Case Study: Ramsey Solutions’ Master Series
CTS has had the opportunity to work on an exciting project with Nashville’s own Dave Ramsey for the last four years.
Every fall, Ramsey Solutions hosts an EntreLeadership conference called Master Series for hundreds of small-business owners. Dave Ramsey and a panel of like-minded experts share practical insights and principles they’ve learned through their extensive business experience to help owners grow their teams, their businesses, and their leadership skills.
Traditionally, Master Series is a live, in-person event, but in 2020 the pandemic forced the conference into a virtual format. The following year, Ramsey Solutions wanted to return to the live Master Series offering, but with a virtual option for people who couldn’t attend in person due to pandemic considerations or other factors. The new virtual option would come at a lower price point and provide its own distinct experience for remote participants.
But this came with challenges. The Ramsey team had to create two unique events, for two audiences, with two distinct experiences, at two price points — all rolled into one production.
In short, they had to create a hybrid event.
Why They Went With CTS
While Ramsey Solutions could have hired another company to come in and produce their virtual event, they trusted CTS and knew we had the expertise and resources to carry out both the live and virtual sides of Master Series.
For starters, we already had an excellent working relationship with the Ramsey Solutions production team, and we’d worked on both live and virtual events together before. They had faith in our abilities, and we enjoyed working with the Ramsey team.
Additionally, a second company for the virtual side would have created unnecessary production distance between the two events. But because we handled the whole production, we were able to seamlessly integrate the live and virtual elements without that added complexity.
Finally, CTS would already be on site for the live event, keeping costs for additional transportation, crewing, and planning to a minimum. We could simply send a few more operators to the event rather than the completely separate team an additional company would require.
Planning for a Hybrid Event
As far as crew, the live event required a team of 14, while the virtual side only needed a dedicated team of three. For the live production, we had four people on audio, two on lighting, and eight on video.
For the virtual side, we had an audio engineer handling transitions from stage to pre-recorded material to live studio content. A video switcher handled similar visual transitions, keeping track of which video feed should go where at what time. A graphics operator managed playback and created lower-third introductions for talent featured on the broadcast.
The Ramsey team also made the great call of having two project managers, one for the live event and one for the virtual event. They worked together with our project manager to make their vision for each side of the conference come alive.
What a Great Hybrid Event Looks Like
One huge factor in carrying out a hybrid version of the Master Series conference was that the Ramsey team really cared about providing distinct experiences for the two different audiences. They recognized that a virtual audience couldn’t have the same experience as a live audience, and they took steps to accommodate that.
For example, the virtual audience didn’t see everything that the attendees in the event room saw. Instead, the Ramsey team kept virtual segments shorter and scheduled more frequent breaks for remote participants to get up and move around. They provided in-depth interviews and live Q&A sessions with personalities leaving the stage — unique features that were perfect for an online audience and that the in-person audience didn’t see.
The live audience still enjoyed a fully immersive experience, and they also got to hear exclusive content that the virtual audience didn’t. They were able to connect with peers, network, and meet Master Series talent. Nothing about their in-person experience was diminished by the inclusion of a virtual component.
Finding Success With a New Audience
CTS delivered the expertise, technology, and support needed from our end, and the Ramsey team planned two fantastic events for two different audiences on their end.
Through this new type of hybrid format, Ramsey Solutions was able to tap into an audience they would have entirely missed out on with a purely live event. They were even able to recoup costs for the entire event through virtual ticket sales alone.
In short, the event was a rousing success, and we can’t wait to see what Ramsey Solutions does with hybrid events as they move into the future.