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2012 Predictions for Digital and Hybrid Events (from @INXPO)

2012 predictions for digital and hybrid events

Introduction

Happy Holidays.

It’s been a tremendous 2011 here at INXPO. It wouldn’t have been possible without you, our customers, our partners and the users who attend the digital and hybrid events that we help make possible. So, thank you. 2011 was the year I started blogging and I thank you for reading.

Without further ado, I’d like to share my predictions for digital and hybrid events in 2012.

CEO’s Communicate via “CEO TV”

Earlier this year, I introduced a concept that I call “CEO TV.” In this age of the distributed workforce, “CEO TV” enables business leaders to communicate instantly to their entire organization, all within the confines of their internal (and social!) TV station.

I see it work each month at INXPO and I’ve seen numerous organizations adopt this TV concept in 2011. Expect this concept to flourish in 2012, as executives increasingly communicate to their organizations online.

Simplifying the Buying Process.

I speak to clients and prospects every day of the week (including Saturdays and Sundays). And a clear theme has developed over the past 18 months: it’s too complicated to price and purchase a digital event! In 2012, the industry moves towards simplification.

To put it simply, pricing models for digital events will be made simpler. In addition, the “packages” will become friendlier and less complex. Expect to see “solutions” around lead generation,communications, recruiting and the like. This allows the marketer to be sold the “lead generation solution”, while the HR manager considers the recruiting solution.

The Year of the Hybrid Event

It’s here, and it’s hybrid. In 2009, I was 2 years early when I declared 2010 “The Year of the Hybrid.” My timing is correct this time. Hybrid events saw significant adoption in 2011, but I expect 2012 to knock all indicators and data points off the charts.

I’ve met with some savvy associations and creative event agencies and I’m banking on them to make 2012 the year that the event industry adopts hybrid events in massive proportions. TIME magazine will consider naming the “hybrid event” as its Person of the Year.

Social Media Migrates to Social Business

Social media has been a big win for both digital and hybrid events. And it will continue and grow, for sure. But I believe we’ll move beyond Phase 1 of social media for events and migrate to Phase 2. This new phase will focus on tying social activity directly into business systems (automatically), to derive direct business results.

Expect to see integration of social (and digital event) activity directly into CRM, ERP and event Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). From there, it’s up to the business to “mine” this data and find the gold. Note, too, that when working with the right vendors, customer intelligence is made available and does not require “mining.”

Mobile Adoption

Digital event platforms are waking up to the fact that attendees are no longer on desktops and laptops. The platforms step it up (further) in 2012 to deliver true and meaningful digital event experiences on both tablets and smartphones. Assuming the platforms are up to the challenge in 2012, I believe 2013 is the year that more attendees access digital events from mobile devices than tethered devices.

Mobile App Integration for Hybrid Events

It’s great to see the innovation happening in mobile apps for events. I’m seeing mobile apps developed for the event brand (itself), along with third party apps that allow attendees to find content, find sessions and discover each other. We’ll continue to see exciting new apps in 2012 and digital event platforms will look to integrate these apps. Why? To connect on-site attendees to digital attendees and vice versa. I see the biggest opportunity in hybrid events coming from this particular integration.

Conclusion

2011 has been a great year for digital and hybrid events. But when I count down to midnight on New Year’s Eve, I’ll be most excited to usher in the great things I’m expecting to see in 2012. Happy Early New Year. Let’s make 2012 a great one.

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