The Water Environment Federation converted the largest conference for water professionals in North America, WEFTEC, to a virtual format, WEFTEC Connect. 522 collaborated with WEF to create an event teaser with one goal – drive registration among their audience. We used an approach that included imagery, music, scripting, and animation, to help remind the viewer of energy within rushing water itself.

Over the course of the year, organizations have adapted to a seemingly never-ending set of new challenges. In an effort to adapt and move their businesses forward, we’ve seen a tremendous shift in the reliance of virtual marketing, resources, and events.

For many organizations, events have served an integral role in achieving their annual strategic initiatives. Whether these events help to raise funds, build relationships, cultivate opportunities, recruit students, or share significant highlights for your communities, it’s important to consider the new event landscape and possibilities as you adapt and create new strategies to push forward through new challenges.

Below, we’ve outlined the top 5 factors to consider as your organization plans for their next event:

With the increased reliance on virtual events and hybrid events (includes both virtual and live components), it’s important to understand that virtual elements (in some capacity) are here to stay. Here’s why:

  • 80% of people attend virtual events for educational purposes
  • 78% of planners are taking their events virtual
  • 1000% increase on virtual events since mid-March

The inclusion of virtual elements for events world-wide has become an immediate opportunity to engage with a larger audience (described below) and has allowed for organizations to focus on the content of the event. With in-person events, promotions often centered on the location or social components. Now, not only should you focus on the content itself but also the incentives for your audience to attend. How will they benefit from attending your event?

One of the greatest benefits to a virtual event or a hybrid event is the new ability to engage with a wider audience. With in-person only events, the registration will be dependent on schedules, travel, time-off, and other challenges that could prevent someone from attending. With virtual components of the events, such as resource libraries or online sessions, folks have more of an opportunity to work around those challenges and not only attend your event but engage through the whole process. For example, when you’re promoting your event, you should consider those that might not have been able to attend but now can be a newly engaged member of your target audience. Additionally, virtual components allow for your audience to remain engaged post-event. With videos, testimonials, resources, libraries, and more, you can keep your audience focused on your content and engaged with your brand.

Don’t forget, many people who attend in-person events are there to network with you and others in your industry. So it’s important to keep that element in mind and help facilitate those types of engagements as well!

Perhaps the most daunting component of any event is recruiting and managing sponsors. Sponsors can be a truly beneficial element because they help with two very important goals. Raising funds and networking.

Ideas for how to highlight sponsors in a lucrative way through your event

  • Gamification
  • Web Page Promotion
  • Video Teasers for Session Intro/Outros
  • Video Testimonials
  • Sponsored Social After-Events
  • Logo Promotions
  • Sponsor Newsletter and Engagement Ops

While 45% of marketers use virtual events to drive pipeline, other goals can include:

  • Build brand awareness
  • Generate leads
  • Create and accelerate sales pipeline
  • Drive revenue
  • Retain customers

Before your event, it’s critical to understand the purpose of the event and what metrics you will be using to gauge success. Because success looks different for every event, here are some metrics to consider.

  • Engage and educate prospects
  • Opportunities Created
  • Attendee Satisfaction
  • Deals Closed/Funds Raised
  • Number of Attendees
  • Stay on Budget
  • Social Media Exposure
  • Engagement Metrics

What are we trying to do with this event?
What messaging or themes should we consider?
How will this event benefit the company 3-6 months from now?
How much budget and internal resources are required to execute on this event?
Who needs to be involved in the planning/promotion process?
What agenda would appeal most to our audience?
What kind of speakers/presenters do we need? Should we consider customers?
Will this be a customer event? Prospect only? Or mix?

  • Event Registration Process
  • Appointment Scheduling
  • Video Technology
  • Pre-Recorded Events v. Live
  • Technology and Integrations
  • Event Website
  • Resources
  • Testimonials
  • Recorded Sessions
  • Desired Outcomes
  • Event Partners (ex: Video Production)