Taking the Big Step After Streaming: Hosting a Virtual Event

Post authored by Chip Smith, Experient Digital Event Strategist

If you’re older than 22, you might remember when the “Internet thing” was new. Hybrid meeting graphicWatching the Super Bowl this year, I got a laugh out of the BMW commercial with Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel trying to understand it back in 1994. If you haven’t seen it, then take a look here. The first 30 seconds is the best part.

Having been in the industry for over 20 years, I do recall the days of the first “Internet thing,” and it made me think about the questions I recently received from one of our association clients.

They’d like to broaden their offering to their membership. They’ve been streaming their keynote address and a couple of other sessions for a while, but are now considering adding a digital (hybrid) component to next year’s annual conference. Wow, are they hesitant! They sound a bit like Katie and Bryant, except now it’s this “digital event thing”!

While virtual events will never replace face-to-face, all of the statistics and research points to this as the “new thing.” So let’s take a closer look…

According to the Digital Event Benchmarking Report, 71% of organizations are already streaming their keynote address. Streaming is the first step in becoming digital, and we applaud those of you that have taken that step. When we look back in a few years, it will be the equivalent in 1994 terms of AOL announcing, “You’ve Got Mail!”

However, there is an art to conducting a successful hybrid event, and we understand the trends and challenges you face when trying to deliver one.


Expand reach and audience
Provide education to constituents and be seen as a leader
Drive physical attendance to your next event


Identifying the correct target audience for digital outreach
Ensuring education is not readily available from another Internet source
Online production does not reflect the physical event well


Integrate into current marketing outreach or consider revised strategy
Commit to eLearning as a means for association engagement
Platform selection is NOT the guarantee—strategy and implementation are!

Numerous challenges require thoughtful, agile solutions for application.

Online Business PresentationIf you’re still hesitant to add digital to your event toolbox, consider this …
Adding virtual components to your meeting can help drive your attendance up because you’re allowing those who cannot attend the live portion the ability to participate. And by increasing reach, you’re increasing your ROI. In fact, many groups exceed their goals through hybrid events.

Are you considering adding a virtual component to your live event? Need to find out how going digital will impact your association?
If so, let Experient help you take a closer look at your digital strategy. We can offer the solutions to meet your needs of today and tomorrow. Reach out to your Experient account manager for more information or contact me at chip.smith@experient-inc.com. Let’s avoid being Katie and Bryant!

What are your digital event challenges? Successes? Share your story with us.

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