Dispelling the Myths of Going Virtual

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The recent economic situation has provided a catalyst for companies to look at cost-effective alternatives to scheduling and executing face-to-face meetings and events. This situation combined with reduced travel and marketing budgets, has given rise to virtual events. A successful virtual strategy reduces costs, increases productivity, extends reach, provides rich data intelligence, and benefits the environment. Yet, meeting professionals are hesitant to incorporate virtual elements into their meetings and event portfolios. Leveraging real-world case studies, this session will dispel several myths about “going virtual”.

Get answers to your theories like:
• Virtual will cannibalize my physical audience.
• Virtual will be a costly element for me to include in my budget.
• Virtual will only be used by my most technically savvy members.
• Virtual is only for larger corporations.

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  • Before we begin, let’s look at the definition of virtual events as defined by the virtual edge institute. Having this common definition, the questions that many meeting planners ask themselves is
  • Why go virtual? There are many responses.
  • Saves money for attendees with no travel
  • Which increases productivity
  • You can better track a person’s activity for better analytics
  • And there’s a green benefit as well
  • So why not virtual? Despite the many benefits of virtual, there are several myths that still abound. Before e start, would like to take a quick poll …
  • That’s great – so let’s look at some of the key myths
  • while we haven’t seen one, we still believe in them. Let’s dispell some of the common myths about virtual
  • The first is that virtual will cannibalize your audience
  • We’ve found that virtual actually extends your reach to a larger audience
  • The American Payroll Association added a virtual component to their event in May, attracting 1900 people to the physical event in Washington DC and nearly the same for virtual – doubling their total audience
  • And interestingly, there was only a 7% crossover
  • So people will come to your event, how about exhibitors and sponsors – this will cannibalize your revenue opportunities. The reality it that this is where exhibitors are heading.
  • According to a recent survey by Champion Exposition Services titled “Exhibitor Trends Survey”, 72% of exhibitors find virtual to be valuable on some level
  • Furthermore, by combining your live event
  • With virtual
  • exhibitors feel that virtual attracts more participants and extend global reach
  • So virtual provides an extended audience for your event, what about the costs? While a “virtual event platform” may cost quite a bit, there are several options to providing a “virtual experience”
  • As we saw earlier, here is the definition of a virtual event.
  • Now let’s take a look at it again and now we can consider virtual with a different perspective – as an occurrence of people connected together online by using computers and the Internet. This opens the possibilities by beginning to add virtual components such as
  • Social media with a twitter feed or discussions on a facebook page dedicated to the event
  • HD video recorders are 200-300 dollars. Record videos of exhibitors and attendees and conduct interviews. Upload them to a dedicated channel and encourage attendees to upload content as well
  • And now, connect a webcam to the internet and presto, you can stream anything live on the Internet. While most services offer a free level which include advertising and size limits, this is another option to begin broadcasting live.
  • People are remarkably adaptable. Look at how long some technologies took to reach 50 million users
  • 38 years for radio
  • 13 for tv
  • 4 for internet
  • 3 for ipod
  • And 9 months for facebook
  • I’m not going to dispute this. we need to stop thinking of virtual as a replacement or comparing it against f2f
  • Rather, look at how virtual augments and facilitates f2f
  • According to a Forbes survey, while face to face is a integral for business relationships “Web-, video- and teleconferencing have their role …

  • many see the ideal as a mix of face-to-face and technology-enabled meetings and conferences. (Fig. 9

  • Rather, look at how virtual augments and facilitates f2f
  • Rather, look at how virtual augments and facilitates f2f
  • Rather, look at how virtual augments and facilitates f2f
  • CWT Travel Institute, “Meetings & Events: Where Savings Meet Success”: August 2010
  • Elsevier case study: http://www.foliomag.com/2010/hybrid-events-live-virtual-combo
  • Dispelling the Myths of Going Virtual

