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Published in Virtual Events category on (03/07/2013)

The Lines Between Face-to-Face and Digital Events are Blurred

guy_looking_certain_screen.jpgHow Event Organizers are Responding to an Increasingly Digital World

A reflection of a larger global trend, there is seldom a clear-cut division between digital and in-person events. Event marketers engage with attendees before and after events using digital media—and now, even the events themselves are intertwined with a combination of face-to-face and digital communication. Attendees are engaging in real-time polling at events, they’re using mobile devices to access session content, they’re connecting with fellow attendees on social media… it’s simply not one without the other.  Online and virtual technologies can expand the reach of an event and create opportunities to connect globally with on-site attendees and those participating remotely. Online communities, virtual events, and hybrid events (virtual and in-person) are commonplace as event organizers respond to this reality and an increasingly digital world.

Online Communities

Events no longer exist as a one-time shot for sponsors, hosts, and participants to engage with one another.  Instead, events are becoming virtual communities of like-minded attendees—joining together with discussions under a common #hashtag on Twitter, connecting in dedicated groups on LinkedIn, and even creating event-sponsored social communities hosted off the mainstream social media “grid.”

Hybrid Events

Hybrid events have entered the event manager’s nomenclature as a natural outcome of the fuzzy distinction between in-person and digital events. Hybrid events offer an in-person experience and the convenient virtual option to reach a wider range of attendees. This best-of-both-worlds approach is likely to gain more adopters in the year to come, especially if travel budgets remain tight.

Virtual Events

Another response to the blurred lines between face-to-face and digital events is the emergence of virtual events. A recent MPI article on The Future of Meetings reported that 18 percent of meeting professionals have already encountered the move to virtual and/or hybrid meetings. Among marketers, a recent Forrester report found that virtual events are ranked as one of the top seven most effective marketing vehicles, even more important than social media tactics. In fact, a recent virtual event hosted by marketing automation company, Marketo, claimed record-breaking attendance with more than 10,000 virtual attendees.

As event owners look for ways to remain competitive, online and virtual technologies are expanding an event’s reach and creating opportunities to connect with attendees near and far. Look for this trend to continue in the years ahead.

Find out how Certain’s event management platform can accommodate your virtual events, hybrid events, and in-person events to help you deliver greater value.  Contact us to request a live demonstration.

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