For a virtual event to be successful, there must be a sound and strategic plan. Such a plan should be researched, developed and documented well before the platform selection topic is even broached. Virtual events may involve technology. However, as is the case with physical events, it’s all about the experience first. Technology may be important, but it is just there to provide the means for addressing a planner’s experiential goals. Once the virtual event manager gets the planning right, technology decisions will fall into place. Below are some virtual event management tips.
A top tip involves understanding the audience first. A virtual event manager must act as if he/she is a product manager. To come up with the best product, in this case an event, the manager need to first understand the target customer, in this case the audience. The manager has to identify the event attendee profile and document the average user for each profile. Questions one needs to ask about the audience include whether they are inclined to experience an event virtually, the topics and subjects they are most interested in, and the online websites they frequent the most.
Identifying funding sources is another notable tip. A virtual event can never happen if the manager is unable to pay for its costs. The manager could be representing an organization aiming to fund the event with per-event or association fees. It could be a non-profit organization that has submitted a bid for a grant. He/she could also be a B2B publisher aiming to fund the event through sale of sponsorships at a virtual trade show. In the case of virtual trade shows, the manager can identify possible exhibiting firms and anticipate the amount of revenue that can be generated from the sponsorships. He or she can review past events produced and review trade shows of competitors to find out the firms exhibiting at them. Irrespective of the scenario, a manager should ensure that the funding model is identified, and that these funds are firm.
It is advisable for a virtual event manager to define his/her format, style, venue and personality. There are numerous types of virtual events, such as virtual career fairs, virtual trade shows, virtual products launches, and so on. Chances are that the manager already has a certain format in mind. However, he or she needs to consider the additional details of the style, design, and personality of the virtual event. The most cost effective and direct approach involves selecting from the pre-existing event template of the virtual event platform provider. This provider will allow the manager to choose a theme from their template library and then apply customizations on top of the base image. This approach may be cost and time efficient, but the manager should bear in mind that distinguishing his or her event is more challenging. This is especially the case if the competitor chooses the same theme and uses the same platform.
Technology may be fun and exciting. However, before a manager utilizes it, it is important for him or her to spend time and effort going through the virtual event management tips outlined above. By doing so, he or she will be rewarded with a successful event.