X-events, physical events that leverage the potential of new media communication technologies to extend their communication potential over time, remain one of the hottest topics relevant to conferencing and collaboration providers.
Photo credit: Nelson Syozi
The convergence of RSS, wikis, blogs, podcasts, discussion forums, newsletters and mailing lists with real-time communication and collaboration technologies is a certainty.
Traditional events are going to transform themselves into ongoing conversations streams, as popular and successful as the topics and people participating and moderating them, and as credible and authoritative as the time they are able to thrive online.
X-events are going to be outstandingly capable marketing, branding, sponsorship and premium advertising channels, giving extended life to any physical event while hugely increasing its potential audience and profit potential.
Here are some of the very apparent benefits that X-events can bring to any company managing, organizing or designing the delivery of live events like conferences and seminars:
a) Extension of communication reach. As a very significantly larger number people can attend, participate, subscribe, listen and attend asynchronously to extended events so does the reach for your message, brand, sponsorship, or product.
b) Expansion of marketing, awareness and promotional channels. All of the extended channels utilized to transform traditional events into ongoing parallel conversation channels offer huge opportunities for highly targeted, contextual, non-intrusive marketing opportunities, especially in the form of sponsorships and sell-side advertising options.
c) Creation of "vertical-communities" by leveraging extended events natural aggregation components and delivering them to X-events participants in a personalized, easy-to-use, self-contained branded media aggregation application.
d) Participatory design and delivery. Yes, grassroots X-event design is here. Who's going to grab it first? Participants can now become co-creators, contributors, editors, individual re-sellers and publishing houses for any event. If only we allowed them to! Who is to say that events need to designed by a non-transparently elected group of vested-interests representatives? Couldn't emancipated participants do a better job of it? Sure they could. Who better then them knows what they will want to buy, listen and attend to? Why take the risk of discovering all this at event time?
e) Great ROI, expanded profit, extended sales marketplace. X-events offer great opportunities to hugely increase event profit-margins by extending marketing and sales opportunities, without a need for expensive physical space and hugely expensive event-related logistical costs. The new X-event is grounded on an extended communication framework not on additional costs for physical infrastructures. The X-event enables major cost-savings matched by the potential for much higher quality output when the organizing team is able to fully realize the direct involvement of participants in the design and delivery of the X-event.
What instead needs to be watched out for when thinking about stepping into the fascinating X-event arena is:
1. Having a talented X-event communication strategist. Someone who can aptly envision, plan and coordinate the unfolding of the X-event as an integrated whole.
2. Employing a skilled and well staffed editorial team. Creating ongoing discussion topics, news radars, webcasts, interviews and podcasts, blogs, wikis and live chats requires skilled individuals who live and breathe the online world.
3. Selecting tools and technologies that are accessible to everyone. Having communication, presentation and collaboration tools that are both easy-to-use and accessible by all types of Internet users is a critical, essential requirement.
4. A million other things you can start suggesting here below.
Food for thought....ehm, sorry... for conversation!