    1. 1. Dispelling the Myths about Going Virtual Presented by Cece Salomon-Lee November 17, 2010
    2. 2. Definition “A virtual event is an occurrence of people gathering together where some or all of the attendees are not physically in the same location but are connected in a common environment. The common environment might be one of many types but is usually enabled through the use of computers and the Internet.” - Virtual Edge Institute
    3. 3. VIRTUAL?
    4. 4. CO$T SAVINGS
    5. 5. INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY
    6. 6. BETTER ANALYTICS
    7. 7. GREEN BENEFITS
    8. 8. NOT VIRTUAL??
    9. 9. POLL: How many are using virtual? Yes, currently using virtual technology No, not using at this time Unsure when we will
    10. 10. DISPELLING FIVE VIRTUAL MYTHS
    11. 11. Myth #1: Cannibalize My Audience X X X XX
    12. 12. EXTENDS AUDIENCE REACH
    13. 13. EXTENDS AUDIENCE REACH APA: 1900 in person, 1885 virtually
    14. 14. EXTENDS AUDIENCE REACH APA: 1900 in person, 1885 virtually Only a 7% audience crossover
    15. 15. Myth #2: Cannibalize Sponsors/Exhibitors X X X
    16. 16. 472% of exhibitors find virtual valuable
    17. 17. LIVE
    18. 18. +LIVE VIRTUAL
    19. 19. +LIVE VIRTUAL = MORE PARTICIPANTS EXTENDED GLOBAL REACH
    20. 20. GE Healthcare – Virtual Exhibit
    21. 21. GE Healthcare – Virtual Exhibit @ RSNA 2009 • Identical to physical booth with 3D renderings
    22. 22. GE Healthcare – Virtual Exhibit @ RSNA 2009 • Identical to physical booth with 3D renderings • Physical event : 10,000 attendees • Virtual Exhibit: 5,000 attendees
    23. 23. GE Healthcare – Virtual Exhibit @ RSNA 2009 • Identical to physical booth with 3D renderings • Physical event : 10,000 attendees • Virtual Exhibit: 5,000 attendees • Average time spent at virtual exhibit: 1.5 hours • Cost 30% less than a flash-based, static microsite
    24. 24. GE Healthcare – Virtual Exhibit @ RSNA 2009 • Identical to physical booth with 3D renderings • Physical event : 10,000 attendees • Virtual Exhibit: 5,000 attendees • Average time spent at virtual exhibit: 1.5 hours • Cost 30% less than a flash-based, static microsite “This is all about connecting customers to specific GE people“ – GE Healthcare
    25. 25. Myth #3: Co$t$ Too Much
    26. 26. “A virtual event is an occurrence of people gathering together where some or all of the attendees are not physically in the same location but are connected in a common environment. The common environment might be one of many types but is usually enabled through the use of computers and the Internet.” - Virtual Edge Institute
    27. 27. “A virtual event is an occurrence of people gathering together where some or all of the attendees are not physically in the same location but are connected in a common environment. The common environment might be one of many types but is usually enabled through the use of computers and the Internet.” - Virtual Edge Institute
    28. 28. Social Media
    29. 29. Social Media Video
    30. 30. Social Media Video Livestreaming
    31. 31. IMTS Uses Social Media to Engage • Used variety of outlets: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and SCVNGR • Organized contests through YouTube videos and game, including: • 60 Second video sales pitch • Question of the Day • Tweetchats on related topics • Geo-location Scavenger hunt
    32. 32. IMTS Uses Social Media to Engage “The attendees have specifically mentioned how present social media was and that they want more of it” - Monica Haley, AMT
    33. 33. Myth #4: Only for Technically Savvy
    34. 34. 38 years 50 million users
    35. 35. 38 years 13 years 50 million users
    36. 36. 38 years 13 years 4 years 50 million users
    37. 37. 38 years 13 years 4 years 3 years 50 million users
    38. 38. 38 years 13 years 4 years 3 years 50 million users 9 months
    39. 39. Myth #5: Not as Good as F2F
    40. 40. VIRTUAL AUGMENTS & FACILITATES F2F
    41. 41. “Web-, video- and teleconferencing have their role, but the executives in the survey do not expect them to make the need for face-to-face meetings obsolete. Rather, many see the ideal as a mix of face-to- face and technology- enabled meetings and conferences. (Fig. 9)” - Forbes
