We speak to Julius about the future of hybrid and virtual events, and how this format of marketing has accelerated since the beginning of the pandemic.
Julius Solaris is an event industry expert with focus on event technology, hybrid, virtual & onsite events. He is currently VP of Marketing Strategy, Events at Hopin, the fastest growing European company of all times.
Previously he has been the founder and editor in chief of EventMB. Started in 2007, EventMB is the number one online platform for event professionals. EventMB was acquired in 2019 by Skift, the largest and most influential travel media company worldwide.
In 2017, he also sold Showthemes.com, an event technology company.
Julius has been named one of the most influential individuals in the meetings industry by many magazines and media for the past 10 years. in 2020, his online events have been attended by over 60,000 event professionals.
More about Julius: https://www.linkedin.com/in/juliussolaris/
More about Hopin: https://hopin.com/
More about The Next CMO podcast: https://www.plannuh.com/the-next-cmo-podcast/
More about Plannuh: https://www.plannuh.com
Produced by Podforte.
Kelsey: [00:00:00] Well, thank you so much for joining us today, Julius. We're super excited to have you on the next emo podcast. You're our first guest of the new year would love to learn a little bit more about you and what you do at home.
Julius: Thank you so much for having me very excited to be your first guest of the year. And yeah, I, I love events. Events are my life. I started the. Quite young hand, I've been traditionally media. I founded a company called , which I sold in 2019. I've been an editor. I've done a lot of research on the use of technology and events since early days, especially to use of social media and believe it or not my top trends that I would write every year of four that I wrote in 2019 for 2020 was virtual events.
We've without knowing obviously what would have happened in 2020. I I've been a fan of virtual events and the use of technology to extend the reach of events forever. And I [00:01:00] guess I made the jump has a lot of people say it to the dark side, always is the tax side. So I moved from media to attack, which is actually something that is happening quite a lot in the event industry these days.
And now I joined hop in three months ago fastest growing company in Europe of all time. So very exciting environment you know, we're, we're very excited to bring events closer to everybody and yeah, that's our mission.
Peter: That's great. Actually, you couldn't, you, you might say you didn't take the jump, but you took the whole. To hop in, right? Isn't that the way that it should be?
Julius: I did. And yeah, that's it.
Peter: Absolutely. And in Hoppin has been an incredible story that we've all been following in. The growth obviously has been fueled by the pandemic.
But obviously as you were saying and, and maybe you were precious, but at the same time, I think you were probably reporting out what was going on in the industry. I think there was going to be a massive change. [00:02:00] Going on. Anyway, when it came to events, it felt like it was ready for disruption. Do you, do you think that's where we were, where we're at this point where we were going to see this major push towards remote and virtual anyway, regardless of the pandemic.
Julius: Listen, I've been talking about it. You use of technology and events for 15 years. So literally from where I was talking by myself and nobody was listening because, you know, it's the most countering to. Type of environment. You don't join events because you like technology, you join events because you like people and the offline word, but like with time and with with the re with the rise of experiences we've noted that a lot of those companies that rely on events, whether it's a marketing tool or it's their core product they, they, they need.
And you can't scale without technology these days, whether it's the backend operationally or it's the front-end in terms of reaching out to more people. Therefore we've seen the evolution of these attacking events. We've seen new roles coming [00:03:00] up, such as the event, technologist to someone who's in between a V and the production level that understands the use of technology.
Obviously nobody could anticipate what happened in 2020 at that point. In the market was incredible on the user side and on the tech side as well. I like to say that we've seen more progress in terms of the development development of technology tools in the past 20 months than in the past 20 years.
And I believe that's the case with, with the way platform have evolved. It's incredible. The speed, but also the adoption, obviously that was driven by the adoption from hopping was founded in 2019 in the summer of 2019. So it is obviously there's a big component of the pandemic played in that, but then again, like there's a number of tools that do that.
So there's gotta be something special about it in the way our hopping was conceived that made it incredibly.
Kelsey: I think it would be really beneficial cause I know we [00:04:00] talk a few people talk about this pretty often of, you know, hybrid versus virtual events. Can you describe to our audience about what that difference is?
