Browsing articles in "Marketing"
Apr 6, 2009
csalomonlee

PRMM Interview: Jeff Stai of Twisted Oak Winery

As I mentioned in my post about tips for your youtube video, I am experimenting more with the power of video. When possible, I will interview interesting individuals and their marketing (this includes social media and public relations) campaigns. My inaugural video is with Jeff Stai, Owner of the Twisted Oak Winery. He is known as @eljefetwisted on Twitter and El Jefe on the El Bloggo Torcido (Twisted Oak blog).

Jeff is a very personable guy and I think this personality is the key to his winery’s success. He has developed a loyal following of wine lovers (I’m a new fan) through social media. To me, the net net of Jeff’s success is that social media allowed him to connect with his fans and create a community that is engaged with the winery.

Isn’t that what ALL of us are trying to do with marketing?

 

Apr 2, 2009
csalomonlee

Three Tips for Your YouTube Video

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been experimenting more with video. It’s visual and can communicate a lot in a short span of time. I want to share three tips that I’ve learned over the past few weeks for your http://www.YouTube.com/ videos.

 

The Quality Vs. Content Dilemma

There are two camps on the quality of the video versus the content. Some insist that the video be high-production quality while others (like me) believe that slighter lower quality with good content is fine. I prefer the latter because I’ve seen videos held up because of delays with production. By the time the video is “production quality,” you may have missed an opportunity to lead with quality content.

I argue that as long as you have quality content, your viewers are willing to sacrifice a little quality.

Engaging Spokesperson

When doing a video, the spokesperson is just as important as the content. You may have the best content but if the person is unable to deliver it convincingly and in an engaging way, people may stop the video and go elsewhere.

 

Distributing the Video

The last part is how to distribute your video. I’ve personally defaulted to YouTube and I believe that YouTube is becoming a place for business videos too. For those who may not want to watch the video, consider writing an accompanying post that summarizes the key points. Instead of a social media press release, I recommend issuing a press release that points to a page that has the video on your website alongside with other relevant content.

 

Conclusions

Since starting my new job, I haven’t had much time to devote to my blog. To me, video may be a way for me to capture my thoughts and introduce you to folks in the industry as well. Let’s see how this works. What do you think? Do you like the videos or prefer my written posts?

 

Side Note – Flip mini HD

So I just bought the Flip mini HD to post higher quality video while not breaking the bank. I like the little camera, but I thought I had uploaded a HD quality video. Because the Flip software doesn’t have many editing options,I imported the video to the Windows Movie Maker program that came with my computer. The video played well on my computer but I lost something as it was uploaded. I think I may take a page from my friend John Welsh, who just records and posts the whole video without any editing.

Mar 17, 2009
csalomonlee

SiriusDecisions Reseach: Implications for B2B Marketers

Per a press release by Sirius Decisions, the research finds that best-in-class companies are “…rejecting a ‘defensive posture’ by still working to close deals or at least lay groundwork for future business despite buyer anxiety and retrenchment,” notes Alden Cushman, SiriusDecisions’ research director and benchmarking analyst.”

The goal is to position the company for when the economic upswing happens. Key points in the release included.

 - 44 percent to reduce marketing spend for 2009

 - 25 percent will report flat spending

- Spending on advertising will decline by 17 percent and events down by 12 percent

- Focus is moving from lead generation to lead maturation

Next steps for your marketing efforts

What does this mean for you?

* Be very clear about who your target audience is and what influences this audience to make a purchase decision which means

* Refine your definition of a “sales-ready” lead by communicating with your sales team

* Create an aggressive lead nurturing program to move prospects through the funnel to deliver “sales-ready” leads to your salesforce

* Take this opportunity to leapfrog your competition by investing in areas that will increase your company’s awareness and value proposition to your key audiences

What other recommendations would you make?

