November 18, 2020
The American Society of Agricultural Consultants (ASAC) is a non-profit organization that spans a diverse range of disciplines in agriculture. The organization accredits certified agricultural consultants (CAC) and provides resources to connect members and promote the agricultural consulting profession.
ASAC hosts an annual conference, where the association shares educational opportunities for members and fosters connections in the agricultural community.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the ASAC executive board had to make a tough decision regarding their annual conference this year:
1. Postpone the entire event and lose out on annual revenue.
2. Find an online solution to host the conference virtually.
Naturally, ASAC sought a solution for option 2. With only a few weeks to organize, ASAC reached out to Applied Art to create a virtual event experience that could replicate, and even improve upon, the real thing.
When designing the virtual interface for this event, we tried to mirror the best parts of the in-person conference. For example, because networking had been a focal point of the event in years past, we incorporated lobby rooms in our interface. This way, attendees could engage in meet-and-greet interactions before and after presentations.
Rather than piece together multiple third-party softwares, we used our custom appliedart.live platform to host the event. This allowed us to control every aspect of the experience, as well as track user data and manage registrations, ensuring attendees had a smooth experience.
There are many moving parts when it comes to designing and developing a virtual conference. For this event, we pooled our team’s collective resources from multiple disciplines, including web design, interactive, event production and marketing.
First, our web designers and developers went to work building a custom event interface using ASAC branding, colors and assets.
The event production and marketing teams scheduled interviews for presentations, speaker introductions and other pre-recorded moments, editing these various videos into the event schedule. The marketing team even prepared an alternative promotional video that incorporated humor, poking fun at the unusual circumstances of this year’s virtual conference.
After several weeks of preparation, we were ready for the show. During the four-day event, all hands were on deck at Applied Art, as a team spanning multiple departments worked together to direct the show, prepare presenters and administer chat support for attendees.
Our client had the opportunity to monetize their virtual event through three sources of revenue: sponsors, ticket sales and recordings.
The association acquired four sponsors for the event. This included a virtual tour for a showcase business that was incorporated into the event interface.
Attendee Ticket Sales
Attendees also paid to access the conference. By going virtual, ASAC saw a higher average attendance rate than past in-person events, with attendees tuning in from around the country.
If attendees couldn’t attend live, all of the sessions, including breakout panels and presentations, were recorded and made available to view after the fact. These recordings presented a unique opportunity to drive revenue long after the event concluded — in effect, transforming a live event into a sellable product.
Before this event, many attendees had limited experience using video chat or computers, in general. Thanks to our robust tech support resources, we were able to coach everyone via video conferencing and ensure the event went smoothly.
In the end, the event wrapped up after four days, with overwhelmingly positive feedback from both the organizers and attendees.
Our Client's Reaction
“I wanted to take a moment to express my personal appreciation — echoed by the entire ASAC membership, I’m certain — for the patience and professionalism the Applied Art & Technology team exhibited in hosting our first attempt at a Virtual Annual Conference.”
— Russell Morgan, CFO, American Society of Agricultural Consultants
Want to learn more about virtual events? Read about our virtual event planning capabilities here.