It’s not Zoom fatigue; it’s generic content fatigue

Ashesh at Box tells us how trying new methods to up their hybrid event game at Box has helped them double their show-up rate since 2022. Here are some of his tips:

  • The importance of content, convenience, and quality
  • Multiple live start times for digital and hybrid events
  • How to get better quality even without a studio
  • Using your digital events as a content launchpad

Our favorite quote: “I'm not a big fan of that term Zoom fatigue… because, you know, all day after meetings, I'm still binge watching stuff on Netflix and Hulu. I'm not fatigued. Right?”

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BW Events Tech

Next up is Ashesh Satvedi from Box.

Thank you so much. Oh, water. Oh, my gosh. Whoa, thank you so much.

Okay. Perfect. Awesome. Thank you. Thank you. Ashesh, can you introduce yourself to everyone?

Hey, everyone, Ashesh Satvedi.

Been at Box for about seven years or so.

I do digital events, virtual events. That's my focus area. I've been doing that since 2013 or so, when digital events were really archaic and webinars were just slide decks and audio. I remember those times that anybody remember those times back in the days?


So that's been my world, but it's a fun world.

So a lot of folks are ... right now I hear all the time the term Zoom fatigue. Like, if there was a drinking game for events, it's like Zoom fatigue, attrition, like virtual engagement. Right?

So I am curious, well, a lot of folks are pivoting back into in-person or kind of ditching virtual.

I'm curious your team is, like, very much, like, leaning into it. What have you learned over the past few years that really made you confident in the choice to lean into virtual?

Yeah. It's so I mean, I personally it's a little controversy, but I'm not a big fan of that term, Zoom fatigue.


I feel like I mean, not because that it's not real. It is real. I'm on Zoom meetings all day long, every single day, and I am fatigued by the end of the day. And I know you can relate to this. So it is a real thing.

But why with events, I see that not being the case, is because, you know, like, all day after meetings, I'm still binge watching stuff on Netflix and Hulu. Like, I'm not fatigued. Right? I'm you know what I'm saying?


Because it's engaging. It's exciting.

It's content that's curated to me. It's like, Ashesh, you watched this. You might like that. Yes! Show me more. You know? And I'm like, so that's the thing is engaging content produced in the highest quality possible, and curated for me. I'm there.

I wanna watch it and I wanna spend time on it. So that's why I feel like additional events or virtual events, it's the Zoom fatigues, got kinda got a bad rap.

Yeah. And it's because the attendance has gone down over the past couple of years as we heard earlier as well, we found something to point to. And we're like, yep. That's the reason. That's why the attendance is down. We can just call it a day. Let's just do in-person events because virtual is just gonna be like this.

And so at Box, we took that as a challenge. It's like, you know, this has worked for us for a very long time. We ourselves saw decrease in attendance rates and we're like, there has to be something that we can do to increase that engagement. So for the past two years, or a year and a half or so, we've been obsessively focused on three things: content, convenience, and quality.

When it comes to content, what we're doing now is create curated content for the audience that we're inviting to our events. We wanna make it their worthwhile.

The time that they're spending with us, when they're attending our sessions, they should feel like this is for me. So, you know, it's not a spray and pray approach where it's like let's just create a bunch of content, put it out there. Hopefully, they watch it.

We're really trying to focus down on the content. Number two convenience.

So, one of the things that we did this year is, to increase our attendance rates, is on the live day for our webinars, for our virtual conferences, we're now offering multiple live start times for the same event. So you can select ,during registration, like whatever times that convenient for you, you attend that time. And we're seeing people responding to it. Our attendance rates have gone up.

They have doubled since last year, this year, just by that approach. And we actually we just finished our virtual event, Content Cloud Summit last week. And we would get emails from people saying, hey, I registered for this time.

But, you know, I can't make it anymore because a meeting has come up. Can you please my reg time to this other time? And so that told us, like, people really were interested in joining, and they care about when it's convenient for them to join.

And we're we're also with that seeing that a lot of our international audience is now attending, because we're offering in those different times. And then the last thing quality. We built our own production studio at Box last year and, yeah.

So it's been really cool to, you know, kinda have that at our disposal. All of the sessions that we create, all our keynotes and everything, is done at this studio now.

