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BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : September 21, 2009

Live conferences, exhibitions going virtual

Has attendance of your live conferences or exhibitions been a little slack of late? If so, perhaps you'd attract more visitors if you hosted your event online. Recent surveys show a willingness of marketers to host and attend in virtual venues, especially in tough economic times where budgets must stretch far.

by Helen Leggatt

Lavish trade shows and glossy exhibitions may soon become things of the past. With penny-pinching affecting every aspect of sales and marketing, and green concerns being given more consideration, live events are moving online.

As early as January this year, ON24 warned of the decline of live events throughout 2009. Their most recent figures show no abatement in the decrease of live events versus virtual.

Of the 530 marketing professionals ON24 surveyed in June this year, 63% said they are more likely to attend conferences online than in person, and almost three-quarters (72%) said they feel as confident communicating virtually as they do face-to-face.

"The fact that 63% are more likely to go themselves to a virtual event than a physical one demonstrates a 'tipping point' for virtual venues that is sure to make them even more pervasive as marketers plan their strategies accordingly," said ON24 Chief Marketing Officer Denise Persson.

More findings, this time from virtual event provider Unisfair, found that nearly half (48%) of the 100 marketing professionals they surveyed planned to increase their use of virtual events in 2010. Why? Reasons given included to extend their marketing reach (32%) and increase leads (15%).

Tags: conference, exhibition, live events, marketing budget, online events, virtual events

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