Mar 5, 2009
csalomonlee

Measuring The Cost of Bad or Good Online Reputation

By noblelgnoble via flickr

By noblelgnoble via flickr

 

 

I received this question from Nathalie Seoteman after she read my free ebook on using social media: 

How [can you] calculate the value of a company’s online reputation and (marketing) PR 2.0 efforts? What did these activities produce, put in figures and – preferably – in euro’s/dollars? I would like to include both the reputation damage that has been diverted and the positive/negative/neutral online coverage that has been created.

This raises an interesting and very complex question. There will inevitably be tangible and intangible ways to measure the value.

 

Measuring Positive and Negative Reactions

Assuming that you’re using a tool like Trackur, Radian6 or just Google alerts to track your coverage, the first thing you have to segment the coverage by what Radian6 calls sentiment – negative, neutral or positive. Once you’ve done this for media coverage, video responses, Twitter responses, blogs postings and more, you can get a visual representation of the sentiment over time.

The question then is how do you assign a monetary value to this. One way is to use ad equivalence, which is how much would it have cost you to advertise in a magazine for the same space. The obvious drawback is that this will not cover a significant portion of your coverage and you have to do the time consuming research to find the ad values. But let’s assume that this works for 40% of the videos, blogs and media coverage out there. How do you measure the remaining 60%?

The Value of a Single Customer Won or Lost

I am assuming that you have a sense of your sales pipeline and what the average deal size (let’s keep this simple, ok? =). If you delved into the content of what is being said, how many would say they would 1) hire your company; 2) never work with your company again or 3) are neutral.

I’m making a huge assumption that each person is a potential customer regardless of their company affiliation and title. For example, there are over 589,000 fans on the Skittles Facebook page. If I assumed that each person bought at least one Skittles product that cost $0.75, then the potential value would be $448,500.

You can then do the same with your business: positive = gain average deal size, neutral = zero, negative = costs you average deal size

Conclusions: Not an Exact Science, Yet

I admit that I am ignoring the relative influence and weight of differing outlets, people or prominence of coverage. I also know that not everything can be easily dissected into the three sentiments I highlighted above. But frankly, I didn’t want to turn this posting into an essay ;)

While technology is catching up to help automate the process, I believe that there is still a very manual process involved to evaluate the coverage, put it into the appropriate bucket and then assign a value to it. Hence, I recommend that you start simply – take the most simple measurement and build upon it over time. Otherwise, you may find yourself spending more time assembling reports about your online reputation versus managing it directly.

In the end, there is no right answer for measuring the value of bad or good online reputation management. I hope the above provides a starting point for those seeking to calculate this value.  

I would love to hear of how others would go about calculating the value of bad and good online reputation.

 

The “formulas”

Positive Ad Equivalence – Negative Ad equivalence = Total Ad Equivalence

Potential Customer Deal Won – Potential Customer Deal Lost = Value of Potential Customer Deal

Total Ad Equivalence + Potential Customer Deal = Total Value of Positive/Negative Online Reputation

Feb 24, 2009
csalomonlee

Online Reputation Management: Radian6

Online reputation management is an increasingly complicated process with the prevalence of online media, offline media, and social media. I previously wrote a post about Trackur and had the opportunity to see a demo of Radian6‘ solution. I was very impressed with the sophistication of what Radian6 has put together.

Photo courtesy of Radian6

Photo courtesy of Radian6

General Capabilities

Radian6 seems to have a very comprehensive search capability through different types of media. The results are presented by publication date. I liked how the service provides a social profile of each media outlet, such as blogger info or Twitter followers/following/updates. You can quickly scan the results to determine “influence weight” (more on that below). You can also set up different searches to monitor your company, competitors and different topics.

Share of Conversation

I liked how Radian6 is able to pull info to create what they call share of conversation. It’s similar to “influence” but goes deeper to determine your share of voice on particular topics. Radian6 will do one time topic pull of the past 6 months to create a baseline. This way, you can track which how your marketing, PR and social media activities have impacted the company’s online reputation over time.

