Insuretech Connect is the biggest event on the insurtech calendar. COVID moved it online. How did they do? Let's have a look.
Lining up meetings takes time
The usual 'in-person' event was in Las Vegas in September. The organizers early in September said they were taking the event online in about 3 weeks time. That turned out to be a mistake - at the last minute they postponed again, to push the event to October 19-21. I believe that they really underestimated the amount of advance planning time attendees need to line up meetings with people they want to meet. In the end, I think delaying it further was the right call. For us - the key measure of value in any event is 'how easily does this event let us meet people we would like to talk to?'
Timezoning a global event by regions
ITC divided the world into three regions (EMEA, Americas and APEC) and tried to orient the program around those zones. I'd give them about a 6 out of 10 on this. The intent was terrific, but I didn't really get a 'regional feel' on it. And thinking about the ITC 'in person' event, part of the value of it is that literally the world goes there. I feel like some of the power of a unified event got dispersed a bit in the process.
At trade events, you go to booths to learn more about the company and what it does. ITC let vendors establish a nice digital presence - better brochures really. So it measures up in terms of getting some info. But at in-person events marketers invest so much money in these booths in order to actually speak with prospective customers and generate leads. I don't think this works very well in online events generally, and ITC although making it very easy to request meetings via the 'booths', couldn't replicate the vibe of an in-person event.
ITC did a really nice job here. Multi-channel, good navigation to sessions, really clear program, good speakers. Slick production. On a par with the in-person event, maybe even better, as it is much easier to go session to session!
One on one meetings
This was the main attraction for us. ITC provided their own online meeting rooms, a scheduler, and a good search function to help you identify people you might like to speak with. They provided a chat function alongside the meeting function. This platform worked pretty well and we had a number of very good meetings. The one thing I'd love to see improved would be showing the date/time of the proposed meeting for your counterpart as well as for yourself. I feel like we got reasonable value from our spend for this capability.
What was missing?
I find the hardest thing for all online events to replicate is the sense of a large group participating. Counts of attendees watching sessions? Avatars in the expo area? I really feel for event organizers - they know that this dynamic is a big part of the attraction of an event . But how much to invest in creating that capability in an online event versus waiting for in-person events to come back online? That's a tough one.
Summing it all up
ITC Global have done a great job of preserving their brand as the 'go to' Insurtech event. As an industry we appreciate the effort of Jay Weintraub and the InsureTech Connect team for creating this event, and growing it into the 'must-attend' event that it has become.
While we all hope for a return to the in-person version of ITC, I do hope that they will bring a lot of the good things they've built into the ITC online platform into the live event.
If you're still online at ITC Global, please message us at Sentro and let's talk!
See you next time!