🚀 The Event Playbook: Proven strategies to level up your next event!

🚀 The Event Playbook:
Proven strategies to level up your next event!

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Hybrid Event Strategy: 2024 Guide for Event Marketers

From the heart of a bustling conference to the comfort of your home office, hybrid events offer an unparalleled blend of convenience and connection, tearing down traditional boundaries and allowing attendees from across the globe to engage, learn, and grow together.

Imagine this: you’re sitting at your desk in Los Angeles, sipping your morning coffee, but suddenly you’re transported to the heart of a bustling conference in New York City.

People are networking, speakers are sharing game-changing insights, and you’re soaking it all in without ever leaving your home office.

Sound like a dream?

With hybrid events, this merged reality is not only possible but increasingly commonplace.

At their core, hybrid events offer an unparalleled blend of convenience and connection.

They tear down the traditional boundaries of physical events, allowing attendees from across the globe to come together and engage, learn, and grow – all from the comfort of their chosen environment.

It’s a tantalizing proposition in our hyper-connected yet often schedule-crunched world.

But hybrid events aren’t just about removing logistical hurdles; they represent a seismic shift in how we approach events and audience engagement.

By combining the energy and spontaneity of in-person gatherings with the scalability and data-driven insights of virtual experiences, hybrid events open up a world of new possibilities for creating unforgettable, measurable moments of impact.

Make no mistake – this isn’t some passing fad or niche offering.

Hybrid events are rapidly becoming the new standard, a paradigm shift that is reshaping the event landscape in real-time.

Is your organization ready to ride this transformative wave?

Read on to learn how to craft a hybrid event strategy that will elevate your event marketing to new heights of success.

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One Event. Two Experiences.

Skillfully engage both your in-person and online attendees through our cutting-edge hybrid event production services.

Why Hybrid Events Are Here to Stay

Before we dive into the strategic nuts and bolts, let’s take a step back and explore why hybrid events have swiftly transitioned from a novel concept to an enduring reality.

At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, these multi-modal gatherings may just hold the key to forging deeper, more authentic connections in our increasingly digital world.

The Magic of Shared Experiences

At its core, the true power of hybrid events lies in their ability to bring people together through shared, transcendent experiences – no matter their physical location.

It’s about creating moments of collective awe, insight, and camaraderie that linger long after the event itself has concluded.

In our hyper-connected yet often fragmented world, such unifying experiences have become increasingly elusive.

Hybrid events represent a seminal opportunity to bridge that divide and foster a renewed sense of community and belonging.

Unrivaled Flexibility and Access

One of hybrid events’ most compelling value propositions is the unprecedented level of flexibility and accessibility they provide.

Gone are the days when events were limited to those who could afford the time and resources to travel.

With a hybrid model, attendees have the ultimate freedom to choose how they want to participate – whether that’s joining in person, tuning in virtually, or seamlessly blending both modes over the course of the event.

This democratization of access quite literally opens events up to a world of potential participants.

Expanded Reach and Engagement

By removing geographical constraints, hybrid events empower organizers to cast a wider engagement net and attract diverse audiences from every corner of the globe.

But increased reach is just the start – hybrid experiences also unlock new dimensions of attendee participation.

Imagine being able to poll a global audience in real-time during a keynote. Or having virtual attendees engage directly with in-person participants through immersive chat platforms and mixed reality integrations.

The potential for delivering dynamic, profoundly engaging experiences has never been greater.

Data-Driven Optimization

In the past, understanding audience behavior and preferences at events often relied on anecdotal feedback and clunky survey data.

Hybrid platforms have ushered in a new era of data illumination.

From registration metrics to real-time engagement tracking, modern hybrid events generate a wealth of intelligence.

This gives organizers an unprecedented ability to continuously optimize experiences, pinpoint areas of impact, and extract meticulous ROI insights – a strategic gamechanger.

