The COVID-19 pandemic took a sledgehammer to your capital markets events schedule. It used to be a program of face-to-face conferences and roadshows, with a few outlying digital webcasts to round out your events. But once the lockdown shuttered office spaces and conference centers, you had to adopt a fully digital experience to reach investors, analysts, and the media.
Another year between you and the start of the pandemic puts those gloomy days in perspective. Far from 2020’s lockdowns and social distancing, the world has started to open up again. It’s now possible to host in-person events.
Some keen enterprises have embraced this option with enthusiasm, just like some offices have dropped work-from-home policies to welcome employees back into the office full-time. However, these companies are outnumbered by a sensible cohort of corporations that opt for hybrid capital markets events.
What Are Hybrid Investor Conferences?
Hybrid investor conferences straddle the line between fully in-person and entirely digital capital markets events.
Like traditional in-person events, the hybrid option involves hosting your conference in a physical meeting place. Here, your guests take a seat in a conference room to watch keynotes or panels and organize one-on-ones as usual.
The only difference is that you also have the appropriate webcasting tech setup to broadcast these moments to virtual attendees who join from their laptops or mobile phones. These digital guests can participate just like their in-person counterparts by interacting with virtual Q&A sessions, firesides, and one-on-one meetings.
What Are the Benefits of Hybrid Investor Conferences?
Hybrid capital markets events offer the best of both in-person and virtual events. In combining them with the help of an investor relations firm like Q4, you can capitalize on a smoother event with greater outreach and analytics.
You can’t please everyone when you commit to one platform — whether it’s in-person or virtual. Roughly half of investors prefer in-person events, but the other half would rather join in from the safety of their computer screens. By offering both avenues, you can appease both sides without disappointing anyone.
This goes for your own team, too. If you were to poll the office to see who wants to go back to in-person events, the results might surprise you. Research shows less than half of IROs rate virtual events positively.
Event accessibility is a hot-button issue in the capital markets landscape. Unfortunately, not all of your investors are well enough to travel, your rented meeting space may not cater to their accessibility needs, and some attendees may have trouble seeing your presentation.
Having a virtual option available removes these obstacles for investors who worry their disabilities may not be accommodated in person. Leading webcasting technology easily integrates accessibility tools so that they navigate your content better.
Ultimately, an accessible event with in-person and virtual options will expand your guest list. A digital option allows people who wouldn’t ordinarily travel to your event due to time or budgetary constraints.
While these people may not be present at your in-person conferences, they may still hold considerable sway in your stocks. Broadening your reach like this introduces new perspectives and voices, which can help you create a more rounded IR strategy.
4. ESG Optics
There’s no doubt business travel is bad for the environment. A single flight produces more CO2 than the average person generates in a full year.
If your IRO and C-Suite teams travel multiple times in a year, your enterprise produces a lot of greenhouse gasses. You also have to consider how much CO2 emissions your guests produce when they have no other option but to travel to your location.
By offering a virtual experience, you can cut down on how many people must travel to meet under one roof, thereby lessening your impact on the environment.
Perhaps the biggest advantage to hosting hybrid events is all the data you can collect online. The latest IR technology delivers vital post-event analytics about how your digital guests interacted with your content. You can integrate these engagement analytics into your broader IR platform to strengthen communications and targeting.
How to Maximize the Back End of Your Virtual Events
The case against hybrid capital market events usually boils down to technology. Bad, outdated webcasting tools can stand in the way of an effective presentation. Dealing with glitches adds to your burden on the big day. This stressful experience may distract you from performing at your best, and worst yet, it can make a bad impression with your audience.
Your team doesn’t have time to deal with the burden of bad tech when you’re juggling a hybrid event. That’s why it’s important you upgrade your webcasting tools before you organize any further.
Webcasting tools have come a long way since before the pandemic. Now they come with IR experts who provide premium event management, which includes end-to-end support to help you organize, manage, and execute a flawless digital experience. You can trust these service providers to produce seamless presentations with all the features you expect:
- Ability to organize sessions, keynotes, and panels across multiple tracks and days.
- Branded registration and lobby experience.
- Day-of support for live and on-demand presentations.
- Full integration with enterprise-chosen video for one-on-one meetings.
- Personalized guest experience, including meeting availability.
- Pre-event planning and onboarding.
- Moderated Q&A and live chat support for attendees.
- Industry-standard cybersecurity.
Sophisticated IR Tools Make Hybrid Investor Conferences Possible
With the right tools, you can have full confidence that your virtual experience matches your brand’s standards. Compare IR partners to understand the options available to you, making sure they offer the experience and expertise you need in virtual events.
By upgrading your IR technology, you can host a modern and integrated conference that mirrors the quality and value of your in-person event.
Keep this in mind if you’re debating whether you should give up virtual capital markets events now. While you might feel tempted to go back to the way things were pre-pandemic, hybrid conferences are the new normal. A hybrid event appeals to the greatest number of guests at the same time it delivers improved ESG optics and greater insights into investor attitudes and behaviors.