Mastering the science of running digital conferences, Zoltan Tudnik, Co-Founder and Head of Business at Hipther agency, TEDx speaker and our guest speaker at the third episode of Digital Event Series, believes that the event industry will be back to normal with face-to-face meetings. We reconnected with Zoltan after the webinar and asked him a few questions.
I don’t believe in a new normal, I believe that this is temporarily abnormal, which creates some unique opportunities and drives innovation forward.
Zoltan Tudnik, Co-Founder and Head of Business at Hipther
Describe your experience in organising digital events.
Up to date, we’ve organized two digital conferences, and we have learned a lot from both of them.
The first one was a redesigned conference MARE BALTICUM Gaming Summit which was supposed to take place on the 7th of May in Tallinn, Estonia. It is the third edition of a regional conference, dedicated for the Baltic and Scandinavian gaming companies. The conference is supposed to be hosted yearly in different countries in the region and focuses on topics relevant to the local gaming scene. Due to the pandemic, which was announced by WHO, we decided to host the event on the same date in a virtual environment and to shift the agenda to discuss the topics that are now vital for the industry. We have also added a Latin American gaming industry-focused panel discussion, which would not have been possible if we had confined ourselves to a live event in the Baltics.
We had around 70 speakers who shared their knowledge in 10-panel discussions. The ticket prices were reduced to the minimum viable rate, and we managed to bring together almost 200 participants.
We learned a lot from hosting this very first digital conference, and little did we know that we would learn even more from our second one! The second conference took place on the 9th of June, and it was designed to cover multiple industries such as Mobility, Environment, Fashiontech, Artificial Intelligence, Investing, Fintech, Blockchain and EdTech.
Among the headline speakers that joined the panel discussions, we had the pleasure to work with Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace International Executive Director. I believe that the fact there was no travel involved for her also helped in her decision to participate in our conference.
However, we learned that hosting a conference that covers multiple industries has its downsides. The audience will only attend the discussions that are relevant to them and will move on from the conference immediately after their chosen topic of interest has been covered, rather than staying and participating in further discussion around the other topics.
I believe that a digital conference that covers only one industry is more engaging than multi-industry topics. This month we are hosting another digital conference which is dedicated exclusively to the North American gaming industry. It’s actually an expansion on plans which were initially made for 2021, but have been pushed forward this year by going digital for the inaugural edition.
What set of skills should you develop to be a digital event manager?
Firstly, you need to be communicative and clear about your thoughts.
Secondly, you should also possess some SEO skills in order to improve the visibility of your website in this already crowded market.
Thirdly and most importantly, you must be resistant to stress 🙂
However, I do believe that these skills are already naturally inherent in event managers, and they just have to adapt these qualities to the digital sphere.
Ideally, how many people should event planners have in their event team to run a digital event? What are the key roles?
We had three roles in total:
- One team member that met the speaker virtually, backstage. This person was also in charge of recruiting the speakers and moderators as well as showing them the ropes.
- The other team member was in charge of spreading the live scenes from the conference on social media channels.
- The third person was in charge of the customer service/live chat for any technical questions the participants might have.
What is the future of digital events?
Digital events are here to stay and will surely become flagship events for some event organisers who find that they excel more so in the digital events arena than with live conferences. Participants will adapt to using opportunities at both live and digital events. My personal experience with digital events has opened many doors for us, particularly in terms of revenue streams. It’s like comparing apples with oranges. Nevertheless, I like hosting our boutique-style live events with up to 100-150 delegates and hope to be back soon and shaking hands with our guests in person. I even miss having minor complaints during the event or delegates accidentally knocking down a glass.
What should event planners do to be prepared for this new future?
Adapt and be creative! There are endless possibilities if the general event participants learn to enjoy digital events. It will allow you to grow your prospects database and attract new connections. I don’t believe in a new normal, I believe that this is temporarily abnormal, which creates some unique opportunities and drives innovation forward.
Zoltan Tudnik, Co-Founder and Head of Business at Hipther – incorporating PICANTE MEDIA and EUROPEAN GAMING MEDIA
Zoltán is a publisher, events organiser, and TEDx speaker with direct, hands-on experience of organising successful online conferences in the gaming and technology spheres. Zoltán and his team bring a wealth of information on the latest innovation in vast industries such as Gaming and Gambling, Artificial Intelligence, Fintech and Quantum Technology. Among the developed brands and services, they also organise online news portals, a tri-annually printed magazine, an online radio and regulatory briefing conferences annually across Europe and North America.
All the events organised by his company also focus on bringing a wealth of information about the latest innovation in several industries such as Entertainment, Technology, Gaming and Gambling, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Fintech, Quantum Technology, Legal Cannabis, Health and Lifestyle, VR/AR, eSports and many more.”