How to prevent the clash of generations at your hybrid event?
As we reach the end of February, the trepidation that many organizers felt at the height of the omicron wave in December feels like a distant memory. Next week, one of the first European casualties of the Covid pandemic, MWC is set to resume in person and on time as scheduled. Physical events have begun roaring back. Germany has lowered the barriers to entry for many trade fair participants to enter from abroad. The Netherlands plans to reopen today (Feb. 25th, 2022) following similar decisions in Denmark, Sweden, England, and Norway. You don’t have to spend much time on social media to find the exciting announcements of many in-person trade fairs across multiple industries, from confectionery to produce, to Munich’s soon to open security expo.
But as B2B events rush to resume in person, there’s one generation of visitors that might not be joining your show on site, despite the relaxing of restrictions– Generation Z.
Born between 1997 and 2012, the oldest from this digital native generation are entering their early careers. For many Gen Z, the past years of the pandemic have meant few have experienced the benefits of in-person business events as their careers have begun. Comfortable online, they’re adept consumers of digital content, and are now the fastest-growing segment of economic power globally. This generation tends to be more focused on experiences rather than brands. It doesn’t matter the brand legacy you have if the experience is not exceptional. They are also more engaged with causes and sustainability than previous generations and are looking for less rigid event experiences that can be tailored to their personal preferences. They are cautious about privacy, and also value their freedom of choice.
Many young people question the environmental cost of travelling to business events when hybrid and digital aspects have become commonplace. At the same time, some events that have put too much focus on their physical venues have left the digital aspects lacking. It is not particularly welcoming for this generation who spends a considerable amount of time online. For some events, this negligence has cost them their next generation of attendees, exhibitors and sponsors.
For organizers, consider the generational gap when designing your hybrid event experiences. Poorly conceived hybrid experiences can magnify the gulf between the generations– creating nearly separate worlds at the same event. Do not forget that not all attendee journeys are the same, even if they arrive at the same digital or physical room. By neglecting the needs and interests of Gen Z you risk compromising the longevity and sustainability of your event, and your brand itself.
Here’s what I’ve been catching up on this week:
- Hong Kong’s offline and virtual events platform EventX closes $18M Series B | TechCrunch [TechCrunch] Eventx, an offline and digital event platform is the latest company to announce a recent fundraise. The Hong Kong-based company has raised $18 million from a consortium of investors and looks to make a quick move in the coming months in acquiring competitors.
- Zoom launches ‘video-optimized’ Contact Center into general availability | VentureBeat [VentureBeat] Zoom launches their first contact center, in an effort to move beyond “zoom fatigue” and serve their customers on all aspects of enterprise communication.
- Goldcast spotlights which event attendees will be your next customer | TechCrunch [TechCrunch] An event tech doing things a bit differently– Goldcast is yet another event technology provider in a very large pool of competitors– except for one huge difference: their goal to identify with precision the event attendees will become your next customer. Before you acquire them. The company aims to take a proportion of the 35-40% of the budget estimated to produce events in the B2B SaaS space.
- InterMedia Solutions veröffentlicht CO2-Emissionsrechner [Event Partner] A free carbon emissions calculator for event professionals has been launched by the Federal Environmental Ministry, Eurostat and ClimatePartner. Possible scenarios can be evaluated using the online tool at no cost.
- Integrations, Acquisitions, Upgrades: 5 Virtual-Meeting Updates | MeetingsNet [Meetings Net] Roundup of some of the latest updates in the event technology space, in case you missed them.
- WorldStage, lays off all employees and ceases business after decades in the business [Live Design] Worldstage, an international event and entertainment technology company with clients across the globe has gone into administration. The company, which became known as WorldStage in 2011, but with a history many years preceding, is one of the most significant event agency casualties since the beginning of the pandemic. The reason for the closure? Facing “improbable odds for success” in light of the struggles over the past two years.
- IMAX Looks Beyond Movies to Live Events [New York Times] One of the biggest players in entertainment is looking for a piece of the live events industry. Faced with declining rates of moviegoers, IMAX is looking to live events to shore up its business model.
The events industry:
- Umfrage: Berliner sehen Messen als starken Wirtschaftsmotor [AUMA] In 2022, Messe Berlin celebrates 200 years of welcoming visitors to its trade fairs. The company has recently conducted its latest survey drawn from the local region, finding 91% of Berliners see trade fairs as important, according to a new survey by Messe Berlin. Only 40% of those surveyed responded that they had attended a virtual show during the pandemic. Messe Berlin canceled one of its most popular events, Green Week 2022 in late November 2021.
- Survey: Brits keen to stick with Zoom parties [Advanced Television] Even as the world begins to open up, many of us are perfectly happy to continue to stay remote– even when it comes to very personal and social experiences. This latest survey of UK telcos, finds significant proportions of consumers have attended virtual social events over the last year, and a majority of them look to continue to expect the convenience of digital events. One deciding factor in their satisfaction? The strength and connectivity of their wireless networks.
- In-person ad industry events are now more common than virtual [AdAge] Physical events are now beginning to outpace digital and virtual ones two years into the pandemic. A study by DBC Brand Communications finds the number of physical events has continued to climb, even after some early cancellations and challenges due to the omicron variant. But just as we saw with omicron, anything can happen.
How to do it:
- What happens when experiential marketing goes virtual? [Kantar] Without in-person events, can experiential marketing make a difference? Of course– virtual events are found to have strong brand perceptions when brought into the digital space. Kantar’s case study shows that experiential marketing can effectively come into the virtual realm with positive effects.
- 4 Simple Psychology Hacks That Will Help You Better Connect with People Over Zoom [Entrepreneur] Even after two years of nearly exclusively Zoom meetings, there’s a lot many of us can learn about communicating effectively on the world’s most popular video meeting platform. Organizers, be sure to help your participants and online event speakers make the most of their time on the digital stage.
Don’t miss it:
- New Talent needs to be top of the agenda [Exhibition World] Regular readers of the newsletter will know how forceful the talent crisis is for the events and exhibitions industry. If the industry continues to lose top talent, the impact that events can play will be reduced. There’s much that event professionals can do to attract and retain talent during the current crisis.
- A Powerful Engine for Inclusion: Virtual Meetings [Meetings Net] Here’s another example of some of the astounding impacts of online events. Virtual events can be powerful for inclusion and diverse representation, creating a safe environment for those that might find in-person events intimidating.
That’s all for this edition of The Lookout! I hope you have a great Carnival time. If you’re looking for some more great content, don’t miss the PIRATEx Event Resources Hub. If you’d like to be featured here, just reach out!
In the meantime, let’s stay connected if we’re not already on Linkedin or follow the PIRATEx team on Twitter. If there’s anything you would like to read about when it comes to online, or digital events, let me know! I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions.
If you know someone who might be interested in reading The Lookout, please share it with them!
Until next Friday!
The Lookout Newsletter #56
PIRATEx Managing Director