Julius: So had hop in, we try to be as inclusive as possible with the definitions, because what we've seen in the past year and a half or so is that there's never been such a, a fluid definition of what events. To different people. We used to think of events as like, you know, venue, people are showing up in person, maybe some form of live streaming of sorts.
And that was the. These days we've seen like the most incredible creative definition of events we've ever seen in terms of the use of tools like hopping, but also stream yard in terms of live streaming, which is part of the company or prerecorded video, and a combination of all these elements to create these immersive experiences regardless of where you are.
So, but it's important to make. There are some differences on. Virtual events. We like to think about those where they're, they're [00:05:00] purely happening online. So therefore the audiences and the performers are meeting online. There's like we're doing right now on video. This could be a mini, virtual events that we're having right now, even if it's like postpone.
So there's not necessarily regulations and rules in terms of when it needs to have. But it's happening online, a hybrid event is where there's a component of online and the component of offline. One important difference though, that we're trying to be as inclusive as possible in this definition, you do not necessarily need to happen at the same time.
So that's a, that's a different way of looking at a hybrid events. So we like to think of a hybrid events. We're having an event online or offline is being streamed online. The two audiences are interacting in some way. Yes. I mean, that could be the case, but it could also be the case that we're having an events offline where recording it live, streaming it in a community later in a platform later, a week later, two weeks [00:06:00] later.
And the interaction there with speakers may be joining live there. So it's a very fluid concept, but we like to think about offline and online.
Kelsey: That's a great great definition and very inclusive in terms of what those two differences are. I guess coming from HubSpot, I was a former Hubspotter. I know very well about inbound, right? And in 2020, they had to make that massive change to make inbound interactive, you know, 20,000 people attend this event.
Talk to us a little bit about what that interaction looks like and also how to gain that proper off.
Julius: Absolutely you know engagement you know, interaction as a subset of engagement. We like to think of engagement as the the sort of overarching concept that drives all events in general. And the biggest problem that event planners have at traditionally before the pandemic and after the pandemic.
So it's not a problem that started. Zoom or you know, platforms in general, online of virtual meetings platforms. The problem with engagement was well before the [00:07:00] pandemic, we experienced it. You know, when, whenever we were at a conference looking at a 10 point font presentation sales pitch, we're like, Aw, please kill me.
Now I can, I can deal with this. Right? So a low engagement levels where traditionally the issue. And that seems to keep on going with virtual events. So not a problem with the, with the medium at all. Definitely a problem with the design of events and how we think about our events.
Julius: There is a role.
The platforms do play into the engagement problem, right? And I think this is my theory. I have to validate it with our CEO, but this is my theory that most of the success that hopping hat early days was because we, the, the, the way the product was conceived was really thinking about engagement piece.
Quite a lot. One of the features that I really love about the platform is this. Ability to network and like be randomly assigned to someone like almost like a roulette type of system to [00:08:00] network with someone. And that mimics the, what we call the liminality of events, right. At what, what everybody misses about events is not sitting in a room in a dark room for an hour and a half listening to someone.
What we miss is that conversation that is happening at the coffee break, right. That serendipitous meeting. We can have right there and some platforms like hopping, but many others as well are achieving that by introducing like that unexpected twist in the platform. So therefore engagement is very well linked to that serendipitous encounter of something unexpected.
We have to be clever in the way we do it though.
Peter: So there are two interesting sides of this equation that you brought. Julius in this discussion. One is this very serendipitous part of the interaction that you have. But the other thing that you teased a little bit with the idea of talking about performers as, as part of the content and, and there has to be a piece of that.
[00:09:00] And, and I think the, the missing element in a lot of experiential. Marketing, whether it's a live event or a virtual or hybrid or whatever it is is, is the, the idea of creating something. That's a great experience and great experience requires creativity. It requires writing, it requires performing. It's all, it's all those things.
And do you find that it is a different kind of skill to, to write, to produce, to perform an event? In this kind of an environment versus more of a traditional physical world environment.
Julius: That's a fantastic question. Absolutely. Not in the sense that it's not something new that we haven't seen before. The easiest comparison that I make all the time is the. You know, you go to the stadium and watch the Superbowl. You're ready for a certain type of experience. Probably the most epic tailgating you're going to do in your [00:10:00] life, as well as the most incredible in person show.
