What do audiences actually want from virtual events? Do they simply want to “tune in and drop out,” as it were? Simply listen to audio or download slides? Or do they expect to engage with a brand and use webinars and virtual events as another means to build a relationship?
To understand what audiences want from their digital experiences, we partnered with Heinz Marketing to run a series of surveys. In these surveys, we asked audiences what they want from their digital experiences, how marketers engage with attendees and what sales representatives do with the information collected.
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Audiences Want To Engage
In fact, over the past six months, respondents say they’ve attended four or more digital experiences. Not only that, 75% of attendees say they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the events they’ve attended in the past year.
Audiences Want Personalization
But it’s not just the experience that audiences want. It’s the relationship with the brand, too.
According to our survey, 83% of respondents say they want more personalization in their digital experiences, with 65% saying they either “somewhat” or “highly” expect personalization.
Audiences Want Options, Marketers Need To Experiment with Their Methods
Audiences want personalization, sure. But when it comes to actual events, they have a variety of preferences. First, there’s what they intend to get out of the event. For example, of our respondents:
- 67.7% say they want to expand their general knowledge
- 47.8% want to learn more about industry trends
- 43.8% want to network with others and discover new products/services
- 39.8% want product training
Second, they actually want a variety of event format preferences — it’s not all in-person! For example:
- 44% of respondents said they prefer virtual events
- 30% of respondents say they prefer in-person
- 23% prefer hybrid events
- 3% prefer attending on-demand
Clearly, marketers have a lot to live up to.
Marketers Need to Capture the Right Data
So how can marketers bridge this gap between what they produce and what audiences want? First and foremost, they need to capture first-party data — insights and feedback directly from attendees.
But, according to our survey, our marketers make relatively little use of the very tools that can provide them with these insights. In fact, marketing respondents say they make relatively scant use of engagement tools, like:
- Group Chat (53%)
- Polls (50%)
- Q&A (36%)
- Breakout Rooms (30%)
Marketers Need to Deliver Insights to Sales
But the buying journey isn’t just between marketers and their audiences. At some point, sales will need to be brought in to chat with qualified leads, nurture and close deals.
To do this, marketers must seamlessly send the data they’ve collected from the audiences they’ve engaged with to sales in near real-time.
To learn more about how marketers can close the digital engagement gap, check out our report here.