Whilst we have managed to pivot from in-person to virtual events very successfully, one common challenge that we have had to overcome is the belief that it is hard to stimulate networking and connection opportunities in a virtual environment.
Whilst nothing beats face-to-face interaction, at Outsourced Events we have challenged this belief and are determined to not only bring people together, but to do it in a way that is both fun and engaging with the ultimate goal of reinforcing the positive brand experience and creating lasting connections.
In July, our client PagerDuty asked us to assist them in hosting an account-based marketing event; creating an event that could help them engage with their customers virtually and remain connected. The event was to be relaxed and informal and was not intended to replace any pre-existing live events, but to help further build or maintain their personal relationships with their customers. To keep it light-hearted, we opted for a wine tasting. Due to PagerDuty’s existing license and the smaller size of the event (10-20 people) then we opted to use Zoom. A box for the evening was delivered to key customers in advance, including the wines for the tasting and a selection of complimentary nibbles. The event itself was hosted by one of our experienced and entertaining sommelier partners who chose wines based on PagerDuty’s company values, so the guests not only had fantastic wines to taste, but also learnt more about the company at its core. These company related wines then provided excellent discussion points for the sales team, enabling them to share a bit about the company and its ethos whilst interacting and having fun with their customers.
What was the customer and client response? The event received extremely positive feedback from both PagerDuty and the customers, and the sales team found it an excellent format to engage with clients virtually. “Outsourced Events has been an extension of the PagerDuty marketing team for several years. They always come armed with buckets of great ideas, insanely good attention to detail, and are just the easiest people in the world to work with. They have pivoted wonderfully to managing virtual events, and I would recommend them in a heartbeat – especially for virtual wine tastings, which have gone down an absolute storm with our customers.”
What does the future look like for these networking events? Following the success of the first event, PagerDuty has decided to host two further Christmas themed events with our support.
We believe there is scope for account-based marketing events to be a regular calendar occurrence for all our clients, in order to drive customer engagement throughout the year at a time when face-to-face interaction is limited and very much missed. They are also a great way for event sponsors to network with prospects at larger virtual tradeshows.
Our top tips:
- Keep groups small, maybe 12-15; this encourages people to speak up within the group.
- Consider your content versus wine (tasting item) ratio; we found that a 25/75 ratio worked well.
- If appropriate, encourage delegates to have other household members join the event.
- Remember the boxes of goodies; you can add some nibbles or useful giveaways.
- Listen carefully and you will learn a lot about wine and will be able to demonstrate your knowledge during your next dinner party!
If you are interested in hosting a tasting or networking event, or need support on any upcoming events, whatever the format, please do not hesitate to get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org