings immediacy to the concept.  It connects the two dimensions into something requiring far less effort for the attendees.  The virtual aspects deliver live streaming video of conferences, workshops and speakers that would otherwise be impossible to present, while audiences both online and off can create word of mouth and “active commentary through social media networks such as Twitter, Linked In or Facebook.”

    By matching the look and content of virtual space with that of the exhibit, integrated events market the space and make actual physical presence desirable, but not necessary.  Many hybrid events allow virtual at­tendees to interact with physical attendees via a live webcam, but experts warn, to ensure proper staffing, you’ll also need to assign enough staff to cover your physical and virtual events separately. Don’t expect staff to monitor both venues simultaneously.”

    For customers and prospects who cannot attend either the live or online event real-time, you can provide access to the full range of content at any point in the future, perhaps for a fee.  Other tips include briefing speakers on all aspects of the event so they understand how both live and virtual participants will perceive them, and leverage all of the benefits of a hybrid event by measuring complete attendance, number of visits, dwell time and level of interaction.

    A hybrid physical/virtual event presents many benefits for the modern audience and an increasing number of third-party vendors offer expertise to execute a year-round event strategy for continuity and cost-effective demand creation.







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    1 Comment to “Hybrid Events Take Hold”

    1. [...] events are a fast emerging trend in event marketing.  For example, a company can setup a camera to live stream their seminar or trade show booth for [...]

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