Making Virtual Events a Reality in B2B Demand Generation

Here are some ideas and resources for smoothly integrating virtual events with your marketing mix.

Virtual events as prospecting, lead generation and nurture tools have been successfully used by B2B organizations for years—but they’re only just now hitting the mainstream as must-haves.

I like how Microsoft digital event marketer Scott Lum characterizes the leap from “regular” digital marketing to producing virtual events:

“For many digital marketers, virtual events are an evolution of what they’ve been doing. They’ve been doing webcasts, digital video, online forums and online chats for years. Combine these together and scale it up for a virtual event and you’re not too far from where you want to be.”

If you haven’t attempted virtual events before—or if you’d like to refresh your options—here are four key considerations.

1. Leverage a platform, or partner with a publisher?

Virtual events are very viable to do either

  • With a publisher, who can be a big help on content and driving leads, or
  • By leveraging one of many proven platforms—Unisfair, On24 and INXPO—using resources in your own organization or an agency.

Working with a publisher helps overcome two big challenges:

  • Driving attendees
  • Providing relevant content

However, this option is more costly than developing the content/driving traffic on your own using one of the vendors noted above.

2. Make every interaction simple.

Minimize clicks, simplify registration, and optimize the interface and content consumption for you particular audience.

3. Educate yourself and your team on the differences.

Even with a team of experts on your side you do need to understand how, as Scott points out, “Engagement in the digital world is very different – user experiences are different, ROI is different, understanding the nuances and complexity of social media versus attendee interactions are worlds apart, etc.”

4. Focus on relevance, not the stopwatch.

If you can keep your audience engaged with highly relevant content and ongoing opportunities for interaction, your event can be anywhere from 10 minutes to two hours.

See Scott Lum’s detailed advice on creating virtual events the smart way, and if that gets you excited, check out Virtual Events for Dummies!

What are your experiences with (or ideas or fears about) virtual events? Let’s chat about it in the comments.

2 Responses to Making Virtual Events a Reality in B2B Demand Generation

  1. Scott Lum says:

    Thanks Lauren. Virtual Events are a great way to engage B2B customers online and capture leads. They integrate your great video content (live or pre-recorded) and provide opportunities for online attendees to engage with your experts. Hybrid events combine in-person events with a digital experience for online audiences – a great way to scale your efforts.

    Few advantages of online events:
    – Potentially low incremental costs
    – Great way to scale reach to a broad online audience
    – Customers may not be able to attend in-person event but can consume your content online.
    – Excellent way to integrate your digital marketing efforts with your other traditional and social marketing
    – Good deep engagement online – longer engagement times, customers can engage your experts, integrate partner sponsorships, etc.
    – Content lives on after the event for on-demand consumption.

    A good digital event strategy can help you drive quality leads and bring your other marketing efforts to life.

    • Scott – thank you for your additional bits of guidance! Feel free to post additional comments that reference success stories/case studies leveraging your approach. We have several of our own…but always nice to hear of others. Cheers!

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