Category: Sales and Marketing

Inbound Marketing

Our Favorite Virtual Conference Trends in 2020

Chances are a conference you planned on attending this year looked a little different in light of COVID-19. Some organizations canceled their events entirely to keep attendees safe. Other businesses pivoted. They took their events online, supercharging a trend of completely virtual or remote conferences.

They faced some successes, like saving budget, and some drawbacks like technical errors. But, in a year that’s been difficult, let’s focus on the positives. Here are some favorable outcomes and trends in virtual conferences in 2020.

Increased Diversity and Attendance

Some companies have noted that moving to a virtual setting increased their number of attendees. With an online format, people are no longer limited by travel restrictions, budget, or other responsibilities like parenting. Even better? With state-of-the-art event technology, presentations can be translated into different languages, making these conferences available to anyone with a Wi-Fi-enabled device.

Networking Opportunities and “In-Person” Experiences

One of the best parts of any conference is the networking. It’s also the reason some attendees choose to go. Platforms like Accelevents, Brandlive, Boomset, and others come with robust features to mimic in-person interactions like this at home. Event organizers can use them for everything from registration, user-profiles, chat tools, polling, virtual exhibitor management, 1-1 video calls, gamification, Q&A, and more. A favorite of virtual attendees, though? The virtual “meet-up” or an online event where you can help segment users based on interest, allowing them to interact with like-minded participants.

Transformed Content

Not every brand has a conference or large-scale event, but many still jumped on the opportunity to turn their in-person content into a virtual setting. For example, at Lynton, many of our clients began hosting more webinars. Some took the content they would typically talk about during in-person meetings and recorded it so everyone could access it. In some ways, these recorded events are similar to breakout sessions at a conference but available on-demand.

Extended Q&A

People love talking to their favorite speakers and asking them questions at live events (or at least, some do). Virtual events can still do this by utilizing tools like Zoom and other event platform technology as mentioned. The difference here is that users could submit their questions in advance, instead of worrying if they’ll be picked on. Events were also able to dedicate a time slot to just Q&As versus having five minutes left after a session. That results in no question being left unanswered!

Virtual Emcees

The virtual event market is already competitive and will only continue to become more cutthroat. Organizations looking to emulate in-person events have started hiring “virtual emcees.” These emcees can help guide your event and help keep attendees engaged – which could be hard in a virtual setting!

“Swag Bags”

Sponsorships are another critical element of conferences. Companies have their logo branded on banners, pamphlets, and giveaways across the event space in an ordinary event. These organizations still managed to get brand recognition in a virtual event with digital ads and a new trend – “virtual swag bags.” Instead of a standard gift bag of a shirt and button, companies gifted access to premium content or free trials. However, it still may be worth it to send a goodie bag to their addresses in advance for some businesses!

Delivered Lunch

Conferences of all sizes typically offer some food incentive, like free coffee or lunch, which is still possible virtually through Postmates or UberEats. Use a branded code to keep up the recognition!

What Are the Benefits of Virtual Conferences?

A lot of what came of the increase in virtual conferences was good, but for some businesses, it’s still all so new. If you’re hesitant to make the switch to a remote setting, here are some ways your company can benefit:

  • Avoid travel costs – and cut back on carbon emissions caused by air travel
  • Save money in your budget or put more budget into making your event personalized and great
  • More time to test presentations
  • Record presentations to eliminate any mistakes
  • Users can attend their preferred sessions in real-time and watch every presentation (if you offer them on-demand). This way, they get to experience the total event rather than a small selection
  • Company branding recognition goes on longer if you offer things on-demand
  • More people can attend – it’s more convenient
  • More diversity – you can open your event up to the entire world if you want (as noted, many platform systems have language translations)

 

With benefits like these, it’s safe to assume virtual events will stick around even as in-person conferences become safe again. If you want to discuss how to put on a successful remote event, reach out.

 

Editor's Pick

ICP vs. Buyer Personas- Why Both are Important for…

Ideal client profiles. Buyer personas. If you’re in marketing, you’ve heard both terms. You know they sound similar, and you recognize they’re both critical to your marketing strategy. But they are indeed different, and understanding the two’s subtleties can accelerate your account-based marketing growth.

What is an Ideal Client Profile?

An ideal client profile, or ICP, is the “perfect” customer for your organization’s solution. It’s not necessarily one person, but rather, a semi-fictitious company that embodies all the qualities that you believe make them a good fit for your services. For instance, do you enjoy diving headfirst into a complex challenge? If so, a business with pressing, unique challenges may be a part of your ICP.

ICPs help you develop target accounts based on specific characteristics (like the made-up scenario above), so you can focus on actual, individual companies in your marketing campaigns. That is, in essence, ABM, after all!

The characteristics that help carve out an ICP can include:

  • Budget
  • Company size
  • Industry
  • Geography
  • Legality
  • Service limitations
  • Their customer bases
  • Their annual revenue
  • Their technology stacks
  • And more

What is a Buyer Persona?

Like an ICP, a buyer persona is another semi-fictional representation. Yet, instead of a company, a buyer persona is a generalized representation of your customer(s) that account for personal demographics, career goals, motivators, needs, and challenges they’re facing in their roles and companies. If an ICP is a target account, then a buyer persona would be a target audience member.

You create buyer personas based on real research and interviews with your current customers. The characteristics you should look for to develop a buyer persona are:

  • Age
  • Income
  • Education
  • Hobbies or interests
  • Home and work location
  • Job title and function
  • Challenges at work
  • Frustrations and successes at work
  • Decision-making status
  • And more

How Do They Correlate?

ICPs and buyer personas are linked, and having both in place can help flesh out the other and move your ABM campaigns forward. You’ll want to ensure your ICP informs your marketing and sales teams on the accounts they should be targeting. Your buyer personas should advise you on the type of individuals that they’re creating content for – whether they work in one of your target accounts or not. By doing this, you can also help your sales team better prospect and prepare for consultations and demos.

Your ICP can also help your sales executives initially qualify leads. With a type of account they should focus on, they’ll know not to waste their time on an organization that’s too small or too big or another precipitating factor.  You can then look at your buyer personas to see if there is an individual within your ICP that you should sell or market to. An ICP is vital for company and customer happiness – but an actual person within a business will eventually sign off on buying your service!

Other Notes

It’s always important to remember that neither your ICP nor your buyer personas are set in stone. They’ll grow alongside you, and it’s frankly best to revisit them from time to time. You may discover that a piece of your ICP no longer makes sense and uncover a new target account that has a buyer persona you’ve actively been creating material for. Or, you may discover that your buyer personas are too broad and could use some optimizing. No matter the case, always make an effort to revise because when you have solid ICP and buyer personas in hand, you can narrow down exact accounts and wow specific users with great content and more.

Need help building out either? We’re here! Reach out for a consultation.

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