The tsunami of virtual conferences, webinars, video conference calls are wearing me out. I have been one of the loud voices encouraging my clients to go virtual and many companies are taking the change head on. But there are lots of problems. The production quality of many just are not particularly good:
There are frequently tech problems with access, muting, camera set up and chat distract viewers and test their patience.
It seems like there has not been enough planning. The timing of speakers, slides, and videos feels forced into a one-hour format even though there may only be 20 minutes worth of interesting content.
Some of the virtual conference platforms look cartoonish. The graphics that are frequently used to simulate a venue look like something from an early 2000’s video game.
Have you ever dropped out of a video presentation or virtual conference before it is over? I saw a graphic recently that shows attention spans are good for the first 10-15 minutes and then drop way down until the last 5 minutes.
1 | Keep them short.
Nothing says they must be an hour. Too much time is spent warming up, introducing, and providing unnecessary background. Respect the participants time.
2 | Practice.
Make sure all presenters know how to use the platform. Make sure their camera and audio quality are good.
3 | Keep it moving.
Do not digress. Do not tell inside jokes.
4 | Create a run of show document.
Write out the timing for each segment and stick to it.
5 | Insert breaks for questions.
There is no reason to wait until the end for questions. As you shift topics or key points give the audience a chance to get clarification. You can limit to a few top questions that came in while presenting. Use a “producer” to select questions.
6 | Don’t just show a slide deck.
There is nothing worse than listening to presenters read a slide. Use video for all speakers and keep them on screen. It improves engagement.
7 | Plan breaks.
If you are having a full-on conference, plan breaks. Plan like a full-on conference. Allow time to return calls, network, and refresh. Breaks are a great place to put a sponsor banner.
8 | Pre record segments.
This step will prevent bad or boring segments. You can edit or rerecord if needed. It also creates certainty regarding the length of time used. The broadcast can still be live with breaks to answer questions and introduce each presenter. You can even have them record as though they had just been introduced and close with a handoff back to the MC.
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During a conversation with a colleague recently, she brought
up a point that I hadn’t heard considered before. That sponsors mostly don’t
think of themselves as a “sponsor”. Their goal isn’t to sponsor something.
Their goal is to find new customers, promote or sell their products, educate
prospects and existing customers, create a buzz and many other objectives.
As a result, their frame of mind and very likely their
job doesn’t have sponsorship in the title. They are sales leaders,
marketing executives, business owners, event producers, and a variety of
specialties from each of those categories.
So, when they think about your event or property their goal of frame of
reference isn’t with the objective to be a sponsor, it’s to achieve and
objective and ROI that relates to their responsibilities.
In order to meet their needs, you should consider reframing
your point of view to better understand theirs. You can turn this into a
better and more aligned value proposition and focus on the aspect of your
offering that will get them where they want to go. You will want to use that insight
to customize your outreach and your proposals so that they appeal to the way
the prospect thinks.
If your outreach assumes that there is such a thing as a
sponsor persona, your messaging is going to be off target a significant
percentage of the time. Here are some job titles I have covered in a previous
blog as prospects that don’t have
sponsorship in their job title and how you may want to frame your outreach:
Field Marketing | This team is likely to
be directly engaged with events and properties. Their job is to find the best
event for their product or services. Focus on how well your event aligns for
Event or Events | Managers and marketers
with Event or Events in their titles are often the ones who are looking for
you. Many businesses invest in events as a marketing channel. They will be looking
for a predetermined event profile.
Brand Manager| The brand is their baby.
The right event can raise the profile, target their known consumers or align
brand values. They also know where the money is for the brand. Your objective
is to create a wow moment where the realize you can raise their profile at
scale and create buzz and viral social engagement.
Sales | You must nail down exactly how
they can convert your attendees into customers.
Marketing Communications | Marcom is in
the middle of everything. A good event is a tool in their box. These folks know
the brand message, align with it.
Consumer Engagement | If activation is a
strong suit of your property, this is a good place to start. Every company
wants more customers, show them your audience contains their ideal consumers.
Marketing and Activation | Think lead
generation and conversion. If your event has an audience that matches the
prospect’s needs, they may want to influence, educate and sell them.
Promotions | Sampling, engagement and
awareness of well aligned audiences needs a place to happen. Promote how you do
this better and at scale.
Business Development | If your property
or event can help open an important channel, this is a great connection to make
especially for conferences that align. This prospect is only interested in who
is attending and how they will connect with them. You should call out companies
and high-profile attendees that they want.
If you only do one thing to revise your approach, be sure it is to talk about them not you. Most events make the mistake of creating a ton of info that isn’t relevant including details like who the president of your company is and how great you are. Your prospects only care about what helps them meet their objectives. Prove that you are better positioned that the competition to give them what they want and need.