On-Site or Online Events? What About Both?
There has been plenty of debate over the past few years about the comparative value of online and face-to-face events. We’ve seen some companies abandon trade shows, while others cling to them and insist that online events are just a fleeting trend. There is another group that has adopted a balanced mix of online and on-site events.
Although BrightTALK focuses on online events, it’s clear to me that there is value in both. Our San Francisco office is just blocks from one of the largest convention centers in the United States and we see hordes of professionals roaming the streets during events like the RSA Conference, Dreamforce, and the Web 2.0 Expo. I often attend in-person events and always try to make it to our local B2B Marketing Breakfasts. I also tune into a few webcasts each month, most of which have presenters speaking from other states, or even other countries.
At a recent Think Influence meet-up, I was talking about the group’s content plan with its founder, Barbara French, and we discussed the fact that group members in other cities wouldn’t be able to participate in the upcoming presentations without flying in for the day.
We decided to host the first event of the year at the BrightTALK San Francisco office, and to stream the presentation on turning influencers into brand advocates as a live video in the BrightTALK Social Media Marketing Summit. This would allow us to extend the reach of the presentation to include marketers in other regions as well as those who live locally, but couldn’t make it to the meet-up that morning. Having it recorded will enable anyone to enjoy the content at anytime from anywhere.
We now have about 50 top local marketers coming into the office to participate as a live audience, and another 250 signed up to watch online from 31 states and 16 countries.
For everyone in the office, it will be a great chance to spend the morning with their peers, and for everyone online, a convenient way to learn from the speakers without worrying about travel, cost, or their busy work schedules. I see it as the best of both worlds, and evidence that both event formats can live in harmony.