Are you looking at the improvements in technology and its lower cost of entry price points and wondering if face-to-face events still provide a good return on investment?
Now, more than ever, the value of face-to-face seems to be in question. Will they soon become obsolete in the corporate world?
Many event marketers feel the need to embrace virtual events because they are the “shiny object.” They’re bright and new and some planners expect virtual events will breathe new life into their existing events.
But face-to-face events aren’t dull and rusty. Far from it. With the evolution of attendee experience and actionable data, the easiest way to resuscitate an event isn’t by changing formats from in-person to virtual. It’s to use data to provide participants with more of what they are interested in, thus holding their attention and making a bigger impression.
Shiny object syndrome, according to Entrepreneur, is a “disease of distraction” and it’s one that entrepreneurs and event planners alike must navigate. It can cause people to invest in new courses of action or products, without much thought, in order to affect large change. Giving up face-to-face events for the “next big thing”, like virtual meetings, can cost an organization more money long-term, bring about inconsistent messaging/branding, and confusion for the staff and stakeholders.
When weighing the efficacy of face-to-face events, don’t be swayed by the shiny object of these other misconceptions:
Misconception #1: Face-to-face Is Old-fashioned and for an Older Demographic
Boomers are known for their interest in face-to-face office meetings over corporate emails, and younger generations prefer emails and texts in corporate communications. When it comes to events though, younger generations are actually equally enamored with event experiences.
In the paper Attitudes of Generation Y to Meeting Participation and Meeting Design published by the Skema Business School and the University of Greenwich, the authors noted a recent upswing in Millennial-aged attendees at face-to-face meetings. Yet, while the numbers have increased, many are showing dissatisfaction with the “traditional content” and format of these meetings.
The problem is not the fact that people are meeting one another outside of the virtual world. The discontent occurs with the programming and arrangement of the meetings themselves. With limited budgets, Millennials would rather spend money on making memories, not buying stuff. If meeting planners can present opportunities for memories and experiences, Millennials will be interested.
In a study conducted by Harris and sponsored by Eventbrite, they reported that Gen Y “not only highly values experiences, but they are increasingly spending time and money on them: from concerts and social events to athletic pursuits to cultural experiences and events of all kinds. For this group, happiness isn’t as focused on possessions or career status. Living a meaningful, happy life is about creating, sharing and capturing memories earned through experiences that span the spectrum of life’s opportunities.”
Professional live event solution:
Don’t get rid of face-to-face if the meeting is aimed at attracting a younger generation. Instead, create more dynamic programming and content structure through incorporating:
- Fun-to-use technology
- Activities like gamification or e-scavenger hunts
- Experiences participants will remember or which suit their needs, like mini-mentorship sessions or opportunities to lead
When virtual options work best:
Virtual events are ideal for continuing existing relationships. Younger generations enjoy the interactivity and instantaneous feedback that online communities offer. While virtual communities aren’t making the leap to replace face-to-face events, they can bridge the distance between travel and events. Virtual events can also help maintain the excitement and buzz between conferences.
Dive further into the rest of the misconceptions. Click continue to read the full whitepaper.