While COVID-19 forced many event organizers to cancel fairs, congresses, or networking events, those who had to work from home, made the best out of their situation and equipped themselves technically to keep in touch online. This new context – an increasing digital transformation of individuals while physical events take a mandatory break – offers manifold opportunities for companies to drive virtual customer relationship management and sales as part of their digital customer journey.
Electronic equipment wins, events lose
COVID-19 triggered many people to equip their home for remote work. At the same time, meetings and networking events were transferred to the online world as this was often the only option for people to keep in touch. Consequently, the demand for video conferencing equipment rose significantly – in Germany, some webcams sold 400% more expensive on Amazon than usually, making suppliers of office-related electronic equipment winners of the crisis.
The event industry, however, is hit hard by the pandemic. Many event organizers were confronted with lock down-induced event cancellations. Due to the insecurity about future regulations and pandemic developments many events, which should have taken place later this year, were cancelled, too. Some organizers, however, have started to transfer their events to the virtual world. This approach to networking and meeting people is new to organizers and visitors alike, both facing their very own challenges.
Virtual events: new challenges for speakers and audience
Speakers observe that it is much harder to grasp the audience’s response and state of mind in virtual sessions, especially when a high number of participants minimizes preview screens for the speaker, or when videos are turned off to avoid network disturbances. For bigger events, microphones are often muted to avoid acoustic intermittences and to manage the audience better; participants can still raise their hands online, but their input needs to be moderated and comes in with a delay. Overall, organizers and speakers need a different set-up than for physical events to handle such particularities.
Two more barriers make virtual events differ from physical ones: First, the anonymity of the internet reduces the barrier for the audience to literally “switch off” when the presentation is not engaging. Therefore, relevant content and engaging formats are even more important for virtual events while storytelling and interaction with the audience become much more important. Second, the barrier “to talk business” is higher even if Q&A sessions and virtual networking sessions help to enhance dialogue. Online marketing tools and social selling can drive the journey further for both, customers and sales teams, to enter the next stage of cooperation at a later stage.
How Pallas Advisory can help
We support companies, who are not having the know-how or time to handle virtual events, to keep in touch with customers online. Services include event planning, agenda setting, storytelling, the definition of technical equipment/platforms and digital after-event services. All support can be offered remote, using virtual platforms and tools. We are committed to proving trust by transparent workflows, timings and schedules and love to meet you virtually during online conferencing sessions.
Corinna Seidel, sole proprietor of Pallas Advisory, has broad and international experience in preparing a variety of public speaking sessions for management and sales, e. g. press conferences, customer events, or fair presentations. I am digitally-savvy and believe in the digital future of human relations, especially in an international context where working remotely and online is economically and ecologically sustainable. Virtual relationships are a powerful complementary element of the customer journey. Still, we will all agree that digital transformation will not extinguish the value of personal meetings.