In the context of modern day business, hybrid events occupy a special place. That’s because such events bring creative opportunities with which growth marketers can attract customers, generate revenue, and drive growth.
Hybrid events - events that engage both in-person and virtual attendees equally well - aren’t new. But after the pandemic, marketers have rediscovered some of the unique benefits of hybrid events.
With hybrid events, attendees and speakers are not constrained by locations. That helps your business create brand awareness and expand your footprint across different geographies a lot more easily. Which is why you see (and likely attend) so many of them these days.
And yet, some amount of confusion and a handful of myths about hybrid events prevail. Some organizers are unsure of the hardware required for hybrid events. A huge myth, for example, is that live-streaming an in-person event makes the event a hybrid event.
This post looks at the 5 principal myths about hybrid events. We hope dispelling them will help you better see the true value of hybrid events. Here goes!
Myth 1: The virtual element of a hybrid event will reduce in-person attendance
Because you don’t need to travel in order to be a part of it, hybrid events are easier to attend. This makes organizers feel that once people begin to attend virtually, they would avoid attending an event in-person altogether.
The fact is quite the opposite. In nearly all cases, your audience for virtual attendance vis-a-vis in-person attendance is different. Your virtual audience is often people who haven’t been to your events earlier. They are, therefore, there to explore and see how things go.
Moreover, virtual audiences and in-person attendees have different expectations from the activities you conduct during the events. For example, your in-person attendees can get into treasure hunt games while your virtual attendees might be checking out the virtual fairs on the platform.
Finally, there’s the question of venue capacity. Your in-house attendance is restricted by the size of the hall you’re holding the event in. This limiting factor requires you to know a few days to weeks in advance how many people will be attending physically. You can practically never accommodate people at the last moment at an in-person event, because the venue can house only so many people.
In contrast, you can keep the link for virtual attendants open almost till the last moment. People with unpredictable schedules naturally prefer virtual attendance.
Myth 2: Organizing hybrid events is a complicated task
To be honest, hybrid events can only be as good as the platform you choose for the virtual segment of the event. Anything standard and you lost the ability to really create a valuable and meaningful experience for your remote attendees.
Sure, anything that’s successful takes planning and coordination and all that, but hybrid events are not even half as intimidating as some people make them out to be. An intelligent platform for hosting hybrid events takes away the pain and nightmares you’d commonly associate with organizing hybrid events.
Further, there are two clear reasons why organizing a hybrid event is easy. One, the platform will have the technology sorted out so you don’t need to lose sleep over the event. And two, adding a new virtual attendee doesn’t need any additional effort, nor does it take any substantial increase in resources. Which means you can keep promoting the event without worrying whether you will be able to accommodate larger numbers.
Myth 3: Hybrid events don’t engage attendees adequately
If you have the right platform for your hybrid events, attendees will be engaged more than adequately.
Latency is a good example where a robust platform can make the difference between a dazzling event and poor experience. For instance, Zuddl works on a zero latency streaming basis. That means you can eliminate relay lags of upto 40 seconds, something that’s common with dated technologies like RTMP, notorious for glitches and gaps.
Without the time lag, speakers, in-person audience and virtual audience get the same, fulfilling experience. Conversations between contributors and attendees flow smoothly. Virtual attendees also get an immersive experience as they go live on the LED screen at the in-person venue. Little wonder that engagement hits a homerun every time!
Myth 4: Hybrid events may have very limited opportunities for sponsors
Honestly, we don’t know where this myth originated from.
Paradoxically, the truth is the exact opposite: hybrid events actually present more opportunities to the sponsors. Here is why: sponsors can place their logos and brochures and other promotional materials at more places than they can in purely physical events. That’s because there is little to no space restriction.
Secondly, sponsors have a much better shot with contextual placement of their material. Whenever a virtual attendee specifically shows interest in a certain kind of product or service, the sponsor will be able to display relevant material. In this situation the sponsor knows they are talking to their audience at just the right time.
Finally there is the benefit of the wide reach unlike a purely in-person event - a hybrid event gives sponsors access to a global audience. That means sponsors can reach much bigger numbers, generate a larger number of leads and actually sell their product or service in a geography they normally weren't able to serve earlier.
Myth 5: Hybrid events are only relevant during the pandemic
During the pandemic, some people felt hybrid events were more like a stop-gap arrangement and that once things returned to normal, hybrid events would vanish. Not surprisingly, this has not happened.
All the stakeholders including contributors, organizers, sponsors and attendees have discovered that hybrid events make great business sense. Organizers have made enormous investments in terms of resources and commitment for hybrid events - naturally they want hybrid events to stay.
It might sound a little unusual, but the way hybrid events have been successful, it makes us feel that hybrid events would have happened anyway, pandemic or no pandemic. That’s because hybrid events enjoy some unique benefits that organizers and sponsors do not wish to lose.
Your next event
Growth marketing is all about being agile and adopting efficient methods to seek new customers. As more marketers begin embracing hybrid events, there’s no reason for your organization to hold back.
Now that this article has debunked the major myths of hybrid events, you’ll want to understand how such events can work for you, and more importantly, how you’ll go about organizing one. And if you’re like most businesses, you’ll want to first learn about the setup and logistics of hybrid events. So why not drop us a line - we're here to help you throughout the event lifecycle, from coming up with custom-fit strategies for your use case - and of course in technical support and problem solving.
Zuddl is a unified platform for events and webinars that helps event marketers plan and execute events that drive growth. The platform has clients across the globe, such as the United Nations, Kellogg’s, Microsoft, HSBC, VMware, Google, StackCommerce and Cipla amongst others. In January 2022, Zuddl announced that it closed $13.35 mn in Series A funding.