I used to be sceptical about virtual meetings for businesses. My perception of business meetings was that they should be conducted face-to-face, which showed sincerity – which is especially crucial in a B2B environment where building trust among business contacts is fundamental for all business relationships.
The rules of the game have since changed when countries started closing their borders, which drove businesses and citizens into isolation to contain the spread of the disease. This unprecedented situation forced everyone into using various digital platforms to communicate. This pushed digitalization into acceleration – what used to be a complicated medium has now become the new normal. With most of the workforce telecommuting, businesses had to find new ways to conduct meetings.
The sustainability of these virtual meetings remains uncertain.
In my opinion, this could be the way forward for the future of business meetings. Here is why:
1. Virtual events and meetings cost less
What used to be considering factors have now been eliminated – we do not need to fret over things like location and venue availability. We could thus end up with substantial cost savings as logistics are no longer a concern.
2. Being able to invest in better content
The savings from virtual events can go into creating high-quality content. Top-notch speakers are more accessible as they will not be required to commit as much time as before due to travelling. Instead, they can log in from the comfort of their home country without worrying about jetlag.
3. Increased frequency of higher quality, industry insights
As virtual meetings require shorter preparation time, companies can now organize meetings – trade shows, conferences, or product launches, that usually take at least half a year to plan – more frequently. Instead of one meeting that encompasses everything, companies can provide constant updates on industry insights, or ways to apply their service in several, short meetings instead.
This way, information will not be outdated by the time the event rolls about – especially with the pandemic, where change is the only constant. Clients can also use this information to their advantage to navigate the uncertainties of the everchanging business climate with new strategies.
4. Expanded outreach
With virtual meetings, new markets that were out of reach before are now accessible. Online meetings have no boundaries as long as the target audience has a decent internet connection.
These concepts are still in the infancy stage. There have been questions raised on the possible ROI and efficacy of such meetings. Although we do not have an answer, companies have similarly spent large sums of money on other ventures such as conferences or meetings. Like any other marketing tool, you will not be able to know for sure if it will – the only certainty will be constant innovation to stay ahead of the competition.
Damian Koh is a Project Director who has worked for ten years in the events industry. He has vast experience working with key industries during his tenure such as financial services, pharmaceutical, medical and hospitality.