You will see, but you watch the super bowl on TV, completely different experience. It doesn't have to be the same yet. Still valuable meeting with family and friends. I mean, fun having a few drinks. Watching the ads watching the replays completely different experience, they're both equally viable. So the lack of what we've seen, especially at the beginning of the pandemic, we've seen it evolving right now in terms of marketing professionals and event professionals getting better at it with time during this incredible crash course in the, in the space of few months has been the ability to. in person and experiences to online that doesn't work. So if you're trying to do the same thing is not going to. On the other end, we quickly came to the realization that what we should strive for is to really achieve that level of production that resembles more of our TV shows, especially with content is involved, right, where it's [00:11:00] engaging and interacting and fast, and the times are like, you know, completely different to the stage.
And I wanna introduce something extremely exciting is happening right now. To the stage where virtual events are almost changing the the rule of the playbook of in-person events, because we've seen now going back to in-person, that sessions are being redesigned in a shorter format. You never say it in a one hour keynote anymore, right?
It's 20 minutes, 30 minutes. You're going to move on to the next thing. And that's kind of the impact that virtual examine on in person as well in terms of the design. But aiming and striving to be as Stevie, like as possible. And once again, when we talk about advanced, it's very difficult because there's the 200 people event and there's the 200,000 people events.
So it's a completely different proposition and budgets and sets of tourism.
Kelsey: You brought up so many good points. And I actually, I read a post that you had done. Regarding your 7:00 AM meetings. And I know some of, [00:12:00] some of the listeners may fall out of their seat right now on the, on the idea of that. But you know, the short segments, the TV, like approach talk to us a little bit more about kind of how you keep that engagement and what those 7:00 AM meetings look like.
So people can bring it to their their event strategy.
Julius: Oh, my God. No, I'm so happy you bring that up because this is like one of my favorite topics. You know, when I joined hop in global company, all remote, we have no offices spread all over the world 40 plus countries. So there's, there needs to be a way to come together at some stage. I means lack is great, whatever.
We need to come together and like what better opportunity to use our platform to do that. Right. Walking the walk. And, and so as soon as I joined during my onboarding, I see, you know, all the fixed calendar invites that you see there. And on a Friday at 7:00 AM, you know, there's the all hands meeting and I'm like, oh my God, like what, what, what is going to happen to my life?
Be able to function at that time of the day. And all of a sudden I got sort of [00:13:00] sucked into this incredible experience that our internal events team has created for authors. It's just like something like I had FOMO during the holidays either. I really wanted to go back and watch like, what is happening?
Why are we not having that? Because it's kind of like a great way to wrap up the, the, whatever it's happening during the. But it's, it's a, it's a moment for everybody to come together. Yes. It's wildly entertaining and they're like, we have proper hosts and we have musics and we have competition and we have you know, it's so fast and like everybody moves super quickly and the CEO is always there.
It's always opening it. It's not. You know, he's to, to call for score, you know, and, and there's, there's always you know, something new, new competition of talent whatever a contest, there's always something happening. It's fast. It moves quickly. It gives you the information you need. It's digestible at the beginning.
There's music, we dance. We do crazy gifts in the chat. You know, there's there's always comments brought up online as [00:14:00] well, using streaming. So there's, there's a lot of participation. Everybody feels energized after that. There's no long presentations. Everybody from different teams is brought on board.
And you know, I simply love it. I mean, it's just quite kind of works. And then I'm every Friday morning at 7:00 AM. I'm like, let's go, let's make it. I'm can wait.
Peter: So Julius, we have to make this relatable for people. Cause I think you just scared the heck out of a bunch of people saying, oh my God, now we have to be like a you know, like a late night TV show production, kind of capable organization to have our team meetings every week. And it's interesting because I, I thought about the concept as you were describing that environment of.
A lot of people are saying now that tech companies have, are actually becoming media companies. I mean, you were saying you went from media in hopped in to hop in to the tech side, but the reality is tech companies are becoming media [00:15:00] companies largely because they, they need to produce high quality content at this level.
And it makes me think. About the skills that are required inside a marketing organization. Again, our audience, we've got a bunch of CMOs. How should they think about the kinds of skills they should be building in their teams to to create these kind of experiences of the future? Are there people in skills that don't exist in most companies that they should be thinking about hiring or training people for new capable?
