The Re-evolution to the “Next Normal” of Virtual Events

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to an array of virtual solutions, and among them are webinars. As a result, marketers have been flooding prospective customers with online event invitations as an easy-access tool for generating and nurturing leads. As a consequence, many people are now experiencing ‘webinar fatigue’ – the overall feeling of disinterest towards the over-saturation of webinar offerings.

The Challenge

Our client was looking for our agency to deliver a standout campaign that delivered the client’s business solutions and delivered viable leads for sales team follow-up, but also delighted customers.

The Solution

A two-day virtual experience with a movie-style storyline that would take virtual attendees on a digital journey. As presenters were based in various cities, a pre-recorded live stream execution with live virtual Q&A was deployed. This allowed us to concisely deliver content in the best possible way, but still allowed customers to engage with presenters and fellow virtual attendees alike. In order to optimise attendee engagement, gamification via a leaderboard competition was deployed. This not only encouraged engagement, but also provided a foundation for feedback and lead capture.

Targeting key developments accounts as well as prospects, the key strategies included:

  • Multi-touch event invitation strategy including eDM, social media posts, video invites
  • Leaderboard competition gamification with a significant event prize pool to incentivise engagement
  • Multi-agency lead generation to maximise reach and scope of contactable database for registration generation
  • Engagement of executive management to optimise internal stakeholder buy-in
  • Easy-to-use virtual event platform to optimise user experience

How We Made It Happen

Key to the success of this project was to present content and messaging that was engaging for the audience while delivering a standout execution that went above and beyond the plethora of online events being held. The tactics included:

  • Working with the client to develop a unique client point of view and messaging that addressed the unprecedented business challenges of the COVID19 pandemic
  • Contemporary keynote presentations that provided true personal and professional value for attendees while echoing the client’s key messages
  • A comprehensive registration generation and communications plan that went beyond basic eDM invitations and telephone calls
  • Choosing the best possible virtual platform that was simple yet ticked all the client requirements

One of the critical factors of success to the campaign was the development of an overarching point of view and theme. From this standpoint, we were able to source the most appropriate keynote speakers.

Day one featured Dr Karl Kruszelnicki (an Australian science communicator and populariser, who is known as an author, and as a science commentator on Australian radio and television) who took attendees on a journey through the frontiers of science and technology to demonstrate the bounds of human inventiveness.

Day two featured Genevieve Bell (a Distinguished Professor of the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science and a senior Fellow of Intel) who explored “the next normal” and being human in the digital world. This was followed by virtual roundtable breakouts specifically designed for various job functions including C-Suite, I.T. Managers, and Resellers.

Underpinning the content was the delivery. Looking to raise the bar of current virtual events, our agency created a movie-style screenplay. Rather than the basic interview-style virtual event with participants on a set talking to each other, Re-Evolution played upon elements from movies such as “The Matrix” and “The Minority Report” using green screen technology.

Another key success factor was the comprehensive registration plan. High impact video teasers and online banners were developed for social media and also amplified via online advertising. Targeted eDM invitations were specifically developed for job functions in order to best gain cut-through. In addition, a detailed landing page and registration capture engine was launched, later to be redeveloped for an on-demand audience for those registrants unable to attend. All marketing communications were subject to vendor funding approval.

To ensure the widest possible database reach, we worked with two telemarketing agencies to procure the relevant registrations. Our agency managed the registration generation process end-to-end, including the creation of vendor approved telemarketing scripts, quality assurance of registrants, and reporting.

In an effort to minimise registrant no-shows, we executed a comprehensive plan, including reminder SMS and reminder calls. Nurture eDMs send to registrants requested one-click feedback; past experience in other campaigns had shown that attendance rates were considerably increased when customers provided feedback.

Personalised outlook invitations that locked in the registrants’ time was one of the key activities to minimising drop outs – this activity effectively blocked out the time in their calendar, rather than relying on users to manually add to outlook.
Also, gamification via a leaderboard competition was key to the success in achieving high attention rates throughout the duration of the livestream. A dream remote working I.T. set up plus other great prizes were offered to incentivise particpation.

A highlights video brochure was mailed to registrants who could not attend the livestream as well as key account contacts who did not register. This helped to extend the life of the campaign and provided additional leads for sales teams follow-up.

The Results

  • 130% registration target attainment
  • 25% attendance rate (8% above current industry average)
  • 1 hour-25 minute average attention rate during the broadcast (97% attention rate)
  • 49% leaderboard (gamification) participation
  • 45 marcom deliverables created
  • $2485 raised for charity
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