We sat down with Swapcard’s VP of marketing, Daniel Glickman, to discuss event tech and what he thinks the future holds.
The conversation began by discussing how much has changed in the events industry over the last couple of years. Speaking about the virtual revolution of the past 18 months, Daniel’s biggest takeaways were:
- The event industry has accelerated its learning curve
- The pivot to virtual happened at lightning speed
The accelerated learning curve “was a necessity, not a choice.” Daniel points out that technological advances that would’ve “taken 10 years to evolve took a year.” If the industry had had 10 years to develop the event technologies that currently exist, “we would have fixed all the kinks in the system. But we didn't have time over a year to do all that. So we have a somewhat flawed execution of the virtual event space.”
As for the question of hybrid events: what does he think about the term hybrid and hybrid events in general? Daniel’s got some strong opinions on this, especially about the fact that he believes hybrid “is a term invented by marketers, for other marketers” From Daniel’s perspective, hybrid is a solution for event organizers to deal with the many uncertainties surrounding events in the current environment.
This also comes with its own challenges because event organizers are still learning how to create content for two audiences, or are trying to replicate the onsite experience online (something we’ve discussed at Swapcard before). For Daniel, he understands the need for hybrid events but believes most attendees either want to be in-person or virtual, not hybrid. And content and networking needs to be created in a way that understands the difference between the two audiences, which adds a “level of complexity, which is not always worth the investment.”
What does the future hold for the events industry?
After delving into the topic of hybrid events for a bit, it was time for the last question. Daniel shares some of his predictions:
The virtual event evolution and slash decline: The proliferation of free virtual events has diminished the marketplace. Offering quality content and adapting to the virtual experience is integral for virtual events. That’s why it’s essential to create tailored programs for free events “and market them really, really well”
The slow and painful transition back to in-person events: For some in-person events, there is no going back to the old way of running things. With all the barriers and restrictions that currently exist with travel, we have to start preparing and planning for a "new normal."
The transition from event-based marketing to community-based marketing: Before the pandemic, most revenues came from an annual large-scale event thanks to sponsorships, ticket sales, and so on. Now, the model has shifted from a once-a-year event to a 365-day community model. As Daniel puts it, “rather than wait one year to monetize,” organizers are seeing the value in running smaller events and having virtual activities that build up to that one big event. This provides multiple sponsorship opportunities, an engaged community that is hyped up for your main event, and brand ambassadors that will basically do the word-of-mouth marketing for you.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Swapcard can help you run your next virtual, in-person, or hybrid event, we’d love to hear from you!