Julius: That's that's an awesome question. I love to be challenged on that. I believe that first off we have to start with the realization. The realization is that things are changing and like they are, and we believe that at hopping, like we are embracing that a hundred percent right in this remote cultural type of shit.
Where we're projected into obviously virtual and connecting people online, wherever they are [00:16:00] being as inclusive as possible. So there's a strong buy-in from the top. And you can do any of this without that. I believe that, you know, if we're, if you're trying to kind of achieve that TV show type of feeling excitement type of feeling without top management, buy-in, it's going to be cheesy.
It's going to be crazy. Nobody's going to love it. And it's going to show very quickly on the other end, if everybody's solved to do things differently. The amazing thing is that you have the tools to do that. Just talking about hopping. I mean, to be honest, you can get hopping for free. You can get stream yard for free and you're sad.
That's the tools we use. We don't use anything else. You know that that's essentially, and that's the amazing thing. Like we have tools available today that we've been craving for in the past 10 years or so they were so expensive, so unavailable, but now you have them. So, but then it becomes a problem about the content, how you shape that.
So there's always talent in the company. I think. Off people that do an incredible job. We have some people on our marketing team, there are [00:17:00] natural performance. Like you can tell them about how they use slack, right? So you're, if you're able to spot those trends and those abilities, those skills in people, in terms of their communication patterns and the ability to express joy and excitement and that feeling of a team, I believe that exposing those people to the comp to the rest of the company is just going to make wanders feel.
And you know, try to also cut back on all the things that we say they're boring, but we keep on doing right. And that's, that's a problem. Like if you want to really embrace whatever's new, like let go of those presentations. 20 minutes of bullet points. Like we all know we're going to disconnect after two minutes.
We're remote. I have my phone, I have my computer here next to me. I'm just going to be distracted in a second. So don't assume that because you put mandatory in the calendar invite, I'm going to be, you're going to have, my attention is not going to.
Peter: Yeah. clearly, we're dealing with the the Tik TOK [00:18:00] generation, right? Where, where you, you have the attention span of a goldfish for, for a lot of people that, that, and, but it's still, I'm going to challenge you a little bit on this because. Not every company has people who have those kinds of skill and that kind of talent, that's special to be able to be engaging.
And it's, it's the reason why there are hundreds of millions of people on tick-tock, but a few thousand that take up the vast majority of the, of the content watched in, in any platform. So if you want to be a standard. In this capability, do you need to go hire a Charlie DeMello or do you need to go create your own internal capability to have really compelling content?
Do you need to go hire someone who's the Harvard Lampoon editor and recruit those people? So what are the, [00:19:00] what are the kinds of skills? If you want to be really remarkable in the future that you should be looking for?
Julius: I mean, you just said Peter companies are moving into becoming media companies, right? That's becoming the marketing. Almost the media is becoming the marketing. There's a reason why hop and hired, you know, an editor in chief right now as VP of marketing as well. Right. I come from a media bag. I've been doing virtual events for 60,000 event planners last year.
So we have a lot of experience in that sense. So maybe, maybe recruiting is changing. Maybe the, the set of skills that we're looking at in this remote world are slightly different. Maybe it's also about mining for those skills within our existing audience, a little bit more our existing team. And but yeah, I mean, we should look.
For that, should we call out to celebrities? Should we call out for guest speakers that are incredible you know, performers and known for that? Yes or no, because you know, a top [00:20:00] high-end speaker would show up and do their fin. That's it. And move on to the next event. So building those skills internally, I believe is the new internal communication sort of pathway.
I'm not internal comms expert, but I can tell you the impact of that for marketing, for sure. A change in the conversation it's needed right now. People are spot you like a hundred miles away. If you're. Sort of doing a campaign on Twitter, you know what I mean? Like you're, you're posting a link.
It feels cheesy. It doesn't feel real. So that level of connection, like everybody's like cut the BS and it's moved to what, what counts. And I guess if you can recruit with that in mind, things are going to get much easier.
Kelsey: So one thing I want to bring up is 60,000 attendees is pretty impressive. Just want to make sure our listeners heard that Peter and that may be our new goal for our webinars in the near future. There are, or events I should say, but one thing that's really difficult besides, you know, the attendees is actually measuring [00:21:00] the success of your events.
