If you ask any event managers about what’s trending these days in the event industry, they’ll unanimously answer with hybrid virtual events. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began and started confining us to our homes, virtual events have become the new go-to for companies and brands looking to keep their customers engaged during this extended lockdown period.
Virtual Events and conferences have taken over the world of marketing events today, and have become the only resort of brands looking to launch new products during this challenging time. Learn more about Virtual Events in COVID-19 World.
Fortunately, hybrid events aren’t new for event managers, as many have been adopting those for quite some time now.
If you are new to this discussion of hybrid events, then this article can prove really helpful for you.
Below, you’ll read about exactly what hybrid events are, how are they different and similar to virtual events, and 5 innovative, groundbreaking hybrid event ideas that helped the companies employing them, rain gold!
Read on to know more!
What are Hybrid Events?
A Hybrid Event is any event; a conference, training seminars, expos, trade shows, exhibits & fairs, etc.; that utilizes both live, in-person components with digital, virtual ones.
To take a simple example, a virtual conference with people attending it, with its keynotes being live-streamed or webcasted to the world or a few selected audiences, can be called a hybrid event.
Hybrid Events are everywhere, and they have gained notorious popularity in recent years.
How to Plan a Hybrid Event?
- Be clear with your hybrid event goals
- Understand the expectations of your in-person and virtual attendees
- Decide the budget of your hybrid event
- Choose the hybrid event platform wisely
- Prepare engaging content that will keep the participants involved
- Keep your live and in-person attendees engaged via tools like live chat, video & audio features, Q&A sessions, live polls, and more
- Include multiple networking opportunities to let attendees interact, engage, and make new connections
- Create an effective marketing plan and promote your hybrid event on different social media platforms
- Live-stream your hybrid event
- Support your event with 24/7 customer support
- Obtain detailed analytics and insights to measure the success of your event
- Take attendee feedback to understand if you have been able to meet the expectations of your audiences.
- Make sure to perform a dry-run after you are done with your event planning and platform & feature selection
Benefits of Hybrid Events
Hybrid events have grown phenomenally over the past few months and became immensely popular over the course of time. The perks offered by hybrid events motivated event organisers around the world to leverage the same and benefit from it. Hybrid Events allow event organisers to reach a wider audience, capitalize on larger ROI for the virtual event and get access to data items like never before. However, it enables companies to accelerate their sales funnels and boost revenues. Below we have listed some of the most promising hybrid event benefits. Have a look:
- No Limitation or Budget Constraints
As physical events are often constrained in various ways; seating capacities, budget considerations, venue limitations, host-related issues, and lots more, hybrid events offer event organizers a much better way to leverage the real power of their events and rope in a larger audience.
Not every potential target attendee is able to be a part of a physical event be it due to a geographical restriction or expense involved in traveling. Adding an element of a virtual component in your physical event, make your event accessible to a wider spectrum of attendees without any barrier. However, it results in expanding your event reach and taping more global prospects.
Since hybrid events are open to the general public to attend, the overall turnout at your virtual event is likely to be much higher than it would have been at a physical event.
- Increased Engagement, Participation & Substantial ROI
The increased attendance automatically leads to increased ROI. It also leads to better audience engagement and participation, and more refined data to get potential leads.
You can also use your live-streamed recordings about the key footnotes and takeaways from the virtual conferences or events. You may use them later to further increase and engage your audience base.
- Valuable Data Collection
Additionally, hybrid events make it extremely easy to track each move your attendees make on the virtual event platform. It makes it easier for event managers to fine-tune and better the details of the hybrid event next time around.
As you can easily deduce from the above discussion, hybrid events are very valuable in the event marketing industry. It makes event management extremely easy and innovative for organizers. Below, we’ll give you 8 of some of the most exciting & innovative hybrid event ideas from brands around the world
8 Best Hybrid Event Ideas from around the world
Now that we have established the importance and appeal of hybrid events, and just how they are different from, and similar to, virtual events, it’s time to read about the 5 best hybrid event ideas from brands around the world.
1. INBOUND by HUBSPOT
INBOUND is an annual event hosted by HubSpot, the long standing leader of everything marketing. It consists of a large gathering of marketing junkies looking to learn brand new marketing and branding tactics from professionals like Rand Fishkin & basketball player Alex Rodriguez.
Aside from all the learning, INBOUND attendees also get to enjoy entertaining sessions and truly “uproarious entertainment” provided by musicians and stand-up comedians from around the world.
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions, INBOUND hasn’t announced its dates yet. However, with the dedication the event organizers have for recording their sessions and streaming them for later events, HubSpot might very well organize a hybrid event for its many attendees, filled with engaging and interactive activities, sessions, virtual takeaways, and as always, lots and lots of useful information.
If you too host an annual event like HubSpot and are struggling to maintain audience attendance in the wake of COVID related restrictions, then you can easily take a page out of HubSpot’s hybrid event book, and host an engaging, interactive, and entertaining hybrid event.
