The Lookout #31: Do we value efficiency over experience?
I hope you’re having a great week! Here in Europe, we saw the return of the region’s first large scale tech conference (VivaTech) last week, and the enthusiasm continues to rise for hybrid events this fall. The outcomes of VivaTech shows the potential of a hybrid event at its best: The production welcomed over 400 speakers, both in person and remote as well as 4.4 million viewers from across the globe.
But the impact of the pandemic on the larger B2B space has been significant. In the absence of big shows and tradefairs over the last year, there is more and more evidence that business practices have changed fundamentally. Business had to adapt and go on without shows. According to new research, “Over 70% of B2B decision makers prefer remote human interactions or digital self-service.” Consultants are encouraging brands to begin reaching prospective clients where they are (online), rather than travelling for face-to-face direct sales encounters. This is also encouraging brands to develop their own online events and presence, potentially creating alternatives for larger shows and fairs.
It’s no longer enough to sell space, or a platform, but to really be a partner to facilitate the sales process
Will the return of hybrid shows be able to shift these trends? How will event organizers position themselves in the wake of these changes? In any case, I think it will depend on organizers concentrating more on delivering real value for their exhibitors and participants, possibly more than ever before. It’s clear for organizers that it’s no longer enough to sell space, or a platform, but to really be a partner to facilitate the sales process. Those organizers that can really demonstrate strong returns for their exhibitors will be the ones that will certainly rise above the rest.
This begs the question, if we value sales efficiency over the experience of human interaction? Maybe all the hybrid events planned for the coming months in Europe can show us further if these two have to be mutually exclusive or not.
As always, there’s been a lot happening this week when it comes to the events and experience economy. Here are some of my top reads!
- Happy Birthday Zoom! The video conferencing app celebrates its 10th birthday this week!
- MeetingPlay Raises $75 Million in Contrarian Strategy to Stay Invisible to Event Attendees [EventMB] The investment in online event solutions continues unabated. This large investment is significant– because of MeetingPlay’s white label solution puts the brand, not the eventtech platform, first when it comes to events.
- Twine raises $3.3M to add networking features to virtual events [TechCrunch] A late funding announcement from last week, Twine aims to connect participants organically in online events. If you’ve never heard of this platform, it’s one to watch. The company has a raft of event professionals at the helm– including the company’s co-founders whose last company exited to CVent in 2019.
- Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms start rolling out in the US [The Verge] Spotify announced their Clubhouse competitor last week, and now Facebook rolls out their offering in the U.S. We’ll wait to see if this one takes off.
- Why Event Tech Companies Should ‘Be More Like Netflix and Less Like Blockbuster’ [BizBash] MeetingPlay founder Joe Schwinger [see the news above] pens this column about growth in the events space. We can sum it up as, don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and move fast.
- Two New Cool Online-Video Platforms You Need As An Antidote To Boring Work Calls [Forbes] Profile of two entrants to the online video space, Bluescape and mmhmm (you’ll also find them on our eventtech directory) that might be the right option for your next online event!
- Virtual Event Platform, Samaaro, Raises $125,000 In Angel Round [Get News] Popular Indian eventtech platform Samaaro augments their bootstrapped growth with private investment.
- Top Banana releases bespoke event platform [Conference News] Top UK event agency, Top Banana launches an event platform of their own — this is a trend we’ve been seeing more and more of from agencies, so expect even more entrants in this space. PIRATEx has our own eventtech solution as well!
- VivaTech investing in hybrid format [Conference News] Fresh off a successful hybrid outing, VivaTech doubles down on the format with this latest investment.
- Breakroom teams up with High Fidelity to bring 3D audio to online meetings [VentureBeat] Sound can be tricky in a virtual world environment. This new integration allows events to host multiple simultaneous conversations without participants speaking over one another. Pretty cool!
- 6 Virtual Event Technology Updates [MeetingsNet] Rundown of new updates from top eventtech platforms, including MeetingPlay, 6Connex, UgoVirtual and more. Something we love? UgoVirtual’s QR codes that unlock three-dimensional models of physical products, perfect for demos!
