Posted by: Cece Salomon-Lee | August 3, 2009

Event Marketing Institute Webinar – Virtual Events are Mainstream

EMIWebinarOn Friday, July 31st, the Event Marketing Institute (EMI) held a webinar on “Are Virtual Events Real?”. The speakers included John Grosshandler, Director, Virtual Events, Maritz, and Kenny Lauer, Executive Director, Digital Experience, George P. Johnson. The moderators were Michael Westcott, Managing Director, EMI, and Rory J Thompson, Senior Research Editor, EMI.

Disclosure: InXpo was a sponsor of this webinar and has strategic partnerships with Maritz and George P. Johnson. Here is a summary of the key topics discussed during the webinar


According to EMI, they look at four categories for events: logistics, content, audience and communication. Virtual Events spans three of these categories. By not including logistics, travel and other restrictions on one’s budget, these factors have driven the use and adoption of virtual event technology.

Virtual events definition – the use of multiple tactics to create an interactive peers-to-peers experience online. This can include webcasts, chats, blogs, etc.

Myths of Virtual Events

  • Virtual events are easy: have to plan the event in person and may be harder than physical one because it’s so new
  • Virtual events are cheap: while there is a lot of money to be saved – such as 50-60% cost-savings than physical, if you don’t put the money, time and effort in the right places, such as strategy, then the event won’t succeed
  • Virtual events are only for ‘power’ users: over the last year, have started seeing virtual events going mainstream

Marketing for Virtual Events

  • All traditional marketing methods still apply including email, banner ads, phone, and direct mail
  • Since not much travel required, the pre-show marketing can happen closer to the event
  • Keep the registration simple upfront – it’s similar to a regular relationship and build it over time
  • Don’t forget social media to help get the word out about the conference

Content and Customer Experience

  • Good content drives audience
  • Use editorial guidelines to avoid self-promo
  • Mix the types of events in real-time and on-demand
  • Balance the bells and whistles with how you can help attendees get the value out of the virtual event and simplicity
  • Think about how the content will be consumed, for example with each video, you can create an audio podcast and transcript
  • The real opportunity is leveraging the content in different multiple ways
  • Leverage social media to encourage people to get the word out and possibly incent key influencers
  • Look at your objectives and audience goals to determine your strategies for bringing in that audience: For example:
    • If using to expand prospect base, then the strategy may include social media to reach larger audience and have the content be free
    • However, if it’s internal, you may want a more limited audience with lots of peer-to-peer interactivity
    • Tier your audience to determine what offers to provide to which audiences

Virtual Events Best Practices

  • Not every virtual event can evolve into a community because then you need to start thinking of the other issues around developing, engaging and managing a community
  • Consider your objectives and strategy first
  • Understand your audience motivations
  • Content drives the event
  • Measure, analyze and apply

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EMI Webinar Summary: Are Virtual Events Real? – best practices, myths, marketing by @InXpo Live: #virtual #eventprofs


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  2. […] many people new to virtual platforms have begun attending virtual events this year, Institute executives reported at a recent seminar sponsored by InXpo, Inc., a virtual events […]

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