Yes, you can track attendance, run surveys and tests asking opinions, or pose questions during the online event in order to keep attendees engaged. All of those are important. But what if you could track their actual behavior? In so doing, you’d be able to see how your audience engages with certain content, experts and even their peers. You can use that information to adjust the content, the conversations and even the virtual environment itself to improve your efforts. After all, it’s one thing to say you will do something and it’s another to actually follow through and do it. You can read more here.
Imagine this: you are sitting on a farm in Iowa. You are surrounded by cows and grass and your quiet homestead. But on your tablet, you are engaging in a live theater performance streaming in real time from New York City.
While many businesses leverage webcasts for marketing, training and other corporate uses, a growing number of groups are using webcasting platforms to stream video to consumer audiences. As a result, fairs, arts exhibits, concerts, dance performances, sporting events—even horse shows—are expanding their reach to larger audiences, some of whom are global, who would never be able to attend the live event.
Remote attendees can feel almost as though they are there at the event, thanks to advanced features such as interactive chats. For instance, a theater performance could include question and answer sessions with performers before, during or after a show. This level of engagement is built into webcasting platforms but it would otherwise be very difficult and expensive to arrange.
In the past, events were limited to a specific place and time. As producers and viewers have become technology savvy and networks are now able to carry high bandwidth video streams, broadcasting events over the web no longer seems exotic. Webcast prices have dropped as the technology has matured, making them accessible to small organizations and non-traditional users.
Result: although webcasting has been around for a long time, new uses are still being invented!
If you currently work in an office environment, then you know the struggles of trying to balance multiple spinning plates. You’re managing three email accounts and returning phone calls, all the while trying to set aside enough time for that important business meeting.
The workplace is now more consolidated than ever thanks to tightening budgets and high demand for multi-faceted employees. Nowadays, it’s all about doing more with less and optimizing the little time you do have to spare (something you’re most likely all too familiar with).
Ever since the first faint black-and-white signals flickered over the airways, one of the favorite plot lines of relationship-based TV comedies has been the fear of commitment. Hilarity usually ensues when one partner does all sorts of crazy things to avoid entering into any long-term obligation with the other.
But TV and the movies aren’t the only place fear of commitment appears. It’s also a reality in the workplace, especially when organizations are looking at spending a lot of money for license fees on technology they may only need to use occasionally. Such as web conferencing.
I attended my first ‘real’ virtual event today, and I have to say, it was pretty cool. This is a service that InterCall offers through Unisfair, a company that we recently acquired, so I’ve seen how it works, but never experienced it firsthand.
Today’s event was hosted by the American Marketing Association through their VirtualXchange series. I’ve been to plenty of on-site training sessions and conferences, and even though I sat at my desk for this one, I still got the same benefits out of it, and probably some extra perks (not having to leave my office is at the top of the list).
When I entered the lobby, I saw signs pointing me in the direction of the networking lounge, the auditorium where the presentations took place, a download center where I could get any information about the sponsors I wanted and the exhibit hall where I could chat with sponsor representatives. And what event wouldn’t be complete without some kind of goodie bag or raffle? This online event was no exception; there was a prize center where you could earn points in order to win giveaways.
So, how was the ‘beef’ of the event, the actual presentations? Did I get as much out of it as I would have if I were there in person? I would say it is about 90% comparable to the real thing. The presentations were streamed, so there were slides, pictures of the speakers and interactive Q&A, just like a live event.
- I didn’t have to sit in those standard event chairs (burlap covered foam and cardboard). Instead I got to stay in my comfy office chair and desk.
- I could still listen to the seminar while doing a few other urgent tasks that otherwise would have prevented me from attending.
- Asking a question resulted in less anxiety because the whole room didn’t turn to see the girl in the back of the room with her hand up.
- Using streaming kept me at my desk because I could only hear the presenter through my computer speakers (as opposed to using audio conferencing and web conferencing because I tend to wander with my cordless phone and not always watch my screen).
- I felt it was an efficient use of my time because I could make my own agenda based on my schedule. I wasn’t forced to spend a whole day in a hotel and meander through exhibit booths or sit around in a lobby until the presentation I came to hear was ready to begin.
I suppose you could say that some of these pros are also cons from a marketing perspective; however, feeling like I’m in control will make me a repeat attender and eventually a buyer.
Have you either hosted or attended an event in a virtual environment like this? What do you think are the benefits and drawbacks?