The basics are:

- River of news – this is all the mentions that you’ve received based on the criteria you set up for the search

- Influence widget – you have the ability to weight different criteria, for example number of inbound links, (what are other criteria).

- Trending – you can view the data in aggregate to spot trends. For example, did a free eBook create a spike on Twitter with retweets or a press release increase the online mentions through your news distribution.

- Conversation clouds – you can further drill down to see conversation clouds (similar to tag clouds), which allow you to sense keywords around a particular topic, company, etc.

- Reporting – the information can then be exported into different formats. You can send out a dashboard report and two of the widgets twice a day.

CRM Management

I like how Radian6 has incorporated a CRM flow to manage possible sales leads. For example, a dashboard is created to track key phrases, such as “online management tool”. Depending on the context, the lead generation manager can review and assign certain items to sales people. That is how Radian6 first identified me as a possible lead after my post about Trackur.

There is then an audit trail to determine the status of assigned items. While this isn’t linked to a larger CRM system like Salesforce, this is a nifty function to have for marketing and sales. It provides accountability and a steady source of prospective leads from multiple sources. Imagine that!

Conclusions

While the pricing is only a few hundred a month, it is more appropriate for larger companies or agencies (PR and marketing consultancies). The former can absorb the minimal cost while the latter will pass it on to their clients. SMBs or start-ups with tighter budgets may opp to forgo this in favor of other programs.

With all the ways the data can be viewed, I would be interested in seeing an executive dashboard that is a high-level breakdown on how a company’s share of conversation has evolved overtime. And if there was a way for a marketer to assign value to different campaigns, track the progress of “conversation” and then calculate ROI, that would be very interesting indeed.

Quick Overview:

Accuracy: As this was a demo, I cannot determine the level of accuracy. With that said, I do give Radian6 kudos for incorporating a variety of media types.

Ease of Use: 5 out of 5

Cost: Reasonable for companies, wished there was SMB Pricing. Non-profit pricing is available.

Feb 17, 2009
csalomonlee

Would YOU Trust a PR Agency Not Involved in Social Media with YOUR Social Media Programs?

A lot of PR firms are stating that they have social media capabilities and can help develop your strategy in this arena. So I thought, how many are actually practicing what they’re preaching?

I decided to see which PR firms were actively participating in social media. [update 2/20/09] I initially evaluated PR firms listed on O’Dwyer’s list of top 100 independent PR firms. This list was based on worldwide fees for firms with major US operations. As such, some prominent firms, such as Ogilvy & Mather, Ketchum PR and others. Since this post was published, the list has been exanded to include firms that have proactively included information in the comments or email. It is now sorted alphabetically and includes different types of firms, such as IR, healthcare and technology.

Some points to keep in mind:

- I looked at if the agency had a blog, Twitter profile, Facebook page (both group and/or fan), LinkedIn Group

- While there are individuals within each agency who have great online presences, I was seeking corporate presence. So some fields may be marked as “none” as a result

- And since I did this myself, I was trying to maximize my time:

* I didn’t categorize the type of PR each firm did – I took the list at its word

* If the blog wasn’t listed on the home page or easily found via a sitemap, I assumed there was none or you don’t really want me to find your blog

* I searched on the agency’s name or common abbreviation as presented on their website. Anything more exotic or too cute, would not have been found

* For Twitter, I used Twitter search or tried to manually type in what seemed like an appropriate Twitter handle

* I used the group search functions found on Facebook and LinkedIn respectively

* I decided not to look at other sites like delicious, slideshare.net, flickr, etc., frankly, because I was doing this myself =); however, I did include it if the agency made it easy to find 

Interesting Findings:

- Almost all of the agencies did NOT link to their profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. from their website. I would’ve expected this on their Contact Us page or linked from the Blog but this was very rare.

