Yesterday, I missed a live-streamed corporate event. Today, the host emailed me a link to the recording. But I deleted it without much thought. And I bet many of you have done the same.
I deleted it because I knew I’d missed the moment. A virtual event, like its in-person counterpart, has a special character to it. Timeliness. Fleetingness. Spontaneity. In part, I attend virtual events because they are live. I can voice myself through polls or connect with other attendees through chat. I can trust that my experience will be as current and in-the-moment as possible. And when it’s not live, my interest level plummets.
Which is exactly why I think live virtual events are here to stay.
Because canned content doesn’t have that emotional oomph—not last year’s Super Bowl, last week’s YouTube livestream, or yesterday’s archived corporate event. However, much as I might appreciate a recorded event, it doesn’t deliver the thrill of being in a real-time audience. And it can’t.
When the lockdown first hit, I worried that clients would transfer their live events budgets into digital marketing. But now I think that’d be foolish. Because they’re different animals. Digital marketing has no brio. It doesn’t create unique moments. It lays siege to web pages and inboxes. It leans on pay-per-click advertising, paid search, SEO, social media marketing, email and affiliate marketing. It’s a numbers game. And about 99.2% of its audiences would rather not be bothered.
Which couldn’t be more different from virtual events. Because with them, a group of individuals personally commit to sharing a specific online experience at a certain moment in time—an inspiring CEO’s keynote, an all-new product launch, a great concert with a favorite artist—just as long as everyone else promises to be there, too.
All of which is to say, togetherness makes the difference. And there is no substitute for a live shared experience, even in the virtual world.