Good morning, and are you starting to feel guilty about virtual events?

I mean the events you want to attend, the events you register for and put in your calendar — and then the day comes, and you have an extra meeting or a webinar rehearsal or a video call goes too long, and finally, mid-afternoon, you say to yourself, “Wait, I was supposed to attend a virtual event today.”

Yes, that just happened to me, and not for the first time. It’s one of the many ways in which virtual events are unlike in-person events. How often have you abandoned your flight to Vegas and three nights at the Venetian for a last-minute team meeting.

What’s becoming clearer as the year rolls on is that virtual events just are not in-person events in a slightly different guise. The downside is that no-one has yet figured out how to replace things like networking and those serendipitous meetings over drinks and sliders. The upside is that event marketing is finally coming out of its silo and being seen as part of a digital marketing strategy. Read on.

Kim Davis
Editorial Director, MarTech Today


Virtual events are here to stay: and they’re a digital channel

On the occasion of the release of some timely research: “The State of Events: Crafting Your 2021 Event Plan,” we spoke with Deb Wolf (CMO) and Chris Wickson (GM, Events Solutions) at Integrate about how virtual events are being folded into B2B marketers’ omnichannel digital strategies.

Wickson believes it’s useful to draw a strong distinction between in-person events and virtual events. “An in-person event, by its very nature, is an occasion that people travel to; you’re physically there as a captive audience. On the virtual event side, people went into it earlier this year with an expectation that they could flip the switch and re-create the in-person in a virtual scenario — and that’s led to disappointment. A virtual event is a form of content that can be used in a lot of different ways, and the more successful virtual events we’re seeing now are going into it with that mind-set.”

Event marketing teams — once more or less siloed from the digital components of the buyer journey — are now being embraced as responsible for what has become, in effect, another digital channel. “I think that’s a bonus that has come out of this for event planners, to start thinking across the buyer journey, and how they fit within it,” said Wolf.

Read more here.


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Hacking the virtual event stack

How should marketers go about selecting the right stack for their virtual event needs? This was a question reviewed in depth during an episode of MarTech Live with guests Marc Sirkin, SVP of Marketing and Technology for Third Door Media and Vasil Azarov CEO of the Growth Marketing Conference.

For Third Door Media, said Sirkin, “what we’ve done is assemble best-of breed-components and elements. An example of this is that we are streaming through Streamyard to Vimeo video which gives us lots of flexibility for on-demand and live recording. We’re using a registration platform called Swoogo for the event experience, and then we’re using custom-built components, from a back end standpoint to manage sessions and speakers and of all kinds of stuff. And then WordPress on some of the front-end pieces, so what we have put together is very ‘hacking marketing’.”

Azarov and the Growth Marketing Conference chose to go with Crowdcast, a vendor they had used in the past. Familiarity led to increased operational efficiency. Despite a few early issues, Azarov was satisfied with his decision.

“We did not want to abandon Crowdcast. We built our website, on Hasaan, which is a templated platform for virtual events, really easy to plug and play speaker sponsors,” said Azarov. “It is very easy to customize, we just needed a developer to add some CSS and it looks nice.

Watch the full episode here.


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Social Media

Snap launches new advertising product suite

With nearly 250 million daily users on Snapchat, Snap has now announced a new advertising product suite that is created specifically for app marketers. The suite includes optimization for installs, an operating flow for app conversions, an audience network currently in the beta stage, as well as a login kit allowing users to access apps using their Snapchat account, and a creative kit that allows users to share lenses, AR experiences, filters, GIFs, videos, links or captions. 

The new product suite also includes a Minimum ROAS bid strategy, aimed at ensuring that ads reach high-spending Snapchatters.

Why we care. With daily active users up nearly 20% YOY, Snapchat is a channel to be taken seriously by marketers and advertisers. 

Quote of the day

“Digital transformation is driving every aspect of not just modern business but of life itself, with the proliferation of digital apps for every sector, including banking, retail, hospitality and more.” Monique Williams, Sales Manager, Hyland Software.