- While those who had blogs did a good job of putting the blog link front and center on the home page, some were too cute and hid the link under a different section of the website. If you’re one of these agencies and I found your blog regardless, it’s because it was listed on your site map.

- 39 agencies had blogs; 28 had Twitter profiles with one having a hashtag but no Twitter profile; 35 agencies had Facebook Group pages with two establishing fan pages; and 25 had LinkedIn Group pages while two created company pages

So let’s see how this little experiment works. If you’re a PR agency and I have incorrect information, please provide the corrections below or write a post that links back. I will then update the listing as quickly as I can. And if you have accounts with Flickr, YouTube and Slideshare.net, let me know.

But If you don’t have a social media presence, tell me why. I want to give folks the benefit of doubt. I was able to format the list into a table below captured the list in a jpg (couldn’t get it to format correctly, sorry!) or you can download a pdf version of this list. visit the public wiki and make changes to the table.

Table of PR Firms and Social Media Presence

Update: 2/19/09 – This table was updated to be in alphabetical order, includes additional PR firms not on the original list, and eliminates “none” from the table. You can also visit the PR Firms Social Media Public Wiki to make changes.

PR Agency Corporate Blog Corporate Twitter Individual Twitter Facebook Page LinkedIn Group

Additional

5W Public Relations, New CEO Blog Ronn Torossian’s Group (469 members), 5WPR Group (5 members)

YouTube Page

Access Comms., San Francisco The Access Point and PR Measurist @AccessPR: 14 followers Corporate group page Current and former employees

Airfoil PR, Inc., Detroit Airfoil Public Relations @AirfoilPR – 15 followers

Allison & Partners, San Francisco updated 3/10/09 @AllisonPR 30+ indiviual feeds Corporate Group Page

YouTube Page

APCO Worldwide, Wash., DC Unable to find blog @APCOJobs – 2 followers (protected account) A few groups for summer interns but no corporate page APCO Alumni

Atomic PR, San Francisco Particles

Bader Rutter, Brookfield, WI Former employees page

Bender/Helper Impact, Los Angeles BHI Alumni Society

Bite Communications, San Francisco bitemark @BitePR: 340 followers; @bitesweden Bite Communications US – HR, Bite Communications UK – HR, Bite Communications is HIRING!, Bite Sweden, Bite Alumni Company LinkedIn page

YouTube Channel; Flickr

Bliss PR (formerly Bliss Gouverneur & Assocs.), New York @BlissPR – 0 followers

Burson-Marsteller The Burson-Marsteller Blog @bmdigital and @bmglobalnews B-M on Facebook LinkedIn Group Social media spaces on the Digital Perspective Blog
Capstrat, Raleigh, NC Filed Notes #Capstrat update 5/10/2009 @rharris, and others:
@kalbritton
@cord
@stevenkeith
@tarheelevan
@oombrella
Capstrat Friends

Cerrell Assocs., Los Angeles

Comms. Strategies, Madison, NJ

Consensus Planning Group, Los Angeles The Front Porch – hyperlink wasn’t working

Cooney/Waters Group, New York

CooperKatz & Co., New York What’s New

Coyne PR, Parsippany, NJ CoyneExchange @CoynePR – 106 followers Corporate group page Company Page

YouTube Channel, Flickr Channel

Upated: 2/22/09 Crenshaw Communications, New York

(Formerly Stanton Crenshaw Comms. – On Feb 9, 2009, became Crenshaw Communications. I have focused only on this brand for the search.)

imPRessions
@CrenshawComm – 1 3 followers Corporate group page Company Page

CRT/tanaka, Richmond, VA What we are thinking about @CRTTanaka – 25 followers Corporate group page Friends of CRT/Tanaka and CRT/Tanaka Public Relations and Marketing

Cubitt Jacobs & Prosek, Stratford, CT Clever Witty Quick Corporate group page CJP Client, Employee and Alumni Group