So talk to us about how you, you know, look at that ROI. Especially for these massive events that you're running on, both a hybrid and virtual scale.
Julius: Absolutely. There's there's, there's been a traditionally talk about ROI in events. Events have been the most untangible of tools in your marketing sort of strategy, usually a tool set. Everybody loves events, right? If you had gone like in 2019 and look at B2B marketing for. See what, like what's the top performing to what's the top most log tool events.
Why are you not sure? Like how do you measure an event? Right. And it's like a lot of high fives and like, oh, we loved that. It was a great event. Yeah. But I need a little bit more than that, right. To justify to my business. So traditionally the problem with in-person has been that what technology adds is a layer of tangibility to, in a very intense.
Matters. So technology has always [00:22:00] traditionally helped in-person and online to give you more data. Right. And being able to understand what's working with. Obviously in person a little bit more difficult, a little bit more complex because there's a lot of logistics in place, right. Especially if we talk about some of the technology, I'm going to get a little bit nerdy here, but things like you know, BLE and Bluetooth and like enabled beacons to track people, moving into specific areas.
So companies were moving towards that. Prepare dynamics is still happening. We have some of that technology with RFID in our own tool set as well for in person. So, you know, there's. A lot of movement, but you know, it's not as easy as in a virtual environment. All of a sudden, since March, 2020, then planners, all of a sudden are realizing things that they never knew about their events.
Like they never knew, like, did you have a sort of an idea that some things worked, but like you were relying to a feedback form sent like a week after the event. To those 5% [00:23:00] that we bought her to answer it. All of a sudden now everything is real time. You can know exactly who's going, where, what sessions are most popular.
So the amount of data available, 85% of our customers check the analytics of their events constantly. So that's, that's probably the biggest. Now we've seen an ROI and it's very easy for your audience where CMOs want to be CMOs or those that are practitioning in marketing to understand you know, that whenever we enter virtual environment, accountability starts.
So what success looks like for you is that the number of leads you're able to generate for your exhibitors is that the engagement you have with a specific session. But also I want to introduce a new a new dimension. Events have always been struggling with the fact that, you know, CES is happening here in Vegas next week comes, goes, that's it.
Hype is gone, right? And you do all this work. You have to reinvent the wheel every time. Now what's happening [00:24:00] with the with virtual event platforms is that it's creating a community and it's creating like a long lasting impact for your event that goes beyond. The two, three days of your conferences that actually what we like to call a hybrid event strategy, as opposed to a hybrid event.
So a combination of virtual in person, maybe concurrent, synchronous hybrid, if you want to do it at. But like different touch points for the year to maximize the ROI, because that opens up new avenue for all the marketers to introduce products into displacements, to introduce constant content within these community platforms that are hopping.
We're pretty much dedicated to that.
Peter: Well, it's, it's really interesting because one of the things that I was thinking about as we were prepping for this is the idea that there's a. level of investment that you need to make when you're creating an event, that's [00:25:00] especially a hybrid event. So a hybrid event, it's almost like you're doing.
Maybe not twice, but maybe once in a half. Right? You, you have, you go to your super bowl analogy, you you're going to have the on-site production people. And then you're going to have the TV production people, and it's different stuff. And you need to slice and dice and sort of manage those experiences.
But there are two factors that I think. Go back to Kelsey's point about the return on investment. There are two factors that I think more than make up for the incremental costs. So I'm selling for you here. So tell me if I'm wrong in a second. W what one is one is that, of course, you've got the.
Longevity of the content. You've got the ability to turn a tactic into a long-term campaign. You can merchandise the packaged content and use it over and over and over again, and even do things like build communities. The [00:26:00] other thing is that you get a dramatic increase in audience reach for the event.
So think about even a giant event like CES, where you might have hundreds of thousands of people show up in person. You can have millions of people participate for a session remotely by, by doing that. So those two factors seem to seem to really drive the, the economic decision around whether You extend your event from being just a physical or just a virtual to a true hybrid experience.
Is is that the right way to think about it, Julius?
Julius: got it? A hundred percent. I mean, my, my work here is done. I can move on. That's a that's perfect answer. Actually. I would have given that there's, there's a lot of components that if you thought about an in-person event, pre pandemic how would you keep your audience engaged for the year?
