Hybrid events aren’t new. In fact, they’ve been happening for some time, but they are now a regular feature in every major domain. The manner in which businesses interact with their target audiences has evolved. Why so? As the head of marketing at a company that offers a hybrid and virtual event platform, I believe it is largely due to the growing popularity, participation and cost-effective setup of virtual events. Such events are a popular way to enhance participation at a fraction of the cost—not to mention how effectively they fortify a community of followers.
While the pandemic almost immediately made virtual events universally prominent, it gave hybrid events the push they needed. No, they aren’t a fad or a passing phase—hybrid events are likely here to stay. They seem to have carved out a space for themselves in the minds of their participants.
Since this format is relatively new, event planners and marketers are still figuring out the most effective formula for its success. The 3E framework can help event planners and organizers build and execute an effective hybrid event.
The pillars of the 3E framework are experiences, engagement and enablement. By focusing on these three pillars, organizers can help ensure that every event delivers on its core promise of driving higher ROI for attendees, speakers and organizers. The benefits could last long after the events are over and help build rock-solid relationships with participants.
While each element of the 3E framework has individual potential, I’ve found that striking the correct balance between them is the key to success. Before we dive into the details of how those elements interact with each other, let’s understand the steps one needs to take before applying the framework.
Why Setting Goals Is Important For The Success Of A Hybrid Event
Organizers have always prioritized informing participants about what they may expect at an event, regardless of whether it is in person, virtual or hybrid. This is especially significant with a hybrid event, as event goals may be different for every attendee, speaker and even organizers. For example:
• Do you want to generate leads or raise brand awareness?
• Is it going to be a customer engagement event?
• Do you wish to offer sponsorships based on the size and scope of the audience?
Appealing, engaging content is a prerequisite for an authentic, immersive experience. Establish what material piques the interest of your target audience. Ask yourself:
• What form of content has previously connected with such an audience?
• What kind of content are they now consuming?
• What are some of their worries?
• Are there any emerging business trends that we should highlight?
Define the goals based on your answers to these questions. You can now apply the 3E framework.
Understanding The 3E Framework
Experience, engagement and enablement are the trifecta for a successful and memorable hybrid event.
Building An Unforgettable Experience
A great attendee experience is a composite of many different aspects. It includes the quality of the speakers, the content, the usability of the hybrid platform and the perfect amalgamation of these components.
It is crucial, however, to ensure that virtual attendees have the same quality experience as an in-person attendee. Hybrid events are not just about adding a live stream to in-person events. Virtual attendees should not be treated as second-class citizens but should get the same real-time experience as in-person attendees.
Keeping Engagement At The Core
No event, whether it’s in person or virtual, is likely to succeed if it doesn’t allow for active engagement with attendees and speakers. Chats, polls, Q&As and opportunities for interaction with the speakers are some of the more popular engagement tactics I see used in virtual events. You can also create virtual booths that attendees can visit, networking opportunities for virtual and in-person attendees, and other activities.
Enablement As The Catalyst
Inclusivity is key to making sure everyone at your hybrid event is able to attend and participate in a fashion that’s comfortable for them. The ability to attend speaker sessions, network with participants and use engagement tools through mobile and web apps can make your event more accessible to the audience. Technology is the ultimate enabler, so you should leverage it judiciously right at the time when you’re designing the event. Whether you choose to use an event platform or other tools for the event, enablement can make a world of difference to your attendees.
The True Value Of The 3E Framework
The three E’s—experience, engagement and enablement—sound very straightforward and easy to implement. This is true—if you design the event with these pillars in mind right from the start and not as an afterthought. With hybrid events becoming the norm rather than an exception, the 3E framework can help you navigate and prioritize activities that fall into each bucket. From creating the agenda to event communication and choosing your event stack, the 3E framework can help you elevate your event experience and deliver a higher ROI for everyone.