Virtual event? Hybrid event? What are my options? The good news is that you are only limited by your imagination, and your budget of course. Below are answers to some of the questions you may have when planning your upcoming event:
What is a Hybrid Event?
A hybrid event is an event that combines a “live” in-person event with a “virtual” component. If your upcoming live event will have a smaller number of in-person guests than you were originally expecting, whether that is due to capacity regulations, travel restrictions or any other reason, consider going hybrid. If you have already planned for your AV technology to include cameras, chances are you can add a virtual component such as a livestream to expand your reach for a minimal up-charge. Other than the video and audio feeds, which you probably already have, you will need an internet connection and some additional software for the encoding process.
How do I create a Virtual Experience without it being another boring webinar? 
The key to keeping your audience engaged is to tell your story visually. You should assume your attendees are watching on a tiny screen in a room full of distractions. The best way to share your story and keep everyone engaged is to use visuals. Make sure your visuals are simple and are able to be digested in three seconds or less. Visual components can include images, slides, pre-recorded videos, screen sharing and a variety of other options. Start with a strong opening and avoid leading with in-depth content like company or project history. Open with the content the audience is most interested in and move through talking points quickly to keep the audience engaged.
What branding or sponsor recognition options are possible with virtual events?
Just because you are going virtual does not mean you can no longer brand your event or include sponsor recognition. There are tons of options that can be incorporated including lower third graphics, bugs (a logo that is graphically imposed over the video feed), graphic templates/overlays, transition slides and even scrolling text at the bottom or top of a page. 

In the image below, the Laughing Matters fundraiser supporting Cancer Support Community was broadcast live from the Markey's Indianapolis studio. Sponsor logos were included on the stage set as part of the backdrop. An event graphic was placed over the video feed in the bottom corner for event branding and a scrolling information bar appeared at the bottom of the screen for silent auction instructions. A bug with the Markey's logo appeared in the top left corner as well.
Why audience engagement?
Audience participation is an integral part in keeping your audience engaged, whether at a live, virtual or hybrid event. Allowing your audience to be part of the story and interact when appropriate will help them make a personal connection with your event and in turn, increase your ROI. Technology and mobile apps allow for seamless audience engagement over multiple platforms. Polling tools, Q & A apps and VR experiences are just a few ways to use technology on a personal level to engage your guests. 
How much does a virtual meeting cost?  
Similar to the answer to the question of “How much does a live event cost?,” there are many factors that go into pricing a virtual event. Pricing a virtual event begins with a conversation. At Markey’s, we work with our clients to first understand their goals. We ask questions like…

“What does success look like when the event is over?" - We need to provide value. Once we understand what is important, we can then understand what we need to do to meet the objectives of the event.  

“What level of interaction do you need?”  -Interaction could be video and audio, Q&A, polling, swag delivered to homes, etc. The amount of interaction will help guide what platform is best.

“How many concurrent sessions/activities are you wanting to have at one time?”  -The more concurrent sessions/activities you have the more intricate your event becomes.

“How many attendees do you plan on having?”  -Most virtual event platforms charge based on the number of attendees. Having this number is useful when submitting RFPs.

Once we fully understand the scope of the event, we can then have a conversation about the solutions available to achieve the event goals. There is not a “one-product-fits-all” solution when it comes to virtual events.  The good news is that there are solutions for all budgets.

Questions? Have an event you want to discuss? Want more info on Markey's?
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