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Top Five Q&As From Monetizing Virtual Events Webinar


ARLINGTON, Va. — On May 14, the third edition of Event Virtualization Summit drew more than 3,000 event industry professionals who tuned in for the one hour and 20-minute online session to learn more about how to monetize virtual events.

InGo CEO Michael Barnett put together the event, which featured a panel of industry executives, including: Jason Brown, CDO, Informa Markets; Baris Onay, CCO, Tarsus; Jonathan Rivers, CTO, Fortune; RD Whitney, CEO, Validation Institute and Scott Varho, SVP, 3Pillar Global.

Moderated by Trade Show Executive’s Editor-at-Large Danica Tormohlen, the summit featured pre-recorded interviews with the panelists, followed by a live Q&A with the virtual audience. TSE identified five of the most helpful Q&As.

What new revenue opportunities have you created?
Think scale and multiple touch points. “Digital gives us a much broader reach,” said Rivers, who produces 25 invite-only annual conferences with ticket or membership prices ranging from $8,000 to $20,000 per year. “In person, we are limited in size, but online we can reach thousands or tens of thousands. Virtual events allow us to add more touch points. We can now turn a three-day event into 10 to 20 interactions per year, which creates more room for sponsorships.” For the upcoming FORTUNE Brainstorm Health that has moved to virtual on July 7-8, Rivers added four invitation-only pre-event dinners that will include conference co-chairs, speakers, industry leaders and visionaries.

What’s your model in terms of monetization?
The online training and certification model. “We sell ours for $1,195 per seat (annually),” said Whitney, whose company validates the marketing claims of companies for buyers of healthcare benefits. “Once you’ve built one, that’s the sum cost. The rest are the very little cost per transaction and maybe some commission. The margins are in the 90s.”

What advice do you have for other organizers on monetizing virtual events?
Focus on the quality of the audience. “If you’ve not already got demographic information on your audience, do that. Every time you put together an online event or registration, don’t just ask for name, company, job title and location. Get more information. By that, we mean …. How much money does your audience have to spend? Where are they in the buying cycle? What authority do they have? Are they just browsing and researching or are they ready to buy? If you can answer those four key questions and give them back to your exhibitors, you’ll be in a fine place,” said Brown, whose company, Informa, produces more than 550 international B2B events.

What replaces the personal connections that you make in-person?
Create a rich digital experience. “We know that it’s possible, but it requires a sustained focus to pull it off,” said Varho, whose company works with Fortune to create digital solutions. “Like conferences, we know that content attracts attendees, but community keeps them there. Feed attendees the experiences that meet them where they are.”

What’s your approach to monetizing virtual events?
Create a digital extension of live event. “Our No. 1 priority is to build around the physical event, rather than a standalone (virtual) event, so that when we are ready to meet again live, we can tap audiences who might be able to be there physically. We want to couple these two elements and create an offering, which is both online and live. We don’t complicate the sales process too much for our clients. We want to use as digital as a catalyst to augment live shows,” said Onay, whose company, Tarsus, produces 180 B2B events for numerous verticals, including aviation, medical, labels, travel and housewares.

View the summit at: 

Related. Pivoting to Non-Show Revenue Streams in TSE’s May Issue

Reach Michael Barnett at (973) 479-0452 or

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