Planning A Virtual Event This Year? Here’s What Your Marketing Team Should Look Like

While the world adapts to a more virtual lifestyle at home, businesses have been making hard decisions around highly-anticipated events, especially annual conferences and roadshows.

Instead of canceling or postponing these events, many businesses are choosing to hold the events virtually. Companies like Salesforce and HubSpot, as well as Crawford Group clients Adobe and Cisco, have begun to migrate their live event strategy to a fully-virtual environment, and innovation has followed.

New tools, apps, and entire platforms have emerged due to the skyrocketing demand for online events. As in any other significant innovation period, there is now a steep learning curve for marketing managers and event planners trying to organize a large virtual event.

In our experience, the best way to skip this learning curve is to know what event team members should be leading the charge for your virtual event. Team roles have changed from the traditional team roles for an in-person event that we were used to just a year ago.

Your virtual event team should structure itself around your virtual event priorities.

Typically, when someone buys a ticket for an in-person event, you can count on a high attendance rate. In a virtual environment, however, the priorities shift from ticket sales to registration retention. In response to this, your team structure should reflect these updated priorities.

Depending on the type of virtual event you are hosting, you will need to structure your team with specific roles. To help you plan for the right structure, we’ve provided you with a guide below, highlighting the critical functions needed for different types of virtual events:

Crawford Group Blog Post Table

Structuring Your Core Virtual Event Marketing Team

There are some critical roles necessary to carry out any virtual event: the Marketing Manager, Copywriter, Graphic Designer, and Technical Producer. We’ll take a look at each role below in detail and provide recommendations on finding and hiring people to fill these roles in your team.

Marketing Manager

Required For: Virtual Roundtables, Single Webinars, Webinar Series, and Virtual Conferences

The Marketing Manager on your team serves as the central brain of the virtual event. They set the goals for the event and lead the rest of the event team. The Marketing Manager understands the moving parts of the project from top to bottom and, when necessary, can "talk shop" with any of the team members to help solve a problem.

Responsibilities:

  • Development of Goals, Objectives, and KPI's
  • Virtual event messaging & branding
  • Event marketing strategy
  • Conversion rate optimization

The Marketing Manager role is essential in any of the four main virtual event types outlined in the table above. In the case of smaller events such as Virtual Roundtables and Single Webinars, the Marketing Manager can work directly with the creative team (the Graphic Designer, Copywriter, and Technical Producer). With larger events such as Webinar Series and Virtual Conferences, a Project Manager coordinates the team’s heavier workload so the Marketing Manager can focus on their core responsibilities.

Copywriter

Required For: Virtual Roundtables, Single Webinars, Webinar Series, and Virtual Conferences

Your Copywriter provides the soul of your marketing material - the written word. When promoting either your internal or external virtual event, the written content and video scripts will have a considerable impact on the event's excitement and engagement. A talented Copywriter will be able to take the most compelling elements of your virtual event and communicate them clearly and on-brand to your audience.

Responsibilities:

  • Create written sales material
  • Write advertising and event promotion content
  • Create all virtual event communications and messaging
  • Writing scripts, session abstracts, and speaker biographies

When hiring a Copywriter, it’s essential to look at their past work. They should have experience in your industry, should have the ability to match your brand voice, and should have reliable references that speak to a high standard of work and on-time delivery of materials.

Graphic Designer

Required For: Virtual Roundtables, Single Webinars, Webinar Series, and Virtual Conferences

The Graphic Designer works directly with your Copywriter to create the web pages, promotions, session content, and virtual environment that underlie a large portion of the event marketing. Having a Designer that understands your brand's nuances and your visual aesthetic will save you, your Project Manager, and your Marketing Manager a lot of time.

Responsibilities

  • Create a visual aesthetic of the event
  • Design environment and content templates
  • Craft visually-compelling web pages and promotional materials

When hiring a Designer, as is the case with your Copywriter, you should complete a due-diligence process. Review their past work (known as their “portfolio”) and their references, paying close attention to on-time delivery, communication frequency, and ability to adapt to your brand’s visual appearance.

Technical Producer

Required For: Virtual Roundtables, Single Webinars, Webinar Series, and Virtual Conferences

The Technical Producer on your team will be responsible for assembling the technology platforms which will underlie your virtual event. From tracking performance to managing your technology platforms, the Technical Producer is an essential part of a virtual event marketing team. Their involvement in planning your virtual event will save time in choosing the right platform and avoid costly development delays. Their participation in the event's execution will ensure that it goes off without technical hiccups, glitches, or bugs.

