Virtual Events & Webinars Top-10 Benefits

in Marketing-Communications and Customer Experience

Here are the Top-10 reasons for considering SocialStreamingTV-Virtual Events which includes:  Communications, Context, Contact, Collaboration, Connections, Consistency, Comparison, Consensus, Crisis, Cynchronicity and two more – Contribution and Compelling.  Here are some highlights. 

– Virtual events are critical for external communications to customers, press, analysts, stakeholders and other public audiences as well as internal staff, training, compliance, procedure and business communications. 

– Virtual events can be produced in corporate visitor centers and provide a hybrid means for public trade shows, private customer, channel partner and key financial and analyst presentations as well as manage crisis events.

– Virtual events provide a vital means for onsite and work from home or anywhere communications.

Virtual events provides a corporate library of both live and ondemand content.

– Virtual events can be fun, engaging and even gamification to provide enhanced customer and colleague experiences.

Here are the details on the Top-10 benefits of virtual events:

1 – Communications – is about how we communicate with one another.  The saying that “communications will always fail except by chance” is more than just a passing saying, it reflects that we often say things that may mean a lot to us but don’t have any meaning to anyone else.  One of the key features of SocialStreamingTV-Virtual Events is the ability to communicate in a more meaningful way.  That is, people can communicate in their own style of writing, audio and live and ondemand video.  With the ability to easily upload video files, team members who prefer to “show” not just tell their communications can do that as well.  In fact, many of the millions of videos on various internet sites are really just product demonstrations or explanations of ideas.  The SocialStreamingTV-Virtual Events Library can also be the long-term repository/archive for corporate videos.  There are many types of communications in corporate videos.   Examples of internet corporate videos is where an executive wants to give an update, a manager presents an idea, a developer wants to explain some specific term or internal software feature, investor relations wants to present quarterly reports or HR on an internal policy matter.   Within internal corporate communications, there are a number of key communication patterns or styles such as: customer communications, social media, public relations (PR), internal, human resources (HR), investor relations (IR) and regulatory.  Each of these activities has their own Virtual Events for a specific type of task, activity, communications and marcom initiative.  Each of these Virtual Events have a myriad of often very specific communications which, if improperly worded or phrased can lead to serious litigation, press comment or worse loss of customer confidence and subsequent loss of sales from existing and prospective customers.  One of the many reasons for a tool like SocialStreamingTV-Virtual Events (VE) is the ability within the VE Library to save documents and processes approved by executive management, legal, marketing, training, HR and anyone else who needs to be involved. 

This chart developed for SSTV-VE strategic customer assessment process reflects another set of communications processes.   During the rest of this paper the term marcom for marketing communications will be used as marketing is all about communications.  In the meantime, let’s explore context.

2 – Context – without context nearly all communications would be useless.  The term cat may be understood by you but if you only understand Korean maybe not without a visual reference.  One of the many numerous marketing communications catastrophes was of a company who used the term “Adds Life” to their beverage slogan.  When translated into one eastern language, it came out the beverage “Brings Back the Dead.”  While quite humorous now, it certainly was a complex contextual communications challenge to the company who then needed to rethink their strategy.  What this means as marcom experts need to design not only the communication or message with the distribution mediums as well as the context of how and where it will be used.  With SocialStreamingTV-Virtual Events, the context of various types of messages can be saved, studied, reviewed and evaluated, then translated as needed and then market tested before wider distribution.   

Virtual events are all about marketing communicating (marcom) within the context of the viewer or audience.  Marcom must, to be effective, put the message into the mind of the viewer or reader and must engage them into action.  Recently we have been engaged in developing a number of marcom plans; however, what the client did not understand was that marketing needs to engage action. Seldom is there an understanding between sales and marketing as sales is all about action and marketing is perceived as a passive activity.  For marcom to bridge that gap they must integrate the sales process into their own thinking and create “actionable” results such as “call now.”  Marketers often abhor being perceived as in the role of quasi-sales people, however, one of the most pressing questions asked today, does social media bring results?  If the answer is no, then social media marketing is of no value other than as a gossip, political or humorous exercise.  Bottom line for all marketing as well as everything else in the enterprise is it has to pay for itself and be accountable for results.  Understanding the context of that will also bring into focus the need for all marcom to be contextually-driven to achieve measurable results.  With SocialStreamingTV-Virtual Events, all participants can get engaged in conversations on making all efforts achieve the desired results and the means to measure them.

3 – Contact Chain – is not about a contact manager but how and when you communicate with vendors, talent, agencies and the myriad of others involved in any marcom group.  Discussed later are specific activities called Connections, Contact Chain this is about the “chain links” of communications in your customer contact system.  Vendors (everyone you contract with) need a set of communications guidelines and processes to begin work, do work, get paid for the work and if good at their work get to do it again.  All too often after the vendor is selected and it takes six months for purchasing to get the vendor approved.  This means that the customer sale could be delayed or another potentially less-desirable vendor is selected because of another corporate process.  In SocialStreamingTV-Virtual Events vendors as well as process and procedures can be maintained so team members can have quick access to vital information as well as update, post recommendations for other vendors, provide evaluations of current vendors and other pertinent information.  With the ability to have multiple “logs” (blogs if you prefer) each team member can add comments, concerns and other topics about communications with all the different players.  Individual or precise schedules can be built and then shared with all the relevant parties for completion.