Economical and Eco-Friendly

Let’s not overlook the fiscal and environmental upsides, either.

By reducing the need for extensive travel and resource-intensive venue logistics, hybrid events can significantly curb expenses and environmental impact.

In today’s climate of increasing sustainability awareness, this positions hybrid as both an economically and ethically savvy choice – a win-win for organizations and attendees.

As you can see, the factors driving hybrid’s ascent are multifaceted yet undeniable.

Still, realizing this multiverse of benefits requires meticulous planning and skillful execution.

In the next section, we’ll explore proven strategies for developing a world-class hybrid event from the ground up.

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Developing Your Winning Hybrid Event Strategy

Creating a truly impactful hybrid event isn’t just about tacking on a virtual component to your traditional event plan.

It requires a comprehensive, intentional strategy that accounts for the unique needs and expectations of all your attendees – both those joining in-person and those engaging remotely.

At our agency, We & Goliath, we’ve been privileged to partner with leading brands to develop pioneering hybrid events that shatter expectations.

Through that experience, we’ve honed a proven methodology for crafting hybrid strategies that drive engagement, inspire action, and deliver tangible business results.

Setting Clear Goals and Objectives

Like any great endeavor, your hybrid event strategy should start by getting crystal clear on your “why” – your specific goals and objectives.

What are you aiming to achieve through this event? Generate qualified leads? Build brand awareness? Foster customer loyalty? Educate and upskill your audience?

The more specific and measurable your goals, the easier it will be to reverse-engineer a strategy laser-focused on realizing them.

We recommend using the S.M.A.R.T. framework to set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

For example:

  • Attract 500 in-person attendees and 1,000 virtual participants from 20+ countries
  • Generate 50 qualified sales leads with a lead score of 80+
  • Achieve an overall attendee Net Promoter Score of 9/10
  • Drive $50,000 in sponsorship revenue by securing 5 partners at $10,000 each

By getting hyper-clear on your objectives upfront, you create a roadmap to guide all your planning and decisions.

Plus, you’ll have well-defined benchmarks for measuring your success post-event.

Understanding Your Audience

With goals set, your next critical step is developing an intimate understanding of your target attendees.

Who are they? What challenges and aspirations drive them? What would make your event a can’t-miss experience in their eyes?

Don’t rely on assumptions here.

Conduct surveys, focus groups, data mining – whatever it takes to gather real-world insights into your audience’s needs, preferences, and behavioral patterns.

Use those nuggets to build rich persona profiles that bring your various attendee segments to life.

For instance:

  • Mobile Marketer Mandy” – A mid-level marketing manager always seeking to upskill and get ahead of the curve
  • Data-Driven Danielle” – A data analyst excited to explore the latest analytical tools and visualization techniques
  • Virtual Van” – A busy working parent who values the flexibility of remote experiences

With living, breathing personas in mind, you can start mapping out an experience hyper-relevant to each core segment.

Every decision – from content topics to delivery channels to interactive elements – should ladder back to serving your attendees’ unique needs and motivations.

Choosing the Right Platform

The technology platform you select will be the foundation for your entire hybrid event.

This choice deserves careful evaluation to ensure you have robust capabilities matched to your strategic vision.

Some key criteria to consider: user experience, reliability and scalability, engagement and interaction tools, data capture and analytics, and seamless integration with your existing martech stack.

You’ll also want a platform offering extensive customization and whitelabeling so you can create an unmistakable, branded experience.

Innovative players like Bizzabo, Accelevents, and InEvent have raised the bar for hybrid event platforms.

But your optimal solution will depend on your specific requirements around things like attendee size, budget, internal resources, and more.

Don’t try to go it alone here.

Working with a hybrid event partner like We & Goliath allows you to leverage our specialized expertise and experience across all the leading platforms.

We’ll make sure you have the right technological engine to power your hybrid ambitions.