Responsibilities:

  • Manage and integrate technical platforms
  • Design & monitor broadcasting system
  • Test for user experience & fix glitches
  • Oversee production of session recordings and video editing for live broadcasts

When hiring a Technical Producer, it’s vital to ensure that they are proficient in the technology platforms you are currently using. A great Technical Producer may have suggestions for new platforms you could be using. Still, they should be able to learn and administrate your technology quickly after joining your team rather than try to migrate your company to another platform with which they are more comfortable. 

Structuring Your Marketing Team For Specialized Virtual Events

Community Manager

Required For: Virtual Conferences

The Community Manager is responsible for managing communication with the attendees of your virtual event. Since larger events often consist of registration communities, such as app members or social media groups, this role is only needed when you are running a Virtual Conference or a larger Webinar Series. In the case of these larger events, it's essential to have an "emcee" of the event - a person that your attendees know by name and face. Your Community Manager will understand how to support your event with high-energy engagement with all of your registrants.

Responsibilities:

  • Customer support
  • Registration management
  • Community engagement
  • Publishing event information & updates

In almost all cases, a Community Manager should have extensive experience in customer service and public relations. They will be responsible for keeping the energy high before, during, and after your event. A high-quality Community Manager has a careful mix of excitement for customer support and a thorough understanding of the behind-the-scenes planning process for a large virtual event.

Event Planner

Required For: Virtual Conferences & Virtual Roundtables

An Event Planner is highly-experienced in organizing and carrying out large or complex events. In the case of virtual events, they are a critical role to have in Virtual Conferences and Virtual Roundtables. 

Responsibilities:

  • Plan & manage virtual event logistics
  • Add personal touchpoints to Virtual Roundtable attendees
  • Assist Project Manager with marketing team task management

Virtual Roundtables often require a high-touch atmosphere, particularly when compared to a Webinar or Webinar Series. In these kinds of virtual events, the Event Planner can focus individually on the attendees, make necessary adjustments to schedules, and address essential details that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Event Planners are a critical piece of a Virtual Conference marketing team. In the case of these larger events, the Event Planner can support the Marketing Manager with highly detail-oriented elements of the event itself, including sponsor management, staying on schedule, and ensuring that conference sessions are scheduled and executed correctly.

Project Manager

Required For: Webinar Series & Virtual Conferences

Your Project Manager is responsible for managing complex projects, including Webinar Series and Virtual Conferences. They should have experience managing large virtual events in the past. Once your Project Manager is in place, you'll find that communication is effortless, and tasks get done on time more consistently.

Responsibilities:

  • Scope & assign deliverables
  • Manage deadlines and due dates
  • Quality assurance

High-quality Project Managers perform at their best when given a clear strategy and set of expectations from the Marketing Manager. Once the virtual event plan is in place, they can efficiently delegate tasks to the rest of the team and ensure important deliverables are getting completed on time and to a high standard.

When should I start building my virtual event marketing team?

Depending on the type of virtual event you're hosting, you should start building your marketing team between six and twelve months ahead of time. The most significant factor that affects your planning horizon is your level of attendance.

A highly-attended virtual event such as a Virtual Conference should be planned at least six months in advance (some ultra-large events are planned even before that point), which means you’ll need to have your team in place by that point. A low-attended event under 1,000 registrants can be planned in under six months without a problem.

The question to first ask yourself is: how many people do I expect to attend?

When you've answered that, a lot of other questions are responded to more easily:

  • How much community management is necessary?
  • Do we need to advertise, or can we promote to our email list?
  • What will we charge (if anything)?

Feel free to use our role descriptions above as a guide to whether or not you will need a specific role for your virtual event marketing team. 

What is the first step to building my virtual event marketing team?

There are several options for building a marketing team, starting with Do-It-Yourself recruitment through job sites and LinkedIn. These recruitment avenues can lead to high-quality candidates, although this type of recruiting may take more time than necessary to find qualified candidates and conduct interviews.

In our experience, you can find the best candidates without the added recruitment headache by sharing your virtual event plans with one of Crawford Group's experienced Account Directors. Every day, they work with recruiters who are actively finding experienced professionals who are a perfect fit for your organization and your virtual event goals.

Click here to explore Crawford Group's Virtual Events services.

We hope that as you move forward, you find that virtual events become a competitive advantage for your business. With the right team behind you, your virtual event will be a huge success and set a standard for years to come.

Talent, Events

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