Have Sponsors Been Left Behind By Virtual Events?
Any marketing, or event professional, knows how important sponsors and exhibitors are to a successful in-person, hybrid, or virtual event. Not only do sponsors and exhibitors serve as an important financial investor in today’s events. They also help make the event more appealing for an audience to attend, add additional credibility and draw to the event, and often deliver attractive, relevant sessions and speakers in addition to helping their event hosts with joint promotion of their virtual event.
Event hosts clearly see the importance in delivering value for their event sponsors and exhibitors. However, many of today’s virtual event platforms are missing the functionality necessary to drive meaningful business outcomes from sponsorships at today’s virtual events.
This becomes clear when looking to the numbers: In fact, when surveyed, nearly 8 out 10 event sponsors said they’d be interested in sponsoring a virtual or hybrid event. But, close to 60% of these same vital virtual event stakeholders also cited that they would invest less than they did before—with a mere 30% considering spending the same amount.
What these statistics tell us are that it’s not that sponsors don’t see the potential value of investing in virtual events; rather, many of today’s sponsors and exhibitors simply cannot justify spending their dollars without the ability to derive a justifiable ROI, or a means to achieve other tangible and valuable business outcomes from doing so in return.
You may be asking yourself, “If sponsors and exhibitors are such an important part of successful virtual events, how on earth could they have been left behind?” If so, reflecting back upon the dynamics of 2020 at play within the event technology industry can help provide the answer.
The Big Virtual Pivot & The Battle to Stay Viable
We’re are now all too familiar with COVID-19’s business and market disruptions. Confronted with the effects of the current global pandemic last spring, any company with a product, or service, catering to live events were forced to pivot, and do so rapidly, or face extinction. As with any major market shift, the first challenge for its key players to solve for is: how do we ensure that we can remain in business by finding new revenue streams? The answer: Turn to their buyer and solve for her immediate needs.
So, it’s not surprising that event technology vendors immediately concentrated on creating a workable solution for their customers, who could no longer safely hold in-person events and who needed an alternative online format. And, what their buyers and customers needed most was not only a way to allow the show to go on, but also to ensure that the show was worth attending for their attendees. As a result, the majority of event tech providers focused solely on delivering functionality centered on the needs of event organizers and their attendees.
Battling to survive the pivot to virtual, few event technology companies had the time and resources to allocate towards creating features centered on sponsor and exhibitor value. That’s why most of today’s virtual event software players have fairly basic sponsor and exhibitor functionality, like logos on the main event page and in sponsored sessions, and maybe a small section with a templated area, or page, for sponsors to add in their basic information (headline, company bio, a link to their website, and the like).
Tech that Puts Sponsors First = Scalable Success for Virtual Events
More than 50% of marketers and event professionals cite that they are struggling to secure sponsors for their virtual events. Couple this with the fact that virtual events could soon be competing digitally for similar types of online audiences in an already noisy and crowded online world, and it’s clear that exhibitors’ and sponsors’ role in the ongoing success of virtual events is only set to become increasingly imperative.
While virtual events have become an absolutely viable, scalable, and powerful digital marketing channel and as virtual events continue to rise in their adoption and popularity, event hosts are likely going to need to rely even more so on their event sponsors to create both a sustainable and successful virtual event strategy. As normal competition for similar online attendee audiences grows, these key stakeholders can help to further ensure ever more impactful virtual events by offsetting costs, increasing event attractiveness and attendance, differentiating future virtual events from all the others, participating in joint event marketing, and more. As such, the virtual event platforms that can deliver not only meaningful engagement and value for attendees, but also can enable tangible business outcomes and ROI for both organizers and their event sponsors and exhibitors are likely to become a crucial element for continuously sustaining a successful virtual and hybrid event strategy, both today and well into the future.
At Attendify, we are invested in ensuring you achieve success and value at your virtual events, so we will continue to create helpful content and practical advice aimed at helping you to drive even more meaningful results and ROI for your virtual event sponsors. So, please stay tuned for even more!
Lastly, because we strongly believe that today’s virtual event technology can no longer leave sponsors behind, we’ve introduced next-gen features and functionality to Attendify’s virtual event platform that can help you equip your event sponsors and exhibitors with real-world ways to achieve real business outcomes and ROI. Learn more today!