 

Easy starting packages • Advanced options • Proven results

 

Crafting Compelling Content and Engaging Experiences

With your strategic foundations laid, it’s time for the real fun to begin – designing the content and experiences that will make your hybrid event extraordinary.

This is where you can let your creativity run wild while keeping your audience’s core needs and expectations as your guiding north star.

Balancing In-Person and Virtual

One of the unique challenges of hybrid events is crafting an experience that immerses and delights attendees regardless of how they choose to participate.

You want those joining in-person to feel like they’re at the center of the action, with exclusive networking opportunities and VIP moments.

Simultaneously, your virtual attendees deserve an experience crafted specifically for their context – one that allows them to fully engage, not feel like passive viewers.

The solution? Take a "digital-first" approach.

Design each session, each activity, with the virtual experience top of mind.

Use tools like live polling, Q&A, gamification, and immersive video to foster consistent two-way engagement across all channels.

Then, layer on premium in-person enhancements like hands-on workshops, fun activations, celeb meet-and-greets and more to give your physical attendees something they could never replicate at home.

By optimizing the shared virtual core while sprinkling in exclusive in-person bonuses, you create a unified yet multiverse experience that delights all participants.

Designing Memorable Engagements

Of course, crafting great content is just the start.

You need to design and deliver that content in inherently engaging ways that capture attendees’ attention and leave lasting impressions.

Think about using elements like:

  • Game Dynamics – Incorporate gaming principles like points, badges, leaderboards and competitions to incentivize desired behaviors.
  • Immersive Environments – Use technologies like VR/AR, spatial audio and haptic activations to teleport attendees into new realms.
  • Personalized Journeys – Allow attendees to customize their own agenda and content pathways through sophisticated scheduling tools.
  • Collaborative Formats – Design more peer-to-peer sessions like design sprints and hackathons where attendees co-create together.
  • Wellness Integrations – Offer mindfulness breaks, movement classes and mental health resources to help rejuvenate attendees.

The possibilities are limitless when you approach experience design with a beginner’s mind.

Ask yourself – how can we inject more delight, more serendipity, more meaningful connections into every moment?

Leveraging the Right Content Mix

Complementing innovative delivery formats, you’ll want to curate a diverse content mix catering to all learner styles and preferences.

Some potential content models to explore:

Keynotes and Panels: The Heavy Hitters

Your event kicks off with a bang, courtesy of some heavyweight thought leaders taking the stage.

These big rock keynotes and panels are designed to jolt attendees out of their usual thinking patterns and ignite their minds with fresh perspectives.

It’s like a mental espresso shot to wake them up and get them buzzing with new ideas.

Breakout Workshops: Diving Deep, Hands-On Style

But it’s not all about sitting back and absorbing knowledge passively.

Oh no, we’re big believers in the power of getting your hands dirty (metaphorically speaking, of course).

That’s where breakout workshops come in – interactive learning environments where attendees can roll up their sleeves and dive headfirst into specific topics.

It’s a chance to really dig in, ask questions, and put new skills into practice.

On-Demand Libraries: Knowledge at Your Fingertips

Of course, we all know that learning doesn’t stop when the event ends.

That’s why having evergreen content hubs, like on-demand libraries, is so crucial.

These just-in-time upskilling and review resources ensure that attendees can keep the learning momentum going long after they’ve left the venue.

It’s like having a personal tutor in their pocket, ready to help them brush up on key concepts whenever they need it.

Networking Lounges: Where Connections are Forged

Learning is a social endeavor, and there’s nothing quite like the magic that happens when great minds come together.

Networking lounges provide the perfect backdrop for these serendipitous exchanges, whether it’s through scheduled meetups around specific topic areas or casual conversations over coffee.

These spaces are where relationships are forged, ideas are traded, and collaborations are born.

Entertainment Experiences: Surprise and Delight

But who says learning can’t also be fun?

We’re all about injecting unexpected delighters into the mix, like comedy shows, live music performances, or even VIP meet and greets.

