What do you do when you can’t travel but need to attend an out of town conference? The answer has become clear (especially amidst our current pandemic): you join a virtual conference.
For many industries, attending a conference virtually is not new. But it is continuing to grow in popularity.
Even well before the current COVID-19 pandemic, people were getting into digital communication. Video calls, online meetings, and digital conferences were becoming more and more common. But now that the world has been forced online, even more, digital communication—like meetings and conferences—has become more widespread.
Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of attending digital conferences.
The pros of digital conferences:
- Virtual event planning software is increasing
Software for digital conferencing is both improving and increasing. With such great results, many networking and marketing events that were mostly physical in the past have become virtual.
- No time-consuming prep and set up
With everything online, you don’t have to spend a lot of time (or money) on printing promotional material like brochures or setting up a booth. Instead, you can put the hours and dollars you save toward other aspects of your promoting your brand.
- Virtual events are cost-effective
You can save a massive amount of money without the need for 1000 brochures, swag bags, or travel expenses. You also don’t have to rent space, and your entire team can attend for a fraction of the cost. If an attendee likes what they see from you, they can click to reach your website, upcoming event registration, or reach out directly with a question.
- Online events are flexible
Generally, real-life events only last two to three days. Virtual conferences, on the other hand, can stay live for extended periods. On top of this, our workforces and networks are global, and traveling long distances for a conference isn’t always feasible. Digital conferences provide opportunities for people from all corners of the globe to attend.
- You can collect more data
Many physical events only collect data from a sign-up or sign-in sheet. Virtual events are data goldmines. They can provide more detailed data and valuable insights to help you nurture leads. You can find out what type of content they’re viewing, which reps they are chatting with, and what resources they are downloading.
The cons of digital conferencing
- Less opportunity for personalized merchandise
Without swag, it is difficult to separate yourself from other presenters. And sometimes conference attendees enjoy the goodies they get from real-time conferences—like pens, USB devices, or cellphone accessories. Online, you can’t lure in passing people as easily.
- Face-to-face networking and communication are lost
Let’s face it: sometimes, networking in real-life has a more personal touch. Some people find networking through a computer screen to be a barrier. And in a world where we spend so much time online, some find they are more productive and able to connect with people better in person. On the flip side, the less extroverted may be more likely to ask questions or browse a company’s resources during a digital conference. Ultimately, with the higher cost of in-person conferences, they are going to have to work really hard to build networking opportunities that outweigh the convenience and low cost of learning and networking from home.
There are both pros and cons when it comes to digital conferences. For instance, meeting people in person can add an important layer to the relationship. However, real-life events can be time-consuming and expensive. Given the world’s current circumstances, plus the many benefits—from saving money to generating more leads and data—it’s safe to accept digital conferences as a powerful way for brands to market.