Cushman/Amberg Comms., Chicago Corporate group page Cushmaniacs

Dan Klores Comms., New York

Davies Murphy Group, Burlington, MA

Davies, Santa Barbara, CA Corporate group page Employees and Clients Group

Development Counsellors Int’l., New York DCI Dialogue Development Counsellors International Group Page

Dye, Van Mol & Lawrence, Nashville, TN

Edelman, New York Speak Up, Pioneer Thinking Multiple: @EdelmanDigital, @EngageinHealth, @EdelmaninMIA, @EdelmanDE, @EdelmanSweden @steverubel, @philgomes, @rickmurray, @marshallmanson, @luebue Edelman Groups for China, Edelman Change and Employee Engagement, Edelman Poland, and Edelman Australia Alumni Past & Present Edelman Employees

Edward Howard & Co., Cleveland @EdwardHoward – not sure if this is for the agency. 0 followers Corporate group page

Formula PR, San Diego Formula PR Group

French|West|Vaughan, Raleigh, NC French/West/Vaughan Alumni

Has a Second Life office

Gibbs & Soell, New York

Gregory FCA Comms., Ardmore, PA

GYMR, Wash., DC Alumni Page

Hager Sharp, Inc., Wash., DC

Healthstar, New York – could not get to the website

Hill & Knowlton Collective Conversation Blogs

Hunter PR, New York

ICR (formerly Integrated Corp. Rels.), Westport, CT ICR Blogs – seems to be several topics under one URL @ICR – no followers

Imre Comms., Towson, MD

Intermarket, NY

Jackson Spalding, Atlanta

Jasculca/Terman & Assocs., Chicago

Kaplow Comms., New York Kaplow Global

KCSA Strategic Comms., New York KCSA Worldwide Interns

KGBTexas Public Relations / Advertising , San Antonio Texas @Kgbtexas:238 followers

Kwittken & Co., New York

LaunchSquad, San Francisco, CA (updated 2/22/09) What’s New, Exclamation Blog, Green Amy, Searching for Savvy @launchsquad – 215 followers @jmandell @throck @brettweiner @sistaklein Corporate Group Page Company Page

YouTube Page

L.C. Williams & Assocs., Chicago

Levick Strategic Coms., Wash., D.C. Bullet Proof

update 5/10/09

@richardlevick

@dallaslawrence

@crisisguru

LinkedIn Page

YouTube

Lewis Public Relations, San Francisco Lewis 360 @Lewispr – 50 followers Corporate group page Lewis Global Public Relations Group

Linden Alschuler & Kaplan, New York

Lippert/Heilshorn Assocs, New York

Lois Paul & Partners Beyond the Hype

@Tweismann: 217 followers Corporate group page

Flickr

Lou Hammond & Assocs., New York

M Booth & Assocs., New York FWD Thinking

@mrinklin

Flickr

M. Silver Assocs., New York M. Silver Associates Blog

Makovsky & Co., New York Mckovsky + Company Alumni Associaton Group Mckovsky + Company Alumni Association

Maloney & Fox, New York

Marx Layne & Co., Farmington Hills, MI Responsive, Individualized Results @Marxlayne – 16 followers Corporate group page Marx Layne & Co Small Business Development Forum

Matter Communications, Boston

McNeelly Pigott & Fox, Nashville, TN Corporate group page MP&F Group page

MCS, Bedminster, N.J.

