The 60/40 Rule
Robin Farmanfarmaian, a meeting guru, talks about a blend of 60% content and 40% interactivity as being the sorcerer’s potion for virtual meetings. Think about it. The ratio is on par with most in-person events if you
include dinner, drinks, and chance encounters. In the real world, interactivity happens without your shepherding. In the virtual world, if Content is King then interactivity and serendipity are Queen and Princess. For your virtual events, you’ll want fewer speakers speaking for less time.
Ding. Ding. “I’m sorry, but we won’t be able to meet in person" is the wrong answer for 2021. In 2020 Bizzabo reported that 80% of virtual events were free. Free is not a sustainable strategy. But if you’re going to sell, you’ve got to believe in the value proposition. Start
crunching your numbers, getting your testimonials, and building your narrative for virtual events, now. Evangelize. Educate your sales team. And adjust pricing with “first-time” promotions to make converting attendees and sponsors a no-brainer. Consider VIP level pricing, mixed-reality pricing for exhibitors, and, at the other end of the spectrum, scholarships for
attendees hit hard by the pandemic.
Church and State
I grew up in the era of print magazines where editors and ad sales folks couldn’t even identify each other in a lineup. We were completely segregated. But one of my best mentors, Jake Winebaum, told me to think of a magazine as a cover-to-cover read where
advertisers felt vested in the magazine and readers felt vested in the advertisers. For virtual meetings, you want your sponsors to take their rightful, organic place in your content. “Proud sponsor” doesn’t mean they have to sit idly by in the event background.
Global DMC Partners’ virtual 2021 Trends & Panel Discussion reported that 63 percent of audience members said engagement was their top concern surrounding virtual events,
followed by budget. But they also expressed a sense of dissatisfaction with managing virtual events saying that it was not their area of expertise nor their area of interest. That means it’s time to look at your 2021 staff and see who needs to be sent to re-education camp.