Social media? So social media keeps the attention high, but. One way form of communication. I mean, with comments and all of that, but is it as [00:27:00] participative as we want it to be? That's the thing with virtual events, without that an extra layer on top of social media. To create more intimate, close experiences for the year.
We at our own community, they're actually highly interactive where the community can chat. They can not work with each other. They can discover more about the products that our community as or the sponsors that wants to support their community. So there's, there's more layers than just that social media interaction that is very transactional these days.
I mean, as much as we like to think that we spend a lot of time on social. We're still like scrolling and scrolling and scrolling with you know, lesser amounts of attention. Therefore the new layer of virtual is adding much closer and that's why we, our model for the companies feel closer, much closer, a way of connecting to people.
And we nurture that community on a monthly basis on a weekly basis. And then that, that excitement. That [00:28:00] frustration. So let me tell you a little story and I'm going to call off myself when I joined when it started to talk about advanced in 2009 everybody was scared about the impact of social media on events and Twitter.
Specifically, everybody fired that Twitter would cannibalize events to the stage that you would just witness an event on Twitter. We didn't know what was going to happen, right. Instead of showing up to. But what happened was exactly the opposite. We noticed that the more interactions were happening on social media, the more formal was building and that frustration of connecting online asked to be relieved in some way offline as well.
Right. And that's the whole paradigm of, of virtual events. I believe the more you build that excitement and frustration in a airport. Within your community, the more people will want to come and meet in person to your premium in-person experience. Right. Which is not going to be for everybody for, for some time.
We know that it's not as easy, right? It's not going to be as frequent, [00:29:00] but it's going to be the culmination of that need to meet in person, look at the gaming communities, all the, all the event venues that are being built right now in Vegas are for the gaming communities. Like. Spear form right.
Made for gay men. And this is people that spend their lives online most of the time, but like they need the biggest venues because they want to meet.
Peter: Yeah, they got to get out of their mom's basement, I think is, is the trick. Yeah, it exactly. So, so tell me where, where you think three to five years out. Get your crystal ball. Where is this all going? Do you think the, the the experience world is going to be is gonna be similar to what we're doing today?
Or is it really going to be pushing the envelope even more?
Julius: So I believe we're still going through probably one or two years where we're still for the assessing. What's going on. To [00:30:00] be honest, there's going to be still some adjusting. To the situation has changed. Like everybody thought we were back to normal before all homies, army Cron said all my beer.
Right. So I think we're, we're kind of, you know, living day by day, month by month and this, the events world it's, it's incredible, to be honest, let me make a note here. So the resilience of people that are committed to impersonal. This is just unbelievable. I mean, I come from in person as much as I love technology.
I love to meet in person. That's my word, that's my people. And I'm just like incredibly in awe by, by, you know, the way they have to go from cancellations from constellations again and again. But like, aside from that, I feel that a lot of industries we're seeing that like media tech, they're like, why should I bother to travel all over the world to go somewhere for like a day?
For a meeting that can happen online. So this event could have been a virtual event, right? As this, [00:31:00] this, this meeting could have been an email kind of comparison there so that we're going to hear more of that. So, second, I think that sustainability is going to have an impact, right? So there's a lot of pressure to cut the waste and emissions generated by in person events.
So trade show industry, one of the. Waste or producing industries in a war. So be aware of that. It's, it's it's not a sustainable business, therefore virtual events that are direct, the answer to that, they're inclusive. I think that March, 2020 onwards has been the biggest advertisement with that to the event industry in general and events as a tool, everybody was able to access events, you have to pay in travel for.
So all of a sudden everything. Incredible value. Everybody's excited about that. So we can deny that level of inclusion anymore. I think people are going to say like, why are you excluding me all of a sudden, what was that? Was it a trick? So that's another point. And I also believe that at the end of the day, [00:32:00] we're going to value much more in person, I, as a result, I feel that those experiences that will happen in personally, Finally game-changing for us.
So a lot of fat is going to be trimmed in a sense that, that wishy-washy sort of Vinny type of events are going to go was right about time that they went to be honest because, you know, we couldn't deal with that. So yeah, I'm, I'm all for that. That's the change that we've been advocating for for years and it's finally happening.
