With LiNC 2010 just a week away, we're opening up the Lithosphere for a set of Guest Blogs by a number of our presenters, sponsors and partners, to get their view on the event, the industry and what has got them excited.
Sara Brewer is Senior Marketing Manager, Channels and Strategic Accounts at ON24 and is responsible for managing the company's online community and identifying best practices and methodology for incorporating the community into ON24's own virtual events. You can follow ON24 on Twitter
I come from a physical events background and spent my early years in marketing as what I would call a “tradeshow guru”—traveling the globe, setting up booths, schlepping boxes and scanning badges. I had elite flying privileges and racked up enough airline and hotel points to foot the bill for a few fabulous vacations—all in the name of leads! However, in recent years, the event marketplace has undergone a huge paradigm shift. That’s why I joined ON24 earlier this year and officially jumped on the virtual events bandwagon. Sure, I had attended a few and even hosted some virtual events of my own in the past, but it was becoming more and more obvious that the way I had done lead generation in the past was not gonna fly in the future…literally.
The one bright spot of the economic downturn was the impact it had on the virtual event space. As companies worked to massively reduce their budgets, travel was the first thing to be slashed, and companies were appropriately adjusting by replacing in-person physical events with a bevy of online alternatives—including webcasts and virtual shows. The benefits of virtual events allowed companies to connect people around the world, save money and cut down on travel costs and time, while also reducing the company’s global footprint. Pretty impressive!
We recognize that the world is not as it was a few years ago with people (including me) jet setting the globe to attend conferences and meetings. We’ve become familiar with online events and actually quite enjoy the convenience of attending from our desks while still getting the benefits of interacting with fellow attendees. So how do we keep this momentum going as the economy improves?
The key is in harnessing other virtual technologies like communities. Truly a perfect fit for the virtual event world, communities can be integrated with virtual events in a very symbiotic way. By integrating an online community into a virtual event, you are both driving attendees from the event to check out the community and driving attendance to the event from community members. Tying the community to the event gives all attendees, registrants and members the ability to chat, share ideas and provide feedback before, during and after the live event, thus extending the life of the virtual event and bringing more value to the end user. Not a bad idea, huh?
I am looking forward to the Lithium conference next week to learn more about integrating the virtual world into our business practices, further distancing me from the “tradeshow guru” I once was and turning me into the “virtual event guru” I aim to be.