4 – Collaboration-Conversations – collaboration is already an overused word in business.  Consensus and collaboration are closely related, however in the context (since we just discussed that) of this article, collaboration is about mechanics of communication and consensus is one type of collaboration.  Collaboration sounds like a great concept but in reality getting everyone “on the same page” is really much harder than having a concall.  The positive effect on productivity of group decision making over individual decision making is well-documented for more than fifty years.  Advantages include the availability of a greater range of experience than that held by any one individual, a more diverse set of intellectual approaches and capabilities, and a greater tendency to subject ideas to scrutiny and debate. The positive effects of group collaboration/interaction in the decision-making process include the following:

•  Creative approaches to the task are more likely to be found, as are more creative solutions.

•  There is more constructive criticism rather constructive suggestion, thus decreasing the likelihood of loopholes and future problems.

•  The commitment of the group to resolving the task at hand is greater.

•  Implementation of the decision is facilitated when personnel from different parts of the organization communicate to each other their needs, as well as understand and participate in the decision-making process.

For collaboration to be successful different approaches need to be explored.  Quite simply, with SocialStreamingTV-Virtual Events, better-thought-out viewpoints and more precise arguments than in an ordinary face-to-face sessions and/or group video are possible.

5 – Connections – is the step-by-step (hence the ballet group) effort rather than just being “in step” activities leading up to or away from an event.  One of the many steps in baking a cake is turning on the oven and having it at the desired temperature before placing it in the oven.   Connections are the matrix of activities within an event.  Cynchronicity, discussed in a moment, is about the timing of virtual events, connections are about the multitude and myriad of virtual events.  Never has it ever been that something was not forgotten or missed – should be tattooed on marcom staff hands.  There is always something that someone forgot to do or bring.  This is often the nightmare of many projects that it is the “little things” that are always the “got-ya’s.”  This is not saying that SocialStreamingTV-Virtual Events is a panacea; however, each virtual event can be easily viewed, checked and rechecked.  This does not mean that people read the list and fail to remember something important or trivial; however, checklists can be easily maintained, updated and evaluated for future virtual events.  

6 – Consistency – many virtual events can be repeated again and again.  They are also often connected like the “gears” above from one to another.  However, without some form of historical archive or database, projects can often repeat many of the same mistakes.  Rather than always trying to remember about a virtual event or not remembering at all as the team member involved left the company, each SocialStreamingTV-Virtual Events can be reviewed, evaluated and metrics built both qualitatively in terms of often immeasurable concepts like user reaction and overall feeling.  Also, quantitative values can be placed in SocialStreamingTV-Virtual Events to provide the means for measuring the next event or other events.  Consistency is used, however, if you prefer the term quality can be substituted.  Marketing generally suffers because many activities lack what in the telecommunications space is called Quality of Service (QoS) or QoE (Quality of Experience).  Using SocialStreamingTV-Virtual Events, Events can be designed around QoE/QoS and then measured against future Events or even past ones.  From this vantage, quality becomes an integral part of the marcom effort and then further metrics or even standards developed.  A year ago, we built a concept called the OCI-Open Communications Interface model to measure and provide QoS for all job skills and performance.  This model could be easily applied to marcom.

7 – Comparison – many marcom events contain similar tasks such as press, video, print and other tasks.  However, they are often viewed as unique events not comparable to others.  This concept suggests like in QoS/QoE (quality of service and quality of experience) that detailed virtual events comparisons can be made and from that build better or different virtual events based on comparative analysis.  It is unlikely or necessary that all virtual events be scrutinized this way; however, the most common comment often heard from executive management was “where are the real results.”   Marketing often lacks the resources, know-how or time to develop specific return on investment (ROI) models because they can’t compare one Event with another or even one virtual event.  In SocialStreamingTV-Virtual Events each virtual event can be duplicated as a backup or for repetition purposes but also to compare against or model with new or proposed projects. 

