On November 4th, The American Marketing Association hosted the virtual event Cracking the Code: Advanced Social Media Strategies, featuring presentations by six experts, as well as a panel of social media leaders. Today we discuss the success of the virtual nature of the event; in the next entry, we’ll review the topics and trends covered.
Cracking the Code was presented in an interactive virtual platform. The interface, which we found to be quite user-friendly, was designed to resemble a conference hall, with hyperlinked images of various “rooms” leading to different sections of the conference hall. You could, for example, click your way into an auditorium where the speakers presented, a chatroom lounge for networking, or an exhibit hall with booths set up by sponsors. In the media center, attendees could download information and peruse collateral. There was even a prize center where attendees could win prizes.
We noted several advantages to the virtual platform, including the following:
- The online format saved valuable time and resources, with no travel necessary.
- Attendees had the increased ability to maintain focus in an all-day, 8-hour event – staying engaged was much easier from the comfort of home or office.
- The entirety of reference material was available online. The virtual platform allowed the event to go fully paperless, eliminating the many pamphlets and packets that usually accompany a face-to-face event of this nature.
- The networking lounge was very convenient: attendees had the option of Group chat, where they could easily reference and learn from others’ questions, or One-on-One chat.
One limitation was the degree of tech-savvy required of the attendees, presenters, and moderators. A delay or interruption in feed could disrupt the presentation for viewers. Also, some of the finer points of networking were lost when translated into an online setting. But overall, AMA’s Cracking the Code was an innovative technological update to the traditional conference format. There were pros and cons to the event being completely online, but the limitations were minimal. Being free and virtual, the information the presenters had to offer was available and accessible to anyone with an Internet connection, much like the social media that was the theme of the conference.
The lectures are currently available on demand on The American Marketing Association’s website.