And and so we've up that quality game. One thing with the virtual events is that if you have pixelated video, if you have poor sound quality, and if you have busy backgrounds, you're taking away your attendees attention from the content that you're pretty ... your content could be amazing, but just those things are so distracting to the attendees that you're you're losing them. And so again, we've been obsessed with quality.

Like, we're going to produce the best quality possible so that we can remove those obstacles from our attendees to be able to engage with the speakers and the content that the speakers are creating.

For sure. For sure. One of the things you mentioned was the time zone thing or like the different types. Those are still live. Correct? Like ...


Live events? Okay. So they're doing the event like a few times over and over again.


Are they cool with that?

It's tedious.


Live days are very long. You know, our our event last week, we started at five AM, my team in the morning, and we ended the day at 8:30 at night.


But it was worth it.

There must be a great happy hour afterwards.

You know what? We were so exhausted that we just went to bed after that.

Well, that's awesome. So thinking about the amount of time it takes to put on a virtual event. It's all front loaded. So, it's like the amount of time you're putting together into the content, putting into the marketing and stuff like that. Like, the actually putting on the event, is just that hour.

Right? And so, might as well do it a couple more times if you're able to maximize that.

Right. Absolutely. And we have, and I know that, you know, with virtual events, it's been really easy to just pre-record content and play it Simulive and, you know, just run the recordings on the live day.

But once again, what attendees are experiencing is that they can they can clearly see. They can tell it's pre-recorded. So they're like, why am I why am I here live? Why am I spending all this time sitting on my computer, watching something that I could just have watched on-demand?

Like you could have just sent me the link to it.


And so what we're doing is we're pushing a lot of from the studio, we'll push out live content. We'll have panels, live AMA panels where, okay, you just watch the keynote, let's get into a panel. Let's have some questions from the attendees, take them live, and we'll have a panel answering them live. So we do a lot of live broadcasts during our events.

And then for some of the events, we have also gone the route of having hosts that will host the entire event. And hosts will be live and getting people excited and engaged. So there is always something going on live that people feel like ... even during the AMA, when you call out somebody's name. It's like, hey, so and so from this company is asking this question. Guess what?

Like, you're getting their attention and and just calling out somebody by their name really gets them jazzed up. It's like, I'm here.

Yeah. I assume I'm in trouble? Yeah. When somebody says my name.

So, talk to a little bit about content how do you make sure, like, the production quality is great. Right? How do you ensure that the content is like specific to the organization? Or do you have any, like, tips and stuff like that to make sure that your content really is fitting the audience that you're going after?

Yeah. I mean, one of the things that we've learned over the years is that people don't want to listen to us speaking about Box all the time. Right?

They wanna they wanna hear from our customers how do I our customers use Box and what are their success stories, etc.

Our technical audience, they want to know how the product works in action, etc. So we, from content side of things, we're having our customers come and tell their stories and speak on our sessions.

As you can see in this image, we brought our customers straight on the LED screens right there, and our host is just having a conversation with them. On their use case of Box, for example.

We're spending a lot of time creating demos and technical demos, etc. That we can spend less time on slides, but show the product more in action.

So those are some of the things we're doing. And then for our thought leadership content, we'll go out and get some thought leaders in the industry that can come and have those conversations to make the content more interesting to listen to.

I mean, you can, otherwise you can find everything about Box on the website. Right? Why are you coming to this event? You wanna learn something.

You wanna hear from the industry experts and so that's what we were striving to provide.

That's awesome. That's awesome.

So this looks great. Like, the studio.

And I'm curious for those who don't have a studio.



What advice would you give to those folks to give studio quality or ninety percent there? Studio-quality videos on, like, a budget.

Yeah. I mean, so first things first, look, you we all know virtual events don't cost as much.

Right? It it cost minimal as compared to in-person events. Yeah. And so you are now able to stretch a little bit off that budget, to go and hire a production company to come and do the production for you.

Now, if you don't even have that budget, you know, you can of course, there are things to get, what we did for the past whatever years.

We we would send we would send kits to all of our speakers with just a simple, a nice, 720p webcam, you know, the Logitech webcams are great. We'll send them two video lights that can sit in front of them on their desks, and a little mic. And we would train them.

I have my team that always does training with our speakers. On, you know, it's like raise your laptop a little bit. Your webcam should be at the eye level, etcetera. Just little tweaks like those, make us a whole lot of difference on the quality of the production.

