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Virtual Summit: A Conference Without Borders

A customer conference is the one time a year when you get to connect face-to-face with many of your customers. For many companies, this is the single largest marketing activity of the year. Companies use these to launch new products, to share thought leading ideas, to introduce a new executive, to establish their brand, and most of all – to generate more business.
A huge effort and budget goes into annual customer conferences. Anyone who has ever produced one knows the hassle.  The laundry list of activities before the event is endless.  The location is one of the key success factors in a company conference. You have to find the right venue: a hub that will be easy for people acround America or across the world to fly into (Vegas is usually a sure bet…). It should be big enough to host the conference, but if it’s too big, your event will look dwarfed. But finding the venue is just the first step; after that comes creating the right messaging and visual identity, hiring a good production company, finding speakers, planning the agenda, building a key note presentation that makes your CEO look the best they can, a communication plan,  budget planning, timeline planning…and what about food? And ancillary events (throw in some fun…)?  And most important – getting people to register.
But even the best of events, with the highest draw (Dreamforce, anyone?) have one big limitation: onsite events are limited to a certain location. For people wanting to attend those events, travel budget is an issue, as is taking the time out of their schedules to travel and attend. The number of attendees will always be limited to those who can actually find the money and time (usually up to a week) to spend.
Going through such a huge effort that at the end of the day will be limited to a couple of hundreds / thousands of participants is a missed opportunity. Your message and content could resonate well beyond a specific event, in a specific location at a specific day and time.
Imagine how much bigger your annual conference could be if location was not a limiting factor. Imagine you could get to any of your customers, globally. Imagine if your customers could attend your event in their own time zone. Imagine that the budget of the venue was no longer an issue. In fact, imagine you could eliminate travel budget all together.

Virtual Conferences in Action: Kaltura Connect

Last week we held the first of three Kaltura Connect virtual events – an online summit for Kaltura Education customers and prospects, globally. The event was virtual, with no location limitations – no borders to worry about. Instead, we broadcasted live over the internet using Kaltura’s innovative webcasting product.
This was first of three virtual summits, one for each of the main verticals Kaltura supports: Education, Enterprise and Media. Each summit has its own agenda, a different list of speakers, and is planned for a different date.
This wasn’t just a very long webinar. The entire event was broadcasted using video – viewers could see the presenters as they talk. A proven channel for communication, video is effective in creating a very engaging, personal experience. It felt like you were actually sitting in front of the person speaking.
Kaltura Connect Education Virtual Summit’s agenda included an opening presentation by Kaltura’s CEO, a panel discussion, presentations from multiple leaders in educational video, and a roadmap presentation by Kaltura’s CMO. All the presentations were recorded in advance and broadcasted live during the event, following by live Q&A with the speakers.
Registrants had the ability to get full information about the agenda in advance and pick what sessions they would like to watch so they could tune in at their convenience.
It was a wonderfully engaging experience: viewers could ask questions ‘on air‘ and see their questions appear on the screen during the live session.  Networking tools allowed them to meet fellow attendees as well as the Kaltura team, opting-in to share their contact information to follow up after the summit.
Kaltura Connect Education Virtual Summit 2016 screen cap
Everyone had a chance to experience Kaltura’s virtual summit platform, leveraging the Kaltura Webcasting solution, and interactive video player. And the best part is that leads were automatically pushed into our marketing automation platform for follow up.
Kaltura Connect Education Virtual Summit had thousands of people registered from all over the world. We expect a few more thousands to register to our upcoming enterprise and media summits in June.
But one of the other advantages of running a virtual event is that it is not limited to a specific date and time. Even though the event was broadcasted live on a given date, the content is available on VOD after the show so that viewers from other time zones can watch it at their convenience and share it with their colleagues, people with schedule conflicts can still tune in later, and all the content continues to live on well after the event. Furthermore, the organizers can easily slice and dice and edit the content and use it in future campaigns, such as customer case studies, so you can continue to generate leads leveraging the amazing content from the event. For example, check out the VOD from Kaltura Connect Education Virtual Summit.
With a very limited budget we managed to reach thousands of people, in a multiple of geographies and time zones.
Surprisingly, not many companies are doing this yet.  Now is the time to get that competitive edge and create your own virtual event. How many people do you think you can reach?

Interested in seeing this in action? Register for our upcoming Enterprise (June 16) and OTT+Monetization (June 23) Virtual Summits.

 

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