Case study: Sage gives Sessions event virtual debut

Forced online by Covid-19, software multinational Sage gathered its customers for a virtual reincarnation of its successful Sessions events. Will Dalzell, head of events proposition and innovation at Venues and Events International gives M&IT the inside track.

This was the first time Sage had organised an entirely virtual event, so we needed to instil confidence that the platform was up to the challenge.

Customers needed to be able to access pre-recorded product demonstrations, production information and guest speaker sessions, as well as live Q&A.

To deliver this highly technical event we needed to partner with a production specialist. After investigating several options together with our client we decided on PSAV, thanks to their capability and suitability for the event.

As each attendee left the event environment they were asked to provide feedback on their experience. Content was available post-event for delegates to return to as required. We were then able to provide Sage with insightful intelligence on who attended each session, what areas they visited and any follow-up activity required.

The event environment also included a networking area, in which people could access instant video chats with other attendees and SAGE specialists. This was essential to mimic a real life event.

We were able to create a fully functioning exhibition hall, with 21 expo stands – each offering product demonstrations and supplying product information to customers, with real time communications via typed questions and answer sessions within the stands.

Together we created a platform that allowed for a main plenary and six breakout sessions each discussing a different topic and repeating four times throughout the course of the day.

On the day, guests heard from Georgie Barratt, of Channel 5’s The Gadget Show” and Tamara Lohan, CEO and co-founder of Mr and Mrs Smith, the leisure travel booking agent.

We considered and planned for all eventualities. We pre-recorded the speaker sessions using a remote master control room where there were a team of experts who spoke face to face with the presenter, via video link to record directly into the system. This output was then edited to a watchable version, which was then reviewed and refined. As these sessions were not live, a back-up on the day was not necessary. This worked seamlessly and removed the margin of error.

We were able to create a virtual event environment that was up to the high standard and production value of Sage’s usual physical events. The platform used was seamless and allowed for valuable behavioural insight ensuring maximum return on investment.