This article was written (well, ghostwritten by me in collaboration with Dave Lutz) for Dave’s People & Processes column in PCMA’s April edition of Convene.
Every association is faced with a choice: Find ways to capitalize on disruptive technologies — which enable hybrid and virtual meetings — or ignore them at their own risk.
Many planners are concerned that 2-D and 3-D meeting environments or hybrid meetings do not fit their business model and will jeopardize traditional face-to-face events. But most know the rules are changing. Few businesses are escaping the impact of the social Web and disruptive technologies. Those who understand it — and act on new insights to create new business models — are positioned to capture the real value, Value 2.0.
Here are four rules for consideration when seizing the new Value 2.0.
Rule 1: Grab and monetize “The Long Tail” of demand.
Most businesses follow the Pareto Principle, or 80-20 rule. They focus on the 20 percent of their customers who provide 80 percent of their profit or revenue. In his book The Long Tail, Chris Anderson provides examples of organizations (such as Amazon.com and Netflix) that monetize the long tail of demand beyond the 20 percent. Value 2.0 challenges the 80-20 rule with new technologies, such as live streaming and hybrid meetings, lowering the cost of accessing customers and offering a wider selection of goods and services.
Suggestion: View hybrid events and live streaming as a way to reach those who do not attend your face-to-face event — not as siphoning off those who already come.
Rule 2: Your customers value digital content. Do you?
Web 2.0 technologies have enabled new ways to create, share, and consume digital content. Is all of your meeting session content available online? Some organizations record on-site sessions and make them available via digital libraries, creating a revenue stream in a number of ways: with an annual all-you-can-access fee, a pay-per-view option, or offering archived sessions free to members while charging non-members.
Suggestion: Capture your live meeting content and make it available via digital libraries. Make all of your online content easy to consume and share. Provide ways for your customers to become personal curators of your content and create their own content around yours.
Rule 3: Take the plunge! Virtual 2-D and 3-D worlds are real business.
Born in the massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) arena, virtual 2-D and 3-D worlds are now one of the hottest areas of Value 2.0. High-tech companies such as Oracle and Cisco have had success conducting major virtual events on those platforms. A number of large production companies are beginning to improve messaging and engagement tactics in virtual and hybrid environments. As a result, the gap between learning outcomes gained through virtual versus face-to-face meetings is quickly shrinking.
Suggestion: Instead of seeing the virtual space as a threat to face-to-face meetings, think of it as the killer app, extending your reach for meetings, education, and training. Creating opportunities for attendees to connect virtually before and/or after the in-person event is another way for both to co-exist.
Rule 4: Embrace your customers.
Today’s Web 2.0 technologies provide a way for you to truly connect with each of your customers in a personal way. Associations need to move beyond community to connections and build real loyalty and value. Social technologies, live streaming, and hybrid meetings lower the relationship barriers and accelerate connections.
Suggestion: In the past, you’ve only truly known your conference and meetings attendees. Now you can nurture and grow even more relationships online. Using social technologies to create intimacy with current customers and let them connect with others to grow your community is truly Value 2.0.
Take Away: Your Move
Meeting professionals have an opportunity to capitalize on emerging market opportunities, create new business models and revenue streams, and grow market share. Now is the time for associations to leverage disruptive technology and secure first-mover advantages with their meetings and events.
On_the_Web: Learn more about business model innovation at Mark W. Johnson’s blog.
This post was reprinted with permission of Convene, the magazine of the Professional Convention Management Association. © 2010 www.pcma.org
Do you view virtual and hybrid meeting tech as disruptive? What other disrupters do you see in the meetings, events and association industrries? How do you plan to use disruptive innovation to your advantage?