Hybrid events: new growth centers for brands

April 26, 2022

Jon Kazarian

Recently I gave a presentation highlighting the benefits of hybrid events and how they are becoming the future of permission-based marketing. As the world’s comfort with in-person events ebbs and flows, I emphasized the flexibility of hybrid events to make them more digestible for newly interested organizations. 

This article will review the assets of hybrid events and how the conversation and strategy around this type of event are ever-changing. 

Let’s define “hybrid”

There are a few ways to define and utilize hybrid events. In essence, a hybrid event is an event that delivers content to attendees who are not present in person. This could be an in-person event with onsite virtual content engagement and networking through a mobile app or simply an in-person event that delivers content to attendees who are not present. 

The suggested hybrid approach is to have flagship in-person events complemented with virtual events throughout the year. It’s truly the best of both worlds. 

The changing events landscape

It’s no surprise that the events landscape has drastically changed from 2019 to 2022. But like any historic challenge, that change has been met with resilience and quick thinking. 

Some of the perks of this change include:

  • Rapid Innovation in Technology
  • Lower Barriers to Entry
  • Labor Reskilling
  • Wider Acceptance for Virtual
  • Increased Data & Analytics
  • ROI Transparency
  • Content Leveled Up
  • Program Strategy Evolution

Event organizers rose to the task and found rewards in their willingness to try new things. And that growth continues because change is constant, as we all know. 

Growth Acceleration Framework

This framework outlines the journey event organizers will take in planning their hybrid events. We want all participants to blossom into brand evangelists — arguably the best marketing you can ask for. Here is a breakdown of the ideal course strategy:

Plan

You will begin your hybrid adventure by setting goals, choosing themes, and pinning down topics for your upcoming event—extra points for identifying your ideal attendee personas' interests, goals, and challenges. 

Outline your theme and agenda topics. Then structure your event format by researching and selecting the right event platform for your needs. 

Promote

Next, you will hire your speakers, moderators, and exhibitors if relevant. Make sure speakers have all the training and information to navigate their role in your event successfully. 

When pitching to sponsors, create email outreach language that is clear and to the point. You also need to ensure the advantage and assets for sponsors should they agree to participate. 

Profile

Now is the time to form a registration process, segment, and personalize the attendee experience. You can create multiple ticket types, provide custom form fields that include demographic and psychographic information, and develop progressive profile building. 

Once you gather that information, you can tailor communication with your attendees to their preferences. This makes for a more enjoyable and bespoke experience. 

Delight

Engage the creative side of your brain by dreaming up entertaining sessions that compel your attendees to connect. Fostering several opportunities for engagement will appeal to a broader audience. 

Utilize gamification, lounges, 1:1 video chat, and speed networking to encourage networking and engagement amongst your participants. If you choose to implement exhibitor booths, that can be a great place for vendors and companies to educate and connect with attendees. 

Grow

If everything goes off without a hitch, we have reached our destination: growth. The beauty of hybrid events is that growth metrics are significantly easier to access. These analytics include real-time registrations, attendee behavior activity, session duration activity, and chat logs. 

Again, if you so choose, exhibitor analytics are helpful to examine for further growth options. A robust virtual event platform will offer an available count for booth visits, booth clicks, and lead scoring. This information is invaluable for exhibitors who want to learn, grow, and repeat. 

In summary

To encapsulate this growth framework for hybrid events, the trends and insights you will access are essential for your future event planning decisions to encapsulate this growth framework for hybrid events. 

Hybrid events are a viable marketing channel that can drive measurable and sustainable growth. Everyone benefits from this dynamic and thriving method for planning and executing events. 

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