These entertainment experiences serve as the cherry on top of an already fabulous sundae, leaving attendees with a smile on their face and a spring in their step.

The Art of Curation: Multiple Pathways to Engagement

At the end of the day, it’s all about providing attendees with multiple avenues to engage with the content that resonates most deeply with them.

By serving up a diverse array of formats and modalities, you’re essentially handing them a compass and letting them chart their own learning journey.

And that, my friends, is how you keep them engaged and eager for more at every twist and turn.

The Fundamentals of Craftsmanship: Sweat the Small Stuff

Now, whether you’re a bright-eyed newbie to the world of event marketing or a grizzled veteran with years of experience under your belt, there are some tried-and-true principles of craftsmanship that always apply.

First and foremost, it’s all about those little details – the ones that might seem insignificant on their own but add up to create an unforgettable experience.

Obsess over them, polish them until they shine, and have backup plans for your backup plans.

But amidst all that meticulous planning, don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.

At its core, your job is to craft an experience that doesn’t just inform your attendees but transforms them in some way.

You want them to walk away feeling inspired, energized, and brimming with new knowledge and connections.

It’s a tall order, we know.

But when you pour your heart and soul into every aspect of the event – from the content curation to the logistical flow – magic happens.

Your attendees will feel it, and they’ll remember your event as one that truly stood out from the pack.

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Executing Your Hybrid Event with Confidence and Flair

With your strategy locked and your content primed to engage and inspire, it’s time to turn your attention to flawless execution.

Pulling off a world-class hybrid event requires meticulous planning, unshakable logistics, and the ability to navigate the unexpected with poise and creativity.

Pre-Event Planning and Preparation

Long before the first attendee registers, your team needs to be in lockstep around every milestone, every dependency, every what-if scenario.

Develop a comprehensive project plan that leaves no stone unturned – from technology deployments to staff training to vendor coordination and more.

Some key areas to focus your pre-event energies:

  • Detailed Timelines and Task Tracking: Map out every beat with specific owners, deadlines and prerequisites. Let no ball get dropped.
  • Venue/Platform Logistics: Whether physical, virtual or both – conduct technical walkthroughs, redundancy tests, badging setups and more.
  • Staff Readiness: Implement robust training programs to ensure every player knows their roles and responsibilities cold.
  • Contingency Planning: Establish protocols for smoothly handling potential disruptors like tech issues, travel delays, talent no-shows, etc.
  • Promotional Strategies: Build buzz and drive registration through integrated marketing campaigns across email, social, paid media and more.

The goal? Minimize anything being left to chance on event day(s).

With precise preparation and proactive communication, your well-oiled machine will be ready to perform.

Marketing Your Event for Maximum Impact

Speaking of promotion, too many organizers make the mistake of putting their marketing efforts on the backburner.

They assume “if we build it, they will come.”

In reality, you could create the most valuable, engaging event in history and it would flop without an equal commitment to strategic promotion.

You need a comprehensive promotional roadmap incorporating best-in-class digital tactics like:

  • Email Nurturing: Craft attention-grabbing emails that sell your event’s value prop and unique benefits.
  • Social Media Amplification: Post a steady cadence of teaser content, speaker spotlights, registration incentives and more across channels.
  • Influencer Marketing: Identify key voices in your space and co-create tailored event packages for them to promote.
  • Paid Media: Surgical paid campaigns on channels like LinkedIn, FB/IG, Google and programmatic to reach precise target personas.
  • PR/Media Relations: Pitch your big-name speakers and key narratives to secure earned media hits across top industry publications.

The key is starting early and layering multiple touchpoints across channels.

Build excitement and urgency every step of the way through your marketing drumbeat.

And be sure your promotion doesn’t stop at registration.

Nurture your attendees leading up to the event through reminders, sneak-peek videos, gamification, and other buzz-builders.

