Influence people

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Are Hybrid Events for Real?

I've been researching the subject of hybrid (part physical, part virtual) events recently, because I'm compiling a workbook on the subject.* 

My conclusion?  Hybrid events are for real.

Business marketers think so, too.

According to research by Unisfair86 percent of them believe hybrids will represent half of all events within five years.

Why are hybrids so appealing?  

Hybrids enlarge a marketer's social media footprint.  Hybrid events add a thrilling new dimension to a brand's social media presence.  Hybrids aren't just "one more outpost," but immersive, targeted, community-centric platforms.

Hybrids increase the value of physical events.  Hybrids open physical events—no matter their location—to a worldwide audience, a big plus for exhibitors and sponsors.  Experience also shows that, over time, hybrids boost the attendance of physical events.  They transform them into pilgrimage sites.

Hybrids fill gaps.  Budget pressures are driving a lot of corporate customers to skip physical events.  They want to learn from them, but lack the means.  The virtual complement restores the means.

Hybrids enable multitasking.  Time-deprivation is often the reason people can't travel to a physical event.  Hybrids allow them to participate and get their work done.

Hybrids do a big favor for small businesses.  Small businesses are typically starved for both time and money, yet they're the largest group of employers and the engine driving innovation.  Hybrid events help them compete effectively with their Fortune 1000 counterparts.  Hybrids also appeal to green-minded folks.  

Hybrids help preserve industry knowledge.  Producing a virtual complement to a physical event automatically creates an archive of the content and conversations, many of which might otherwise have been lost.

Hybrids keep improving.  The extension of real life into virtual life gets more compelling with advances in technology and producers' skills.  It won't be long before the online experience they provide matches TV news and talk shows for quality.

* It's for the EastVirtual Event Workshop, May 18 in Washington, DC.  Disclaimer: I'm co-producer of the event.

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