2021 Marketing Trends to Watch – Virtual Events

January 8, 2021

Since virtual events are not going anywhere in 2021, here are some tips to make the most of the time with your audience.

2020 was a radical year to say the least for marketers who quickly had to navigate and rebuild marketing strategies amidst a global pandemic.  Events were cancelled, in-person marketing tactics were abandoned, and organizations had to shift focus to explore and test different methods to market their business.  While marketing budgets were modified, they also increased in areas according to a Gartner CMO Spend Survey, as teams looked to take advantage of potential gaps in their industries to get ahead of the competition.  This clearly reflects the vital priorities that fall under marketing to maintain brand awareness, retain and attract new customers – even if the world is dealing with a Coronavirus crisis.

Regardless of industry or if you are targeting B2B or B2C markets, now more than ever customers are looking for brands that are trustworthy, authentic, evoke positivity, and support the communities they serve.  

The following is the first of many marketing trends that 2021 has in store, based on our predictions:

Virtual Events

2020 saw an eruption of virtual events, from tradeshows, conferences, and galas, to even virtual happy hours, who knew?!  According to a recent CMO Survey, there has been an 84% increase in the value placed on digital experiences.  While many of us may be feeling a “virtual event burnout”, they are sure to stick around for a while, even after in-person events resume.  

Last year many marketers were forced to change their in-person events to virtual.  With a quick turnaround and lack of understanding, you may have attended one or two that could have been described as awkward – boring presenter and/or slides, technology issues, timing off, to name a few.  Since virtual events are not going anywhere in 2021, here are some tips to make the most of the time with your audience:

1. Simulive Webinars

A “simulated live webinar” is essentially a pre-recorded session that is not necessarily publicized as being pre-recorded.  Speakers pre-recording their talk and then taking live Q&A afterwards has many benefits. The AV is superior to what you could experience if it were livestream, and the presentations may include elements with a higher production value, such as music, animations, and videos.

2. Arm Speakers with a Virtual Stage

While a home office cannot replace the stage and spotlights, quality equipment can be the key to a successful meeting or event that relies on technology to engage the audience.  This can include: a microphone that delivers quality wide frequent crystal-clear sound, a desk light with adjustable brightness levels, and even an office chair green screen that provides ability to set any image for your background.

3. Secure a High-Level Guest Speaker, Celebrity or Influencer

Access to speakers and talent is a huge benefit to virtual events, not to mention the savings on their travel costs. High-profile appearances have proven to be a key differentiator to attendees when determining which event is a good use of time.  Not quite sure who you want to hire, but know you want hire talent? A speakers bureau can help you narrow down which type of speaker is right for your event as well as guide you through the process.

4. Build Engagement!

Just because your event is now virtual doesn’t mean you have to lose the interaction and networking that would have occurred in-person. Use chat or live polls for a fun icebreaker or in between sessions.  Trivia games work well too.  If you want certain attendees to dive deep into a specific topic, consider video chat breakout rooms. And last, but most importantly, tell your audience how to engage.

5. Practice, Practice, Practice

Above all else, the key to a seemingly flawless event is practice. We suggest holding 2 rehearsals. The first rehearsal is where you want to introduce the team (speakers and support staff), walk everyone through the platform access & controls, advance slides, check audio, and answer any tech questions.  This is also the ideal time to discuss how the panelists will interact with one another. Rehearsal two is where all speakers do a full dry run and make back up recordings.

Check it out!

In 2020, NiKnack helped support the American Cancer Society's Digital Discovery Ball.  To view the entire virtual event, click here. To learn more about how NiKnack Marketing has been elevating and delivering more impact on virtual events, check out this video.  

Thinking of hosting a virtual meeting or event and need help making it happen?  We have the expertise – just give us a holler!  

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