You want them primed and eager to devour every moment come showtime.

Mastering the Live Experience

At last, the big day(s) arrive.

Despite all your best-laid plans, you know there will be inevitable fires to put out and pivots required in the moment.

This is where your operational ingenuity and unflappable poise will be put to the test.

Some key areas of focus to ensure a seamless, engaging attendee experience:

  • Technical Monitoring: Have a dedicated command center monitoring every system and connection with the ability to quickly troubleshoot issues.
  • Session Facilitation: Coach all speakers/hosts on effectively managing their sessions, enabling participation, and respecting time constraints.
  • Attendee Support: Provide a concierge-level experience with on-demand assistance for any issues, from amenities to platform questions.
  • Real-time Analytics: Leverage registration and behavioral data to make on-the-fly experience adjustments based on attendee responses.
  • Community Activations: Spark serendipitous connections through well-designed networking and social elements.

The little things matter immensely here.

Your attendees should never be left wondering what to do next or fail to receive a best-in-class experience.

Be proactive, stay nimble, and never lose your attention to detail.

Post-Event: Analysis, Optimization & Nurturing

When the virtual curtain falls, many organizers make the mistake of immediately moving on to their next project.

But the insights and opportunities captured during your hybrid event are immensely valuable – don’t let them go to waste.

Immediately following your event, you should focus your efforts on:

  • Attendee Surveys: Gather honest feedback through brief but insightful post-event surveys.
  • Data Analysis: Carefully examine your registration, session, sponsor and other engagement metrics to quantify impact.
  • Content Amplification: Repurpose standout sessions and speakers into highlight reels, blog content, newsletter features and more.
  • Lead Nurturing: Create tailored follow-up campaigns for your hottest prospects captured, keeping them engaged.
  • Team Retrospective: Bring your full team together to celebrate wins, dissect challenges, and identify key learnings for the future.
  • Measure and Showcase ROI: Carefully map your event performance back to your original goals to quantify ROI and build a case for future investment.

Remember, a hybrid event isn’t just a singular engagement – it’s an opportunity to deepen relationships and nurture your audiences along their journey in a truly scalable way.

By thoughtfully analyzing your results and leveraging that intelligence, you set yourself up for compounding success with each future iteration.

One thing is clear: hybrid events are here to stay and will only continue raising the bar for audience captivation.

The most future-focused brands are already exploring ways to be at the forefront of this transformation.

So why just host another cookie-cutter event when you can spark meaningful transformation for your attendees and organization?

Ready to Slay Your Event Giants?

Discover the power of hybrid events with We & Goliath – your slingshot for jaw-dropping audience engagement and unmatched business impact.

Our award-winning team combines over 20 years of real-world expertise with innovative strategies and an unshakable passion for creating purpose-driven experiences that move people.

Whether you’re aiming to boost attendance by 7X, rev up revenue streams by 3X, or simply astound your audiences unlike anything they’ve experienced before – we’ve got the blueprint to make it happen.

From vision to execution to post-event nurturing, our end-to-end hybrid prowess covers every base.

We infuse every stage of our process with thoughtful intentionality and creative ingenuity.

We work closely with you to first identify the “why” behind your event – the impacts and changes you wish to catalyze.

From there, we craft a unified, omnichannel strategy laser-focused on achieving those goals through immersive, insight-driven experiences.

If you’re ready to move beyond simply “checking the event box” and embrace the future of hybrid engagement, the time to act is now.

Book a FREE strategy session ($500 value!) and let’s slay those outdated event norms and co-author your legendary hybrid story, one experience at a time.

We & Goliath

We & Goliath is an award-winning, top 100 worldwide event agency known for increasing conference attendance by 7X and profits by 3X through beautifully designed virtual, hybrid, and in-person events. Since 1999, their team of innovative strategists and creative designers has worked with global enterprises, SMBs, non-profits, and other organizations to engage audiences and exceed expectations.

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