While many event professionals have focused on virtual events since the global COVID-19 pandemic began, planners are now starting to prepare for the future. In fact, 62 percent of event planners say that the future of events is hybrid.
As the business world becomes increasingly comfortable with virtual meetings, the question many of us in the audience engagement space are being asked is: “Can all meetings be virtual?”
Panel discussions are the hallmark of modern conferences and events, even virtual ones. The purpose of a panel discussion is to spark conversation between a group of experts or industry and thought leaders, so that the audience can learn from their discourse and interaction.
“I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” – Jimmy Dean
The rapid shift to virtual has created a significant problem for large conference organisers – especially associations and not-for-profit organisations, that depend on high percentages of their revenue being generated from the sponsorship of such meetings.
Webinars have always been an essential strategy in a marketer’s toolbox. According to the B2B Content Marketing Trends 2020 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report:
- 57 percent of B2B marketers used webinars/online events as part of their overall strategy, and
- Of all the different content types, webinars were among the highest performing content type to secure leads (16 percent) and close leads (11 percent).
COVID-19 has only raised the importance of using webinars to keep engaging audiences while socially-distancing.