2. DigiMarCon West
DigiMarCon West consists of “expert speakers, unrivaled networking, and leading content.” The 2020 conference was planned to take place in Santa Monica, CA in June, however, due to the challenges of the pandemic, the conference was held virtually. The primary panel consisted of expert speakers and virtual event organizers that took care of the technicalities of the event, live-streaming the proceedings of the event to a digital audience around the world.
Thus, the event can be a very effective, turn-page example of a successful, engaging, and interesting hybrid event that captured the attention of all its attendees and gave them useful, utilitarian insights into the digital marketing practices rampant around the world.
3. Gainsight Pulse Everywhere
Being held since 2013, Gainsight’s Pulse Conference inspires and entertains thousands of in-person attendees with useful information regarding the literal ‘pulse’ of the market. However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 edition of Pulse Everywhere will be a fully digital, hybrid event, with virtual attendees participating at free of cost!
The organizers have made up their minds about making it a proper hybrid event, in that the speakers and key personnel will be at the event venue, whilst the attendees can enjoy watching the live proceedings free of cost, on their respective devices, from the comfort of their homes.
Given the scale and the expectations of this event, and the challenges it will undoubtedly face in converting such a large scale event into a hybrid one, makes it an interesting case study as far as high-stakes, large scale hybrid events go.
If you’re planning to convert a large scale physical event into a hybrid event, then Gainsight’s Pulse Everywhere Hybrid Event is the one you should be looking out for!
4. Apple Launch & Special Events
Apple is known to host larger-than-life product launches and customer appreciation events that are known for being high on entertainment value and information.
Every year, scores of Apple fans around the world look forward to its product launches in the middle of the year.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year, Apple and other brands have had to reconsider their launch events and other high-stakes public events.
The restrictions meant that Apple hosted hybrid events for their product launches, new announcements, and tech exhibits.
The virtual audience had a great time seeing CEO Tim Cook up on the stage, extolling the brand’s latest innovations and products physically, while the audience stayed at home and enjoyed the proceedings of the event.
Apple’s events are always a source of inspiration and innovation for the newbies in the event industry, and the way they conducted their hybrid events also set forth new standards in the Hybrid and Virtual Event industry.
If you’re looking to host a hybrid event, then taking inspiration from Apple’s hybrid product launch event is a great choice.
LiveWorx is the “definitive event for digital transformation” hosted by PTC annually since 1989. The event has an annual attendance of more than 7,000 people from diverse industries.
With the emergence of COVID-19 and restrictions imposed around the world, LiveWorx event coordinators decided to shift from traditional methods of hosting events to a virtual medium and streamed keynotes and sessions online.
One of the leading live gaming platforms, TwitchCon brings its numerous community of streamers and fans together. TwitchCon has adapted the hybrid event format quite well and tapped global prospects seamlessly. Today, they host hybrid events at scale to attract potential live streamers and gaming enthusiasts around the world.
7. Johnson & Johnson
Top leading baby care product brand has leveraged hybrid event solutions. They organised an innovative and successful hybrid event with custom branding to showcase their latest offering. The event delivered seamless immersive experiences to virtual as well as live physical attendees.
8. Content Marketing World
Content Marketing world’s most anticipated Content Marketing summit was held virtually in 2020, via dedicated speakers distributing information via physical resources, and attendees tuning in virtually through various devices over a shared platform.
For people looking to host hybrid events through an amalgamation of dedicated speakers and virtual audience participation, then this Content Marketing World virtual summit for content marketers around the world is an excellent example of doing so.
Key Takeaways To Apply In Your Hybrid Events
Hybrid events enable organisations to capitalize on ROI, expand their reach, maximise attendance, accelerate sales funnels, extract valuable data, and a lot more. In the above-mentioned article, we have accumulated the top 8 Hybrid event ideas to ensure a successful event in the future. Here are some key takeaways that you must apply in your upcoming hybrid events:
- Think out-of-the-box: Get creative while planning your upcoming events. Uncertain times like these call out for the out-of-the-box approach. COVID-19 has resulted in an upheaval of events leaving everyone in flux. Being ready with a plan B and having the ability to adapt to the recent trends results in making your events successful. Think of the more creative ways to keep your target audience interested, engaged, and motivated for your hybrid events.
- Prioritise your attendees: Keeping your attendees first has become an important aspect in today’s digital era. Think about how your events can help your attendees? How to create engaging virtual experiences for attendees? How to create a custom dynamic environment for your attendees to stimulate real-time experiences and interactions? and more.
- Get Ready For the Future: Undoubtedly, 2020 was the year of virtual events. 2021 will be the year of hybrid events. It’s time for you to walk the gateway of the latest trend and foster connections globally by hosting hybrid events.
The key takeaways from these hybrid event discussions are that hybrid events are the next big thing. It’s ready to take on the world of virtual events and marketing events.
The way hybrid events provide opportunities for audience engagement, interaction, and data collection to hosts, is just unparalleled in any other event format.
If you had an event lined up during this year, but are forced to reconsider it because of the ensuing COVID-19 related restrictions, then it pays you to wait sometime before cancelling the event altogether, and consider if the event can in fact be carried out virtually.
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