What are events for?
“Before the pandemic, events had not changed in three decades, but people had changed. We were still shoving hundreds of thousands of people into ballrooms, into backyards, or into convention centers, and just making them look at stuff. We made events about us as the events industry, not about the experiences that our attendees were going to have,” Chief Imaginary at The Event Nerd, Damany Daniel explained in an Allseated Exchange Podcast episode. “We were still saying, we’re the most important part of your life. Separate from all the things you’re doing and hang out with us. And now the world says, no…. I don’t want to do that anymore.”
Perspectives are changing. It’s no longer about having events for the sake of having events. Now, events are about addressing client needs, offering opportunities for shared experiences.
Understanding client needs should be the first priority. Tim Simpson, Brand & Engagement Chief Strategist – Maritz Global Events, said during an Allseated Exchange Podcast episode.
“Let’s go back to answering a fundamental question, which is: What am I using my experiences for? Planners, strategists, organizations, whatever, are not asking the question. They should be asking: what am I actually using the experiences for, should I be using them for, and will I be using them for going forward? Instead, people are looking at their organizations, their bottom or top lines, their objectives. They really should be saying: Hey, our people have likely changed their wants, needs. Their preferences have changed. So, let’s ask the question so that we can understand that and apply it to what we’re actually using the experiences for. Then, talk tools and strategies,” Simpson advises.
“Understanding is the core of design thinking. Looking at examples of client engagements that I’ve done over the last several years, 60 to 70% of the time is spent understanding [client needs]. Product innovators, product marketers, or designers – think about the product life cycle. It starts with an identified need. It doesn’t start always with an idea, but even if it does start with an idea, the idea comes from a perceived pain point or opportunity. Understand needs first,” he suggests.
Dahlia El Gazzar, Founder of Dahlia Plus Agency, echoes the sentiment in another installment of the Allseated Exchange Podcast. “It’s realizing that it’s not only about a virtual platform, but you also need to know event participants to personalize their experience…. answer the question: How are you going to tailor events, content, and experiences to your attendees?”
Consuming passive content has given way to people sharing experiences. Increasingly now, events are about understanding needs and providing corresponding experiences. Whether delivered on-site, virtually or in a hybrid scenario, for events to succeed, participants must feel, connect, and experience together. Events are about discovering common ground, building trust, creating mutually beneficial relationships. After identifying participant wants and needs, it’s time to find a delivery solution.
Find the right virtual events software platform.
Don’t just throw something together and hope it works. Do your homework. Find a solution that delivers what you, your partners and your audience need.
Not all virtual event software providers are created equal. With the arrival of the pandemic, traditional, on-site events disappeared overnight. Figuring out how to deliver events virtually presented an unprecedented new challenge. The limited technology available at the time fell short. The only option was basic video conferencing. Virtual events couldn’t come close to providing the in-person experiences people were missing. The trouble was, no technology specifically designed for the events industry existed. Virtual event technology had to be created from scratch.