And it's a, it's not an easy one, but it's an exciting. For sure. A lot of people have to reinvent themselves. Re-skilled themselves. It's a new tool. It's a new category available for all the CMOs are right there. You know, it's more complex, don't think, you know, virtual events. Cause even if you knew them like a year ago, completely different set of tools these days.
So keeping yourself informed on that.
Peter: So, what do you think about the analogy that you made at the beginning of the [00:33:00] conversation about the super bowl made me think about. How different that is in some ways for how virtual events work today. So virtual events today are not local parties. They're me sitting by myself in front of my computer.
It's a very isolated kind of experience. Do you think we're going to see more and more events that. are sort of a collection of groups of people so more connecting local events into a broader global event. And maybe having sort of tiers of participation because I, I still don't think I haven't seen a great experience created where I can have my super bowl watching party, where I have everyone together to it's all designed for a single user, looking at a single screen.
Do you see this ability to bring groups of people together, to maybe participate in discuss content in in, in a little salon that's part of a [00:34:00] spinoff of a GRA of a larger event as an example.
Julius: That's a fantastic question. And it's something that a lot of planners themselves, like kind of overlooked. So. Congratulations for the level of insight on this, because it's a very deep, and I love that few things to consider here as much as I love in person. And I'm dedicated to it. The trend is not towards in-person.
The trend is towards the matter of hers, the technology coming together and, you know, give us a break. We started like a year and a half ago, right? Two years ago. In the inception of these new generation of virtual events platform, we're just at the beginning. Right? So you can only imagine with sort of the sort of exponential growth that we're experiencing, what's coming next and you see tools like Disney plus all of a sudden are adding watch together parties, right?
Oh, you see a commitment from large companies to the Matt rivers. And to be honest, I've been a skeptical, very skeptical [00:35:00] to. The concept of matter versus until I started to play ping-pong on my Oculus quest. And to be honest, like, I feel like I'm playing ping pong for heaven sake. I'm actually playing ping pong right there.
So, and like when I take it off, I'm like, where am I? So you all of a sudden have this, this dystopian type of perception of what's happening around. I'm very fascinated by that. I feel that technology is going to build on that. I think we're going to have much better tools very quickly because the level of investment is towards that to actually move away from that solipsistic type of experience that we're experiencing right now, where we're by ourselves kind of left alone into more immersion tool, driven interaction driven type of environments, where we can touch things.
We can move. We can actually see people in front of us. So that's going to be game changer and that's unfortunately going to cut off on meaning personal opportunities. But then again, the frustration is going to be, it's going to be crazy. I need to touch [00:36:00] and hug people. I need to kind of have that, that feel.
You can have that with BR you kind of have that with the mat of ours. So I still think that eventually in-person is going to be what we in.
Kelsey: It is pretty important that you bring up. Oh, sorry. It is pretty amazing that you bring up, you know, how much, where are we are a year and a half, two years later, but where are we? I know Peter and I had a podcast with someone that you know, is associated with the gaming community too. And you brought up the gaming community and, you know, bringing all of the events together, the gaming community.
I just think there's the, sky's the limit here. And it's going to be pretty amazing to see where our events go. And still some how have some of the in-person in there too, but sorry.
Peter: No. So, so maybe the penultimate question here is is for the CMOs in the audience. What should they be doing today? When it comes to preparing themselves for the. The future world [00:37:00] of, of hybrid events and ultimately metaverse events that they're thinking about, what should they be doing today?
Julius: Absolutely. So whenever we talk about experiences we like to think about events as experiences. We'd like to think of experiences as shared experiences. That's all we call them. At a hop end, we feel that that component of co-creation is all unique to events. An event can not happen by someone just speaking and just broadcasting that's.
That's called a YouTube. And event is different. It needs interaction, even if with prerecorded video, whatever, there's a level of interaction happening around there. And that's, that's a game changer that, that projects your marketing to your next level. Starts building the community. We all aim for.
And we all talk about, we always talk about, about community. Like, can we use community tools? And all of a sudden we have this community manager was like trying to get people together, chasing down with emails and stuff like that. And event makes it happen for you [00:38:00] very easily. So I think that CMOs should keep an eye on for how this technology is changing.