8 – Consensus – is also concurrence or consent.  In team building, concurrence or consensus building is also the process of gaining and maintaining concurrence of the members.  Dissent is not often really tolerated by managers who think their way is the best way because they are the boss.  Collaboration suggests that by creating the digital means for collaboration that consensus will automatically emerge.  Just by providing the technology such as web conferencing, video telepresence and other networking tools does not at all, lead to consensus.  Giving people cars does not mean they know how to drive, quite the reverse, people will have accidents even with driver training.  Communication is far more elusive than automobile driver training.  People think they communicate and often do a lot of it but rarely does it even get understood much less facilitating the situation where consensus can be built.  In SocialStreamingTV-Virtual Events areas can be created for consensus building around an Event, idea or even everyday work problem such as office space.  SocialStreamingTV-Virtual Events also simplifies an inherently difficult task: reaching a consensus among several persons in a fairly short period of time. Probably the most innovative contribution of SocialStreamingTV-Virtual Events, in fact, is its ability to structure group communication in such a way that many people can reach one mutually agreed-upon decision in an efficient manner. By creating a continuous record in online form, SocialStreamingTV-Virtual Events develops a kind of “weaving” of the members’ ideas that adds a new dimension to what would otherwise have been a simple exchange of email.  Without being too academic,  strategic collaboration and thinking requires an awareness of the larger context within which planning and decision-making occurs, an appreciation of the historical dimensions of a problem, an ability to take the long view, a realization of systems relationships within and beyond one’s organizational boundaries, a commitment to collaboration in planning and decision-making, and an appreciation for paradoxical and counter-conventional ideas which often leads to innovative thinking and solutions.

9 – Crisis – chaos, buzz, glitz, squawk, gossip, glam and anything you can do to get a random quote used or exposed somewhere famous is also a key “random” factor. If you could get “so-in-so” to mention your brand on their TV, radio, Twitter feed or anything is often more important than all the money you spend on marketing.  Social media is an enigma but sometimes sharing, forwarding, mentioning have often has more of an influence than all the sales calls you will ever make. However, thought leadership is using content to create your company as the “go to source” for all things in your marketspace. In this way, you minimize the “gossip factor” and maximize the credibility factor. As one blogger recently pointed out was a comment from a CEO, “My biggest concern with participating in social media is that we’ll somehow provoke a crisis.” Having managed crisis conditions and seen others do it, you take control over the media, not just message and. continuously drive the message to the result. BP in the Gulf is a great example of how not to do thought leadership. The real lesson is – did you learn that lesson as well?

10 – Cynchronicity (pronounced like synch-ron-icity) – is the timing of the communications.  It’s a term invented to mean more than synchronicity (a coincidental occurrence of a-causal events – see Wikipedia).  Time is the only common value to everything, hence the need for a time-based tool such as SocialStreamingTV-Virtual Events.   Calendars are great tools and we each have them for personal users.  Shared calendars can be useful but often lack the tools to make them more than just “time clocks” for tasks.  SocialStreamingTV-virtual events adds a wide range of features and icons for visual reinforcement of the specific types of Events that marcom often uses.  Unique icons can also be created for unique/customer or company-specific activities.  There is no “play golf” icon but ask us and we will create one.  Cynchronicity is also about the ways we use time.  Time is more than just a stream of events but a lot of parallel times that all come together in a specific virtual event.  Cynchronicity is the means to understand all the different timeframes that exist and build a comprehensive SocialStreamingTV-Virtual Events calendar to bring all “time” together in one place.

11 – Contribution – this is largely from an article I wrote called on Virtual Meeting.  “Using the replies, he began writing drafts of the sections, incorporating the material sent in response to his messages. The others then commented on the drafts in separate files. Subsequent versions were dated and stored online so that they could be compared. The proposal was really a joint effort.  Everyone on the team made significant contributions and interacted with everyone else.   We had the kind of objections, suggestions, and revisions which would have taken place in a conventional committee. The striking aspect of the activity is that we got it done so quickly. Each member was able to take part on his own schedule.  For all practical purposes, we conducted a continuous, month-long committee meeting. We also found that people began to work better as a team which was not expected.  This was not expected as the team had, up to this point, been at times, openly hostile to one another.  Also, other members gained in their motivation and were highly-motivated to complete the project.   Virtual tools cannot create motivation but it can provide a convenient means for collaboration among people who would otherwise find it difficult to meet and carry out joint activity.”  SocialStreamingTV-Virtual Events is designed and developed all around improving marketing communications.  We look forward to any feature suggestions, improvements as well as creating custom versions for special markets or customers. 

12 – Compelling Vision strategically, you cannot not react to trends, you cannot predict them either, you can only direct customers to your vision or strategy. Thought leadership is quite simply that strategy. There’s a device likely in your hand that has been directed to you by a company with the name of a fruit. Vision can bring ideas to reality, simply, quickly and most importantly personally. One simple example was that the music player market was already flooded with portable audio players. The fruit company created not just another device but a system for buying and organizing your tunes. Then they created their devices in “pastel” which appealed to all kinds of users, not just one demographic type. Then they said, why should you have to carry two devices one for tunes and one for phone, why not just one device and the rest is simply history as they say. All from a company who was years before not thought of as a player in the “telephone” business. Vision is and will always be the directing factor in your success. Everyone demands vision and everyone knows the name of the (sadly, now former) CEO of Apple.

Summary: SocialStreamingTV-Virtual Events is a cloud solution designed to assist, guide, track and manage all marketing communications activities in a timely manner.  Whatever term you prefer, SocialStreamingTV-Virtual Events is an online communications-collaboration solution for marketing communications and other activities.