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October 20, 2021

7

minutes to read

Putting your attendees first: how does your audience impact the type of event you choose?

Putting your attendees first: how does your audience impact the type of event you choose?

Knowing what type of event you want to host is a bit like figuring which shoes to wear. When choosing, you go for something that's the right size, will be able to take you to where you want to go and that matches the style and needs of your day. We make these sorts of decisions every day before we leave the house, and when planning an event we can apply this sort of logical thinking to how we build the best virtual event for our attendees. 

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Because whether it's an in-person event, a virtual event or a hybrid event, understanding your audience is the first step to choosing your event type. 

These questions can be simplified into 5 key characteristics. 

  • Size 
  • Location
  • Length of time
  • Audience type
  • Comfort with technology 

These variables play an important role in helping you understand how to cater your event to your attendees. Richard Johnston, Customer Success Manager at Tame shares his insights, saying, “It’s so important that event organisers put the time in to really get to know their target audience and who their attendees will be. The features that make up your event depend on how your attendees will utilise and engage with your content and everything that’s going on, so knowing how they’ll do this based off their needs is crucial. Taking each of these 5 areas into account is a great way to kick off the planning process.”

1. Size: How many people will there be?

The first and most basic thing to ask yourself is, How big is my event going to be? Is it an event that will have more or less than 50 people? 100? Knowing how many people you can accommodate in person, and the size of your budget to do so, is the first step to figuring out what event medium is right for you. In-person events require a lot of logistics and a lot of money, so the choice to throw a physical event really hinges on the number of attendees and the size of your budget. In-person events, therefore, shine with smaller groups, as you have the ability to maximise your budget and invest in the things people will remember (good food and great speakers) while also harnessing the feeling of ‘togetherness’ that comes with having everyone spending the day in the same space.

However, just because you can’t accommodate everyone in person, doesn't mean you have to give up all in-person event activities - instead, you can blend both in-person and virtual aspects together by having a hybrid event. Event organisers are already planning to go hybrid, with 23.6% planning to incorporate virtual components into their smaller, local, in-person events. This is because hybrid events allow for a smaller portion of your attendees to be there physically, but open up the possibility for more people to join via virtual connections. And of course, virtual events cater strongly to large crowds as they are cost-effective with an almost unlimited number of participants that aren’t at all restricted by the location of attendees. Which brings us to...

2. Location: Where are attendees?

Are they in the same office? Same region? Same country or timezone? In order to coordinate the meeting if you find a way to sync attendees’  schedules. As mentioned, virtual events offer the widest net of geographic locations for attendee participation, but for events that are local it may make sense to hold an in-person event. 

For businesses looking to connect their global offices or multi-regional offices, hybrid events are a great option. Local offices have the ability to gather in person but connect virtually with their colleagues all over the world. This blend of virtual and physical connection creates better cohesion among companies by nurturing connections between employees both near and far. In other words, hybrid events are a great way to build, maintain, and grow your team - no matter where they are.

3. Length of time: How long is the event?

You’ve got to think about the commute. The length of your event has a huge influence on how much time are people willing to spend getting to and from your event.  It's a delicate cost-benefit analysis for attendees as they must decide how much they benefit from going to your event compared to the time spent commuting there - the cost. If your event is five hours long, then an attendee may find the cost of traveling worthwhile. In contrast, an event that is only an hour and a half long may capture more attendees if it is virtual because the time spent opening the laptop and logging in is negligible compared to the benefit of attending the event. 

Understanding how to balance the length of the event to the cost of commuting for your attendees will help you choose if it should be virtual. A hybrid event is a good way to cater to differences in attendees’ location in reference to the length of the event. For attendees that are close to the event, for example, it may make sense that they go to the event in person, while other attendees log in online. 

The flexibility and ease of hybrid events appeal to attendees that are still unfamiliar or unsure of attending the event, but who are still interested in the focus of the event. One survey found that 96% of attendees at a hybrid event would not have attended the event if there was no virtual aspect. Hybrid events capture a huge group of attendees not yet willing to drive to an event, but eager to listen to what you have to say. 

Now that you’ve got your audience - it’s important to organise the timing of your event segments based on the type of audience or event. For example, in-person events may do well with larger sessions during the event but for virtual audiences sessions under 20 minutes do best.  For virtual round table discussions, 63% of people surveyed said that the ideal length for these events would be between 60 to 90 minutes. This shows that timing is crucial for event planning, both for getting people to come and for keeping them engaged. 

4. Audience type: Who are your attendees?

Is the audience an internal audience (i.e. people within the same organisation that’s throwing the event) or an external audience (i.e. inviting attendees unfamiliar with the host of the event). This affects the dynamics of an event. An event where people are unfamiliar with each other may require a larger focus on networking and meeting people - which would be very time consuming in an in-person event. However, online attendees can connect via email or LinkedIn prior to the event happening, or after in a specified time just for networking. This utilises the best part of virtual events, all while keeping the focus of the event at the centre of the event. 

An event that is internal within your business allows for a swifter introduction of the focus of the event. Small, in-person events made up of ‘internally’ related attendees allow for a fast-paced, to-the-point event without too many introductions; which makes it a great way to have coworkers from different offices or cohorts meet each other.

But it doesn't have to be binary, hybrid events are a great way to meet the combination of an internal and external audience. For example, a business that is inviting other companies to a meeting may want to do a hybrid event, where individuals from the same company are together in person, but the meeting as a whole is virtual. This use of a hybrid event merges the internal and external by using in-person space for internal attendees and a virtual space for external, highlighting the benefits of all the different types of events. 

5. Tech: What technical skills do attendees have?

We all know the distraction and delay that just one person with technical problems can cause for a whole virtual meeting, and at virtual events these delays have greater ramifications. All the small delays add up and can take minutes or even hours away from your event. So, knowing your varying participant’s comfort with tech means knowing if they will struggle in an online or hybrid situation, or thrive. 

A lot of people’s technical skills and comfort has to do with experience and field of interest. People who work in tech jobs or use technology often will have an easier time adapting to virtual and hybrid events. However, people who are unfamiliar or who don't have access to all technology may be better suited for in-person events. This is important because you don't want your attendees spending most of their time at the event figuring out how to log in, navigate or even view the event - while it's happening. You want your event to have as few distractions and complications as necessary, which is why it's important to think about how tech-friendly your attendees are. 


Here at Tame, we want you to lead your event with your best foot forward. We offer free demos and a whole host of expert knowledge so you'll be sure to walk away with an event category that fits your attendee’s needs just right.

Get in touch to chat with the team and book in your free personalised demo to find out how Tame could work for you.

References:
  1. https://www.gavelintl.com/the-most-revealing-event-statistics-for-2021/
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QGWSOnqBEA
  3. https://www.bizbash.com/production-strategy/strategy/article/13230620/12-insights-from-mpis-research-on-hybrid-meetings
  4. https://www.markletic.com/blog/virtual-event-statistics/
The Tame Team

The Tame Team

YOUR VIRTUAL & HYBRID EVENTS PARTNER

At Tame, we've got a bunch of experience in the event industry that we want to share with you. After all, sharing is caring!

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