How leading companies are finding creative ways of leveraging events to drive business outcomes.
Despite the uncertainty of the pandemic, events have remained an invaluable way for people to share knowledge and make connections. Event organizers have gotten creative over the past year, knowing that no matter the event type (external or internal) or the format (in-person, virtual, or hybrid), attendee engagement and experience trump everything.
Events are at their most powerful when they’re able to match the event use case to the ideal event type. Each of these use cases drives a unique outcome—which, in turn, helps you drive more value with your event programs. While organizer execution and attendee expectations have evolved since the start of the pandemic, this framework will help you create positive outcomes and drive business growth in the months and years ahead.
Remember: let your goals lead the way. Whether your events are for internal or external audiences, whether they’re virtual, in-person, or hybrid, they all create business impacts that will serve you, your employees, and your customers. Choosing event types for your audiences will always come back to your event goal—so make sure that your goal and your desired outcomes are clear from the planning phase.
External Event Use Cases
If external events are your bread and butter, you’ve likely pivoted more than once in the past year. Fortunately, you also understand the many business impacts of customer-facing events. Whether it’s attracting net-new customers, accelerating the sales process, or strengthening your brand while growing a community, events can generate many positive outcomes.
With that in mind, here are some use cases for successful external events:
Summits or Conferences
These types of events can be key factors in lead generation, as well as growing brand awareness. As proven over the past year, virtual summits are the closest we can get to replicating the pre-pandemic conference experience. The most unique virtual events of this type can even generate revenue, whether through ticket sales or by offering on-demand content post-event. As we approach a hybrid future, interactivity will meet flexibility for a unique experience with both global reach and face-to-face impact.
Business Outcomes: Lead generation, better brand awareness, community development
Strategic Announcements and Launches
The most successful announcements and launch events rely on exciting, high-quality content. A great example is an Apple special event—each one is produced to create the same great experience for both the live audience and the virtual one, with cinema-quality camerawork and graphics. It’s no wonder they’re continuously well attended via streaming.
Business Outcomes: Increased word of mouth, increased profitability, accelerated sales process
Regional and Customer User Groups
While these types of events can often generate new pipeline, they also serve the all-important purpose of building community and gathering feedback. A hybrid version of this event type—perhaps in a hub-and-spoke format—can help you think local, target key customer areas, and connect customers from different areas resulting in a more robust networking opportunity for them, not to mention more data for you. Overall, these events can create visibility for your brand and enable influential conversations across the board.
Business Outcomes: More upsell and cross-sell opportunities, increased retention rates, networking opportunities for attendees
Webinars and Digital Series
Webinars or pre-recorded content released in a series format are a great way to keep your virtual audience engaged, especially while travel restrictions remain in place and budgets are up in the air. Keep your foothold in the industry by sharing your knowledge in a way that obviously benefits the audience. With this event type, engagement will typically reflect the quality of your content, since there is so much content competing for peoples’ attention every day, and engagement is always on. Think deeply about audience experience.
Business Outcomes: Increased retention rates, customer and lead education, net-new customer acquisition
Internal Event Use Cases
While they may not drive revenue in the same way as external events, internal events can’t be overlooked. Their business impact is measurable through outcomes like a stronger employee culture, which can lead to increased job satisfaction and retention. They can also attract new employees, as well as inspire existing employees to get behind larger corporate goals.
Here are some use cases for successful internal events:
Learning and Development
This type of event may present as a staff training exercise or a team-building activity. For companies spread across multiple locations—maybe even different continents—a hybrid approach, with speakers broadcast digitally to other branches from a central location, can ensure that every team member gets the same level of training and care no matter where they’re located.
Business Outcomes: Process improvements and efficiencies, increased internal retention rates
Employee Resource Groups
Part of creating a great employee experience is ensuring that everyone feels welcomed and included. Hosting monthly meetings for Employee Resource Groups connects like-minded individuals focused on a certain topic, like diversity and inclusion efforts. A gathering of LGBTQI+ employees, for example, demonstrates a commitment to your company values and gives your staff a dedicated platform to share their ideas. This is an extension of learning development that also serves as a programming content knowledge exchange.
Business Outcomes: Stronger employee culture, employee engagement
All-Hands and Sales Kickoffs
Any kind of corporate retreat or strategy session is perfect for an internal audience. You’ll be more able to control safety protocols with smaller in-person groups, as well as control compliance around social distancing and any testing regulations devised by your company. The ability to gather in person is also proven to facilitate healthy collaboration, a critical part of any successful team or company strategy.
Business Outcomes: Increased service or product knowledge, stronger company culture, employees inspired to get behind larger corporate goals
Celebrating the work of employees and teammates is so important when it comes to retention and commitment. Employee awards, work anniversaries, and any other instances that inspire employee satisfaction will uphold your company culture. The important thing about these internal events is that they continue whether your team is virtual, back in office, or a hybrid of the two. As there will likely be a virtual component in the immediate future, this is a way to humanize the workspace using technology—an important aspect to consider about the future of work.
Business Outcomes: Positive culture change, employee satisfaction, employee retention
Recruiting / Employer Marketing
Hiring can be a lengthy and difficult process, but with a recruiting or employer marketing event, you can ensure that applicants know exactly what your company stands for. Events like Amazon Career Day teach prospective employees about the company’s interview process and benefits packages, while also providing them with takeaway skills related to job hunting, such as resume writing and interview skills. Drawing in candidates with sessions like free career coaching is a great way to get them to stay in your space long enough to move down the funnel.
Business Outcomes: Attracting new employees, stronger employer branding, increased word of mouth
There are always events that feature a combination of external and internal stakeholders, and each one needs special care in its planning to ensure the messaging is targeted towards both audiences. Choosing the right format for these events can make all the difference.
Here are some use cases for successful external/internal events:
If the goal of your event is to raise money for charity or awareness of a cause, audience expectations are going to be higher than for something like a webinar—and your event and its format should reflect that. When held in person, these events usually involve a level of excitement and indulgence that’s harder to achieve digitally. One way to work around that expectation is to appeal to a different side of the audience. Create an air of authenticity with your event, whether through curated conversations, informative and exciting presentations, or an interactive component such as an auction to help keep up engagement.
Business Outcomes: Increased word of mouth, employees inspired to get behind corporate goals
While the board may be a major part of your organization, they bring an external point of view and hear mainly from internal stakeholders. Usually, these events look like multi-day offsite meetups, but you don’t have to sacrifice the power of these meeting-of-the-minds moments in a pivot to virtual or hybrid. Remember that bringing these two groups together requires a familiar atmosphere that enables easy interaction, and clear ways to share information.
Business Outcomes: Focused business mission and goals, leader-driven decision making
Maximizing the Power of Your Event Program
Events are a powerful tool for building brand awareness and generating leads, but they are much more than that. If there’s a business outcome that you are looking to drive, there’s likely an event use case that can provide valuable support in the process.
To recap, here’s a review of some of the key business outcomes to keep in mind when piecing together your internal and external event strategies.
Business Outcomes through External Events:
- Attracting net-new customers
- Accelerating the sales process
- Strengthening your brand
- Growing a community
- Offering networking opportunities
- Educating customers and leads
Business Outcomes through External Events:
- Creating a stronger employee culture
- Increasing employee satisfaction
- Increasing employee retention
- Attracting new employees
- Inspiring employees to get behind larger corporate goals
Whether you are running events that are internal, external, in-person, virtual, or hybrid—it pays to have a single event platform that can take care of all of your event needs. Request a demo with Bizzabo’s Event Success Platform and see how we’ve got all your bases covered.