    42. 42. “Web-, video- and teleconferencing have their role, but the executives in the survey do not expect them to make the need for face-to-face meetings obsolete. Rather, many see the ideal as a mix of face-to- face and technology- enabled meetings and conferences. (Fig. 9)” - Forbes
    43. 43. VIRTUAL AUGMENTS & FACILITATES F2F NOT A REPLACEMENT
    44. 44. CISCOLIVE VIRTUAL 2009 • Added virtual component for 2009 event • Survey to in-person and virtual attendees
    45. 45. CISCOLIVE VIRTUAL 2009 • Added virtual component for 2009 event • Survey to in-person and virtual attendees • Event messaging very similar: 4.2 vs. 4.3 • Both audiences increased familiarity with Cisco products
    46. 46. CISCOLIVE VIRTUAL 2009 • Added virtual component for 2009 event • Survey to in-person and virtual attendees • Event messaging very similar: 4.2 vs. 4.3 • Both audiences increased familiarity with Cisco products BONUS: 34% of virtual indicated interest to attend in- person event in 2010
    47. 47. BONUS MYTH: NO ONE is Doing It
    48. 48. BONUS MYTH: No One is Doing IT 96% of respondents already using virtual events and meeting solutions
    49. 49. * CWT Travel Institute, “Meetings & Events: Where Savings Meet Success: August 2010 DISPELL THE MYTHS
    50. 50. * CWT Travel Institute, “Meetings & Events: Where Savings Meet Success: August 2010 DISPELL THE MYTHS: VIRTUAL • expands and extends reach of audiences
    51. 51. * CWT Travel Institute, “Meetings & Events: Where Savings Meet Success: August 2010 DISPELL THE MYTHS: VIRTUAL • expands and extends reach of audiences • expands and extends reach for exhibitor
    52. 52. * CWT Travel Institute, “Meetings & Events: Where Savings Meet Success: August 2010 DISPELL THE MYTHS: VIRTUAL • expands and extends reach of audiences • expands and extends reach for exhibitor • can easily be added at minimal cost
    53. 53. * CWT Travel Institute, “Meetings & Events: Where Savings Meet Success: August 2010 DISPELL THE MYTHS: VIRTUAL • expands and extends reach of audiences • expands and extends reach for exhibitor • can easily be added at minimal cost • is for everyone
    54. 54. * CWT Travel Institute, “Meetings & Events: Where Savings Meet Success: August 2010 DISPELL THE MYTHS: VIRTUAL • expands and extends reach of audiences • expands and extends reach for exhibitor • can easily be added at minimal cost • is for everyone • augments and facilitates face-to-face
    55. 55. * CWT Travel Institute, “Meetings & Events: Where Savings Meet Success: August 2010 DISPELL THE MYTHS: VIRTUAL • expands and extends reach of audiences • expands and extends reach for exhibitor • can easily be added at minimal cost • is for everyone • augments and facilitates face-to-face • is already being used by someone in your organization
    56. 56. * CWT Travel Institute, “Meetings & Events: Where Savings Meet Success: August 2010 QUESTIONS?
    57. 57. Resources PHOTO Credits • By annnna_ via Flickr (Why?): http://www.flickr.com/photos/annnna/2228189828/ • By aoomar via Flickry (unicorn): http://www.flickr.com/photos/zoomar/141098807/ • By Adriaan Bloem via Flickr (audience): http://www.flickr.com/photos/bloem/5122399298/ • By photine via Flickr (exhibit hall): http://www.flickr.com/photos/laanba/2273645708/ • By world2worlds via Flickr (Cisco virtual booth): http://www.flickr.com/photos/26718459@N03/2507132656/ • By Sebastian Fritzon via Flickr (smoke): http://www.flickr.com/photos/sebastianfritzon/509877265/ SURVEY/CASE STUDY CITATIONS • Smart Meetings, October 2010: American Payroll Association • Champion Exposition Services. “Exhibitor Trends Survey,” October 2010 – 72% of exhibitors find virtual to be of some value, valuable or very valuable • ComputerWorld, “Avatars Rising in the Enterprise”, April 9, 2010 (GE Healthcare) • TSNN, “Grease, Gears, and Geo-location: IMTS Gets It’s Social Media Groove On”, October 2010 • Social Media Revolution: Stats to 50 million • Forbes: Business Meetings – Case for Face-to-Face • Cisco Virtual Environments, “Analysis of a Virtual Event”, September 13, 2009 • CWT Travel Institute, “Meetings & Events: Where Savings Meet Success”: August 2010 – 96% of respondents state that already using virtual events and meeting solutions
    58. 58. Contact Cece Salomon-Lee PR Meets Marketing Twitter: @csalomonlee www.linkedin.com/in/cecelee cece@prmeetsmarketing.com

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