Beyond technology: 4 key aspects to consider when going digital

Moving a conference from face-to-face to digital is easier said than done. Beyond technology, here are 4 key aspects associations should keep in mind when venturing in the digital space.

There is a myriad of tools, tips and tricks in the marketplace to create a conference platform online, and profits for those parties promising a quick fix. Overwhelming indeed. And difficult to avoid when so many conversations on the topic of digital conferences get stuck in technical details. But it’s not just about technology. Just like a congress is not only about the venue where it’s held, a virtual meeting is not just about the technology tools you use. Here are 4 key aspects that associations have to consider when ideating and designing a digital conference.

1. Ensure a high attention span

“Oh look, a funny cat video!”  Attention span. The number one concern for associations organising digital conferences. “Will my audience stay attentive?” A recent internal poll at MCI confirmed this is a worry for many clients. And so, they hesitate before going virtual. But, if done right, holding a digital conference can be a very powerful solution. If done right.

2. Leverage data touchpoints

Proper data management strategies will allow you to go further and learn more about which messages resonate with whom. If the registration process is well-designed, you can get very specific information about every single participant and learn more about every individual than you would get out of a live conference. If you make the presentations interactive, you can immediately cross-check registration data with the reactions of the audience, something which is very hard to do at a live meeting.

3. Apply design-thinking

As with a face-to-face conference, some basic rules apply – knowing your audience, having good content, making sure the logistics work. But building, engaging and maintaining a community in an online environment requires new strategies, tactics and business models. To design the meeting, why not going back to basics and consider the reasons for your community to meet in the first place? Establishing the needs and preferences of your community drives that design, followed by the assessment of a fitting business model.

4. Provide value for all

Lots of strategic design is needed, and it all starts with proper identification of goals for all parties involved. That means the association, the participants, and the sponsors. It all needs to connect, and everyone needs to get value for money. And yes, good content is essential. But that also goes for live conferences. Because if the subject is boring, if the speaker doesn’t engage, if the visuals are bad and if the moderator doesn’t manage a good interactive session, then people in the meeting room will also lose attention, maybe whip out that mobile phone, and start checking emails. And before you know it, you will hear someone mumble “Oh look, a funny cat video…”

Are you an association looking for an alternative for your in-person conference? Get in touch with us to explore your digital possibilities.