When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world in 2020, physical events came to a shuddering halt, and businesses across the globe quickly went online to stay operational. The shift was forced mainly by the lockdowns imposed to contain the pandemic. But virtual events have quickly become a norm since then. This can be broadly attributed to the benefits that the brands gain from these events.
From personalising an attendee’s experience to providing data, analytics and insights to organisers, virtual events have revolutionised how we used to host or attend offline events.
The offline-to-online shift has opened many opportunities for brands hosting such events and for platforms like Hubilo, Hopin, Swapcard and Bizzabo that offer event tech solutions.
To unravel this segment and delve deep into the shift it has brought in marketing strategies and approaches along with the benefits and challenges witnessed by brands, Inc42, in partnership with Hubilo, organised a panel discussion and hosted leading marketers from the industry.
Virtual Events: The Next Big Thing For Brands
Moderated by Liesl Leary-Perez, VP (corporate marketing) at Hubilo, the panel discussion hosted Manikanta Yadavalli, VP (growth) at Trell; Vipul Gupta, VP (marketing and demand generation) at Whatfix; Ashwin S., VP (marketing) at MoEngage, and Sandeep Pati, AVP (marketing and partnerships) at Shipway, as speakers.
During the discussion, the panellists revealed the benefits and challenges of the shift to virtual events and their plans to capitalise on the trend.
Commenting on his experience, Gupta of Whatfix said that initially, hosting virtual events was a novelty and worked well for the brand. But nine to 12 months later, the company started to see drops in registration, attendee ratio, engagement and all other crucial metrics.
“(We realised that) there are just too many options for people. If you don’t stand out from the clutter in terms of content and the experience, you are just another webinar.”
The discussion touched on a number of topics such as:
- Planning and organising events before the pandemic — the cost, the challenges, the hassles and more
- The strategies and the counters opted by the startup ecosystem amid Covid-19 and the consequent dramatic shift in social behaviour
- The challenge of engagement: How brands can build and maintain effective engagement through virtual and hybrid events
- The shift in marketing strategy and the new approach: How startups can tap into the virtual events industry effectively and how event tech platforms like Hubilo can make a difference here
- Hybrid events: The concept, the execution, and how and why the startup ecosystem should shift to hybrid