Merritt Group, Reston, VA Merritt Blog @MerrittGroup – 65 followers

Morgan & Myers, Jefferson, WI

New Media Strategies NMS Blog

(update 2/22/09)

@NMSosphere

NMS has several employees who participate in social media. NMS Fan Page NMS Group Page on LinkedIn

Delicious, Flickr, YouTube, FriendFeed

New West, Louisville, KY new.west blog

Padilla Speer Beardsley, Minneapolis The Lead Current and former employees

Page One PR, Palo Alto, CA The Page Wonders @Pageonepr – 109 followers Corporate group page Company LinkedIn page

YouTube channel

PAN Communications, Andover, MA @PANcomm – 74 followers

Peppercom, New York Reason Enough

Pierpont Comms., Houston Pierpontifications @PierpontCom – 98 followers

Porter Novelli Multiple blogs @porternovelli, @pndigital, @pn_atx, @marjinalpn, @pn_chile, @pn_uk

Corporate group page LinkedIn Alumni Group, and group for our London office

Flickr, Delicious

Public Communications, Chicago @PCI – 0 followers

Qorvis Comms., Wash., DC The Q @Qorvis: no followers Corporate group page

Quinn & Co., New York @Quinnandco – 225 followers

Rasky Baerlein, Boston update: 5/10/09 @betsykelly
@laurenChisolm
@bethbres13
Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications

rbb Public Relations, Miami Careers Page

Regan Comms., Boston

RF | Binder Partners, New York RF/Binder Partners

Rogers Group, Los Angeles The Rogers Group Employees, Past and Present

Ron Sachs Comms., Tallahassee, FL Several blogs – Ron, Michelle, Ryan, Alia and Sachs

Ruder Finn Group, New York Ethics Blog, (Updated 2/22/09) Left Brain, Right Brain, RF Voices, Communicating Promise (Middle East), Dot Org (UK), Dot Comms (UK) @RuderFinn – 2 followers, @RuderFinnUK – 207 followers Four group pages for China, Healthcare Group, Israel and corporate

S&S Public Relations, Glenview, IL public relations evolved @SSPR – 40 followers

Schneider Assocs., Boston Internship Page and Intern Group

Schwartz Comms., Waltham, MA Schwartz Blog @Schwartz – 0 followers (protected account) Corporate group page

Shelton Group, Dallas -

Shift Communications, Brighton, MA PR-Squared, slice snackable PR Group Page

Spark PR, San Francisco sparkpr blog

updated 3/12/09 @ paulasantos

@ donnasokolsky

@americanadian

@syreetam

@timrturpin

@rbremer

@clarissaspark

@jacqattack

@jamiewalker19

@ilikegranola

@koodot0

@otnerak

@sparkpr_katie

@chansamerica

@mattmarquess

Corporate group page Sparkpr Company Profile

Spectrum Science Comms., Wash., DC The Spectrum Blog @SpectrumScience – 48 followers Groups for the company, Summer 2008 and Staff Spectrum Science Communications Group

Spring O’Brien & Co., New York

Sterling Communications, Los Gatos, CA Gearheads @SterlingPR – 108 followers Corporate group page Company Page

Upate (2/22/09) Delicious, Flickr, FriendFeed, YouTube,

Taylor, New York /

Text 100 Int’l., San Francisco HYPERText, London, Sydney, Malaysia @Text100: Over 600 followers Hong Kong, London, Madrid 1, Madrid2, Bangalore Text 100 Alumni

Second Life

The Edison Group, Atlanta Corporate group page Company Page

The Hoffman Agency, San Jose, CA Ismael’s Corner

The Horn Group, San Francisco Brass Tacks HornGroup – 3 followers Several groups for PR Horn Group Alumni

The Jeffrey Group, Miami

The Standing Partnership, St. Louis, MO Where do you stand? @Susanisk: 668 followers Corporate group page Standing Partnership Group Page

Vollmer, Houston

Waggener Edstrom, Bellevue, WA Multiple blogs written by several individuals @WaggenerEdstrom – 513 followers Fan page, Careers With Waggener Edstrom Waggener Edstrom Worldwide

WeissComm Partners, San Francisco

Widmeyer Comms., Wash., DC Corporate group page

William Mills Agency, Atlanta Financial Industry Marketing Blog @Wmagency – 34 2 followers (updated 2/22/09) Multiple…Pres Scott Mills’, Network Facebook Group Corporate Group Page

Winning Strategies PR, Newark

Wragg & Casas PR, Miami

Zeno Group Zeno | acropolis Corporate group page

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Feb 10, 2009
csalomonlee

Going Virtual Isn’t Necessarily the Answer to Replacing Your Physical Events

 Part of this is due to the heightened scrutiny on how financial institutions are spending money since the financial meltdown. Starting with AIG and now with Morgan Stanley’s announcement, public corporations are weary of holding large “destination” events that are seen as too extravagant. In addition to outright canceling these events, this is giving rise to virtual events.