What are the tools available right now? How does it fit with the marketing global marketing strategy? Making people feel closer to your brand through your long engagement, your long type of strategy, because that's what the big change is, is not as costly. As you said, beautifully said earlier to put on an event, you can do it easily.
You can do it for free, obviously you know, nothing is for free. So you want to invest a little bit more there in terms of your time to design amazing events, but still the tools are incredibly cheap these days. That's a big change that with. So go back, educate yourself about the possibilities. And then we work that as a tool within your marketing strategy, keep an eye on it and be ready for the changes that are coming and keep an eye on all these decentralized metaverse type of communities that are popping up all over the [00:39:00] place.
There are. There are strong and there's a renewed kind of vibe within the internet community of the web three community. Whatever it is, even if it like pops and burst out, the excitement is there and that's what matters. We've been kind of laying off laying on our tools. We've not without saying anything else for, for quite a while now.
So there's a new sense of excitement that is coming up for what's coming next. So keeping an open mind making sure it makes sense for you. But like experiment with that. Now's the time to experiment you still in time to experiment and make mistakes in two, three years time, you cannot make mistake anymore.
You can not experiment with platforms anymore is you just got to get it right. That's what the level of expectations are going to rise very quickly.
Peter: That's great. And I think I think with that, I think Kelsey has one more question and then believe it or not, we're, we're almost out of time.
Kelsey: May not be, it may be a new year, but we're going to use the same question we always do. What advice would you give to those that are CMOs [00:40:00] or aspiring to be one someday?
Julius: So my advice is to if you were aspiring right now to be a CMO, like completely differentiate yourself for what's happening right now in the market. Do not read that article that everybody's reading and like go back to. Company and say, oh, we should do this. Like, that's the time to really understand the dynamics that are driving the market right now.
Position yourself as unique. So as a CMO, you've got to be master off position. So what's making you unique. What's your blue ocean discover that, and this could be a group thing. It doesn't have you, or your own perspective on things, but like go away from those three, four resources. Everybody reads.
Everybody's kind of like whenever there's an article out, I see like 10, 15 people saying the same thing all over again. That's standardizing marketing quite a lot. And it's like, kind of by like eating up that level of insight that is [00:41:00] needed to actually get breakthroughs in marketing so that research, you know, demand people understand that very well.
That insight that comes to you and all of a sudden, you. Ah, create a new chapter for the company. I believe companies will be looking out for that because you know what, everybody's reading everything. There's nothing new in that. So your level of ability to innovate in that sense is gonna make your career outstanding.
Kelsey: Perfect. And before we hop off, I think now would be a good time for, to give you the little plug to talk a little bit about in and how our readers and listeners can get.
Julius: I love to think of about hopping as you know, the easiest tool that you can have to run a more complex event for your audience. So if you feel that you're using, for example, meeting technology, such as the companies, we all know for, for. companies were not meet for events. Those companies were made for small meetings.
So if you're using traditional meeting technology for more complex events, [00:42:00] you have an easy win right there to use open. I believe because it's so easy to use and creates immediate interaction and your, your audience is going to be immediately drawn into that. It's not a complex platform. It doesn't have a million features.
We don't like to play the feature battle. We like to think about experience. So think about versus. We like to think by ourselves as the, I for maybe we don't do everything that everybody does, but we do it so damn well that we'd like to think this is just add the up into any type of event, even if it's in person just add open and you're going to have a community for your event or, or if you're thinking about long year engagement, just to add up into your marketing strategy has got to be easy to connect people online while we figure out what's happening with the.
You, you want to feel closer to your community. That's the best way to use it? All the virtual tools, including three Menard, which is my personal favorite lifesaver for me in in March, 2020, when I didn't know how to do technical production, I had OBS and different screens to put together three Miller, like [00:43:00] immediately makes you a producer.
You have transitions that you can bring Facebook comments live online, so easy to use. Incredible. And it plugs into RPN and immediately started for free. So, I mean, what's there to lose. Just try it and tell me online, what you think about it. Reach out to me, always happy to have discussions about.
Kelsey: Well, great. I think that wraps up our time for today. This was an awesome conversation, Julius. We've really appreciated your time. Make sure to follow the next CMO on planet on Twitter and LinkedIn. And if you have any ideas for topics or guests, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great day, everyone.
Peter: Thanks Julius.