Their eyes met across a crowded Zoom

Written by Alison Palmer, Head Of Marketing, Methods

In a virtual world, how much should we try to replicate face-to-face marketing events?

The global pandemic has spawned a plethora of enhancements to the tools and platforms that help us work remotely .

Teams and Zoom have upped their game s, although there is still a gap between the fun, riotous, but highly hackable video calls of early lockdown, and the sterile ‘all microphones are muted, please put your question in the chat’ calls. H ow do we engender a spirit of inclusivity and participation whilst remaining in control of the situation ( preventing virtual hecklers , and hackers) ?

M any of us will have received communications stating, ‘ this year’s annual conference is moving online but will still have all the quality of the in-person event, I don’t agree that a n online conference in any way has the quality of an in — person event.

As a marketer in a Covid world , I have had to adapt my approach to building brand awareness and generating leads . I suspect we all initially thought that we’d deliver all content online — how hard can it be? The reality is, as we now know, that When we the online delegate is different. I have investigated several online conference platforms and have undeniably been wooed by the prospect of becoming an avatar, gliding seamlessly across the exhibition floor, and entering break-out rooms . I have also attended a number of online conferences in the last 12 months and found sitting at a virtual round table being asked to discuss a topi c with people I couldn’t see, excruciatingly uncomfortable — I le ft the room. benefits of networking over a buffet lunch, sparking those conversations and ideas that lead to future meetings and opportunities; does the virtual conference deliver value to the marketer seeking stakeholder buy-in and ROI , and the delegate seeking enlightenment ? no longer have the soft

If pitching the idea of a virtual conference , here’s the element that works possibly better virtually than in-person ; the Here we get down to the nitty gritty of presenting a client case study, running an interactive workshop with Miro boards and polls , demonstrating technology, presenting dashboards etc. These sessions are recorded, so the screen-weary delegate can watch at their leisure. And, as they’re record ed , the presenter s need to be on their A game break-out session. — engaging content, compelling propositions , all clearly conveyed .

In this digitally saturated world, it has never been more incumbent upon marketers to have clear objectives for their marketing campaigns, and I welcome this. I have often had to listen whilst colleagues told me that ‘ we need to attend X, Y or Z conference ; we need to have a drinks reception; I want to advertise in the following publications, we need better giveaways ‘ , and in the glorious days of co-op marketing funds ‘ we need to invite ou r clients to the British Grand Prix, I want to helicopter them in ‘. Now all of these may well be valid ideas, but I would always ask the question ‘to a chieve what ? ‘.

Now that we cannot indulge in the fluff that can make a campaign or activity seem more successful than it was, we have to be crystal clear what we’re aim ing to achieve. V irtual events provide the vehicle to do this , e.g., ‘, — make it clear to the attendee what it’s about and what they’ll get out of it. Sure, we can tie it up in a bow and give it a fancy title too — it’s marketing after all — b u t let’s stop trying replicate the we have delivered some great work with this client. We want to share that with you as you might face-to-face experience, benefit from it and maybe work with us too ‘ and instead create virtual experiences that deliver real value to the screen-weary attendee.

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Originally published at on May 19, 2021.

Informing and inspiring innovative digital transformation

Informing and inspiring innovative digital transformation