InXpo Office Space

InXpo Office Space

I’ve been noticing an interesting trend in my LinkedIn discussions recently. People are concerned about the decline of attendance at physical events or the outright cancellation of these events. Event organizers from publishers to corporate planners are struggling with how to maintain relevancy at a time when the bottom line is ruling decisions about corporate events.

Are Virtual Events the Answer?

Nortel's Web.Alive Platform

Nortel's Web.Alive Platform

Virtual events are seen as more cost-effective for both the company and attendees – no travel, no lodging, and no catering costs. Furthermore, there are various technology tools available to ease person-to-person communications or to recreate a networking environment.

While I am a huge advocate of virtual events ranging from online seminars, virtual summits, virtual tradeshows to conferences and sales meetings, I do believe that going virtual isn’t necessarily the right answer for everyone. Instead, if you take a step back and look at the larger picture, there may be other options available to you and your customers.

Questions to Ask

  • What is the objective of your event? – Determine why you’re holding this event. Is this an employee motivation get together, a white-glove customer event or a sales training meeting. I would argue that a white-glove customer event is important for future business while a sales training meeting can easily be moved to an online format. As for the employee motivation get together, this can be done in a hybrid approach which I will describe below.

  • How technically savvy is your audience? - If you decide to do a virtual event, you have to confirm that your audience is computer literate and has access to the minimal computer requirements. For example, my sister is a nurse. While she has access to a personal computer, her hospital doesn’t. So you have to consider the logistics of holding an online event with these constraints and how your audience will be able to view and interact with your content.

  • Will your audience prefer in-person, virtual only or both? – In addition to technical savvy, another consideration is how your audience prefers to interact. If they prefer in-person, then you can consider other ways to provide an in-person experience while minimizing cost considerations.

  • Why not a hybrid approach? – I think one overlooked strategy is looking at what I call a hybrid approach – an in-person event with a virtual component. This approach works when a core segment of your audience prefers in-person events for educational networking purposes, while another segment may be unable to attend due to personal, professional or cost reasons. I also believe that this works when looking at corporate events. For example, Cisco announced that they were canceling their global sales meeting in favor of a virtual event. Assuming that one of the main reasons for a sales meeting is to recognize your top sales folks, you can still hold regional in-person events to recognize these individuals or have an invite-only webcast with the CEO. This imparts exclusivity, while holding a virtual event for general sales training.

  • If you decide to go virtual, then what tools are there to facilitate your objective? – There are many virtual trade show and world vendors on the market, such as InXpo, UnisfairNortel’s web.alive and even Second Life, who can work with you to build out the right environment. Alternatively, you can start small with a web conferencing type of solution to create a webinar program. Regardless of how you decide to proceed, you can then layer social media tools (many are free) to further engage your audiences. And if this is truly a dedicated audience, possibly nurture a community built from the event itself.

Conclusions

Right now, the first reaction is how to cut costs by eliminating physical events. Furthermore, the current market conditions will enable virtual worlds/events vendors to grow and demonstrate the true value of going virtual.

I believe that as companies and event organizers take a step back, people will realize that there are different options available to them to achieve the same objectives cost-effectively.

 

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About

Cece Salomon-LeeCece Salomon-Lee is director of product marketing for Lanyon Solutions, Inc. and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.

This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.

Learn more about Cece.

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