And then we use certain online tools to record content digitally. So virtually. You know, of course, Zoom is one of them, but we are always trying with, there are so many tools out there now that can give you that really good quality, even if you have to do it virtually and you don't have a studio.

For sure. For sure.

I found that in 2020, we were all in the same place.


Like, we were all doing, trying to transition to virtual, and so it was kind of quippy and kind of fun to be like, here's my dog, you know?

Look at ... That's my bed.


You know, something like that in the background.

It was cute.

Yeah. It was cute. It was fun. For a couple months.


It was really cute. It was fun. So now, the idea is like, there's a little bit of higher expectations now for those events.

And I love the idea of sending a kit to folks and giving them as clear instructions, like, if this video is gonna live on, I wanna look good, you know.


So I don't like, just look a little shoddy in my video.

Right. One thing I would add there is, you know, for us, now we are using our digital events as launching pad for new content.

So, what we're doing is, and this is one of the reasons why we're spending so much effort on good quality for our content, is that we will use our event as an excuse to create new content. New marketing content, new enablement content, new demos, etc. So we're using our events to launch all that content but that content is not just for that day. We're gonna use this content for eight to twelve months. And we want this to be on our website. We want it to be in in various different customer-facing properties.

And that's why we wanna have really, really good quality. And so it's a great investment in that way, is because now you just used event as an excuse to create all this content that you didn't have to just keep creating month after month.

That's so cool. And one other way that, we we chatted earlier, that I thought was a really cool way you can take things up like a little bit of a notch, or just add on to it, was the idea of inviting folks to the studio when you're doing these virtual events. Could you share a little bit more about what you're doing there.

Yeah. So, I mean, just recently we did what, you can call it a hybrid event, I guess.

But it was a partner event, and we had, it was virtual, but we had some of our partners that were local, our headquarters are in Jabwood City, Bay Area.

And some of the local partners, we had them come to our office And in the EIC room downstairs is where they they sat and watched the entire production on the big screen. But before they did that, the entire event was live, by the way.

They came up to the studio, and the studio is on our fifth floor. They came up. I gave them a tour of like, this is this is where the magic happens and and you when you're watching it downstairs, this is where it's happening actually.

I mean, you could tell that they were so excited. It's like, wow, this is awesome, and it felt real, even though they were watching it on screen- because they were there in person and they had seen the location where things were happening. They were really, really engaged. And after after the event, they kinda came up to us, and we had a happy hour and everything, and they're like, wow, this was so cool. Thanks for having us out here and giving us a tour and this was fun to be involved in.


That's so cool.

It's just a way to like delight a core group of partners.

You don't have to buy a whole new venue, you don't have to do all that kind of stuff. It's just like a great way to just attack on, a little bit of extra fun. Awesome. Do we have any questions for Ashesh?

Before we jump in, yes, right here in the front.

What's your favorite Swoogo hack?

What's my favorite Swoogo hack?

Oh, boy. We've done so many custom things with with Swoogo.

Well just one. The one you like the most.

Well, to be honest, I'm enabling different teams, and Tricia, we should talk later on how you're you're doing that with people all over the world.

But one of one of my favorite things is, like my team is very small.

I've trained our marketing operations team on how to create events on Swoogo, and they're enabling different teams to go and run their webinars. And if they want a Zoom webinar, it's just like a direct integration. And marketing ops team creates the the form and the event for them, the registration page and everything.

And the webinar happens on Swoogo and everybody's happy. Like, that's been a hack for us. That's been a good hack for us because what my team does on Swoogo is very much custom-built. And so it's, I'm very controlling of it, and it's nerve wracking for me to just, like, give out licenses like, yeah, you go do it too.

But we found other ways of hacking that.

Totally. That's so cool. Okay. So if you could give the audience one recommendation on how to adapt their events in this new normal, what would it be?

I would say take risks. Try to push yourself to just like go to the next level, do better. We have so many more technology tools available to us at our disposal as compared to even two, three years ago that we can easily take it to that next level and let's just keep pushing.

Let's keep pushing boundaries, let's connect and build a community, and help each other out, and let's all of us do better.

We don't have to compete.

I love it. Awesome. Thank you so much, Ashesh.

Alright. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.