How to do it:
- How to maximise learning value in virtual events [Training Journal] Tome top tips for increasing the learning potential at your online events– don’t skip out on the engagement here. Another suggestion? The impact begins before your event starts, so provide resources early.
- How to Show Gratitude to Virtual Event Speakers [Successful Meetings] With potentially a global pool of prospective event speakers, ensure that they are appropriately appreciated!
- 5 Powerful Tips for Promoting Your Next Live Event [Business2Community] With an even more crowded event space, ensure your marketing efforts make the right impact.
- Exhibitors Speak Out: Don’t Hinder Our Efforts [Trade Show News] Ensuring exhibitors have a great experience at online events is something that’s really key to us at PIRATEx. But many organizers limit the potential impact of their exhibitors with some key design decisions. Don’t make the same mistakes!
- A Glimpse Behind the Curtain of a Recent Hybrid Event [Associations Now] Destinations International hosted their first hybrid event last month. Here are some of the top things they learned. Key takeaway? Hybrid events are more expensive than you might think. Make sure you budget appropriately for tech, audio and visual.
- Let Content Be the Bridge That Builds Your Hybrid Events [Associations Now] Similarly on the theme of Hybrid events, Melissa Bouma argues that shared content in a hybrid event can connect your participants and encourage remote attendees to return to your event, when things continue in-person.
- Virtual Meetings Are the Key to ROI at Hybrid Events [Trade Show News] For exhibitors, making strong connections that convert is the most important part of an exhibition. It’s up to organizers to ensure that these connections are as seamless as possible.
- How to Use Online Events to Amplify Your Brand’s Voice [CMS Wire] On the theme of how the B2B sales journey is changing— event organizer know that online events can be a key element to share your story and showcase your brand. Here’s three steps to get off to a great start.
Don’t Miss it:
- EW guest editor Paul Woodward Meets the CEO: Wolfram Diener’s year in the hot seat [Exhibition World] CEO of Duesseldorf Messes, Wolfram Diener describes how the company weathered the past year of uncertainty and charted a course for the future.
- Virtual Conference Platforms Are Stuck In The Internet’s Past [Forbes] Lee Gimpel from Better Meetings argues that many eventtech platforms are unfit for purpose, holding onto the pain points of pre-pandemic events.
- Tech Giant: Cvent Stalwart Anil Punyapu Seeks to Bridge the Engagement Gap [Tradeshow News] How Cvent approaches a strong event design in 2021, and what’s their take on the client perspective going forward.
- Mallorca will be hosting a live event to test the COVID-19 certificate [We Rave You] Spain has been taking an optimistic approach when it comes to returning to live, in person events. This new test, a 5,000 person rave takes place today (June 25). Here’s how it will work.
- MWC Barcelona: GSMA welcomes new era with hybrid event [Technology Record] Mobile World Congress returns next week, and they’ll be going hybrid using Microsoft Teams.
- Is It Safe to Go Back in the Water? Publishers Debate In-Person vs. Online vs. Hybrid Events [Knight Foundation] Really compelling take from publishers and event organizers on the choice to go back to in-person live events later this fall, especially as COVID seems to be increasing in some markets. For some organizers, it’s better to stay safe with an online event strategy, rather than risk uncertainty.
- CEO Secrets: ‘My billion-pound company has no office’ [BBC] A profile of Hopin’s Johnny Boufarhat working fully remotely from home (at the moment an AirBnb rental in Barcelona).
- Is culture’s digital phase starting to fade or will online events continue? [Irish Times] I’ve really been inspired how the arts and creative industries have weathered the pandemic, especially when it comes to events. It hasn’t been easy. This Irish take is particularly enlightening.
- Zoom Nearly Broke My Body. Here’s How to Protect Yours [Wired] As Zoom celebrates it’s 10th birthday this week, be aware of the occupational hazards.
That’s it for this week! If you want to be kept up to date on the innovation of the event industry, sign up to The Lookout Newsletter!