Archive for September, 2009

Key Learnings for a Virtual Event

If you consider setting up a virtual event, please keep the following 3 items in mind:

  • Like any other event, content is king, including audience participation and user-generated content. Any virtual event platform is just a means to an end and a delivery mechanism
  • It is still an event, meaning you need to do all the strategy, planning, execution and follow up as for any other event. Don’t think you have a shorter lead time
  • Technology needs to stay up!!

Cisco Live Networkers: Analysis of the Virtual Event

In an earlier post I commented on the virtual events key learnings of Cisco Live Networkers. Earlier this month Cisco provided an overall analysis of their virtual event. A must read if your are into the virtual events business.

Two things caught my attention:

  • One third of the online attendees where from the executive/senior management and management groups. This is promising and proves the fact that virtual events are not only for technical savy audiences. While you would think that executive level people like events for the networking and face to face contacts, Cisco proves that they see value in a virtual event as well and attend!
  • 34% of the virtual attendees indicated they were extremely/very likely to attend the in person event next year. This is prove that an online event is not captilalizing on the in person event attendance, on the contrary, in the long run it is helping in demand generation. Only of course if you have the right strategy in mind and have a clear value proposistion for both the in person as the virtual event.

Blog Recognition

Yesterday I catched the following blog post Six Events Related Blogs to Read. Nice to see recognition and the fact that people appreciate what I write.

I love to continue my contribution to the events business and the blogosphere overall.

Event in Dubai

Last week I was in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) to collaborate with the Microsoft Gulf subsidiary in order to setup a key event in 2010. A few general musings about my first experience in the Middle East.

  • As any country there are local flavours and ways of doing business. Hmm
  • The city looks brand new to me. Waw, although sometimes I had the impression I was in Las Vegas
  • The Dubai World Trade Centre is a very nice venue. The one thing that caught my attention right away is that the simple watches on the walls are “Rolex”. Is that an indication?
  • Big (royal) weddings are done in the WTC. They were setting up one (2 weeks needed!!) An eye opener.
  • Do they treat email the same way we do?
  • Ramadan has an impact in every day life. Respect is the key as a foreigner.
  • Dubai seems a city which combines tourism with business. Many nationalities represented.
  • The impact of the local government and the sjeiks circle of influence

Really looking forward to make this event a success and learn a lot.

All comments about doing business in Dubai very welcome. As well as tips and tricks.

InXpo

About 10 days ago I had an interesting conversation with Malcolm Lotzof, VP InXpo about their virtual event platform and the future of virtual events.

Many VEP (Virtual Event Platforms) find their origin or in the webcast arena or in the digital design groups, while not many combine both components right from the start. And that is a fundamental strength; content is king – not only for live events but also for virtual events and if you can top that with a nice and easy design. And integrate web 2.0 components, you have your ducks in a row for a nice solution. InXpo has that. It is not the first time that I mention here that I like their platform (disclaimer: while I have nothing to do with them).

I am more interested in the future and there Malcolm is the first person who was able to identify several opportunities and possibilities for any VEP. It is not just about a virtual trade show, it is not just about building an online copy of a physical event. It is more.

VEP could grow into virtual community platforms where people connect and discuss topics with common interest. And a VEP can grow into a content library platform where people easily can find content, search and connect. Wouldn’t it be nice if all video content of a company’s website would be hosted in the same VEP? Wouldn’t it be nice if people could interact about this content (doc library) on the same VEP? Wouldn’t that be an opportunity for any VEP?

Oneliner #6

“If you live with high expectations and dare to follow your dreams, you always get more than you can hope for.”

Keep up your motivation, continue to dream and have high expectations, even in difficult (economic) times.

Cisco Live Networkers: Virtual Event Results

2 months ago I wrote about Cisco Live Networkers: A Hybrid Approach. Over the summer Cisco has provided key learnings in 2 blogposts including results and number of attendees (Virtual Events Key Learnings Part One and Part Two).

I agree with their 3 learnings from part one, meaning:

  • You can never start the strategy planning early enough. Basically, if you don’t know at the start what and why you do something, you should never start it. And secondly, a virtual event IS an event and needs a similar way of planning.
  • Provide support: monitor if things are working (use Twitter as a back channel for example) and act accordingly in a true sense of customer service and experience. Social media can be a medium for that. Technology sucks if it doesn’t work and people get a poor support experience.
  • Maximize your opportunities: in other words, take a hybrid approach and do different things live and online. Be creative and go experimental.

I am less impressed by the 5 learnings out of post two. “Reporting” and “monitoring” is something each marketing campaign should have. “Support” and “Immersion” goes back to the second and third learning out of post one. And finally I agree with “Usability“.

I am positive about the attendee numbers. Some content was freely available and for the whole conference content you needed to pay a subscription fee (which is a great way not to capitalize on live attendees and helps pay for the virtual event platform). Happy to see it worked for Cisco.

Nice case study and thanks to Cisco for open and honest communication about learnings and attendee numbers.