Browsing articles in "PRMM Interview"
Dec 17, 2010
Cece Salomon-Lee

PRMM Interview Part 2: Dannette Veale of Cisco on Mobility

Last week, I spoke with Dannette Veale of Cisco regarding how Cisco is leverainge virtual and new technologies for their events and conferences. This week, Dannette shares her predictions for 2011.

It’s the time of year for 2011 predictions. What do you see in store for the industry in 2011 and which technology(ies) do you think will gain popularity?

I see mobility as being the big one and will start looking at that. We leveraged Ustream last year and have a lot of interest with the mobile app for Ustream iPhone. I also think that with the onset of tablets and number of tablets being put out by Samsung and Apple, we will see a huge amount of event tools and experience extended out to mobile, especially tablets.  We will see people go beyond the provider mobile applications and opt for white label applications for mobile to create a push-pull opportunity.

For example, download a hypothetical Cisco Live mobile app that will notify the user of updates to content, new contests and upcoming live events they can watch via their mobile device. This type of mobile application could be leveraged as an audience acquisition tool. If I’m not reaching you via the event web site, direct email or social media, but you’ve downloaded my app, then those individuals will be notified of updates. They are invested as they downloaded the app already. This will be a key way to distribute live video for hybrid events.

I also see mobile for event management taking off tenfold – the ability to monitor traffic to various areas with physical security reading back to data analytic tool, 40% of audience in auditorium or 60% in tradeshow floor, is a powerful tool for an event operations team. From an event management perspective, you’ll have real-time results for key surveys on key session and prize notifications on basic level, etc.

I see mobile becoming an intrinsic tool that event managemers will really be able to leverage to manage the event and do that analysis. It simply makes them more nimble.

The unconference will be realized as well, and mobile can help with this. You can watch the video,  translate and ease the conference experience with maps on their device. Add to this a way to heat map where the traffic levels are, extending this function to your buddies and contacts, you can enhance the virtual experience or promote friending at a physical event itself.  You’re able to see when people are online or physically at a specific location.  In a large conference where there are many people, you can only send a small group of people to the event and the social gatherings are around their co-workers for dinner and other activities. The social mobile tools now give them the access to make and find connections.

The event experience will increase as a whole.

Dannette Veale’s Bio

As the virtual and social technology strategist for Cisco’s Global Sales Experience (GSX), Dannette Veale lives and breathes new media. Prior to her role on the GSX team Dannette lead the creation and drove the strategy for the award winning Cisco Live and Networkers virtual program. Dannette has also managed global online and virtual programs for a variety of Cisco groups; most notably emerging markets. When she’s not evangelizing the use of virtual environments to extend the reach of an event and broaden the overall audience demographic participating, you’ll find Dannette engaged in such varied hobbies as producing streaming media, designing Web sites, or watching classic films such as Blade Runner. Outside of her daily immersion in the bleeding edge of collaborative media, Dannette’s also been known to partake in such real world activities as gardening, baking, and knitting;while watching cyberpunk anime, of course.

Dec 10, 2010
Cece Salomon-Lee

PRMM Interview Part 1: Dannette Veale of Cisco on Innovative Virtual Events

Following previous interviews with key virtual event vendors, I interviewed Dannette Veale, Virtual & Social Technology Strategist, Global Sales Experience (GSX) of Cisco, to get an end-user perspective about virtual events and what technology innovations we can anticipate. Now a member of the Cisco Global Sales Experience team, Dannette previously produced the global Cisco Live and Networkers conferences as hybrid events. She will be speaking at the Virtual Edge Summit on future trends for virtual and hybrid events on January 12, 2011 from 2:15 – 3:00 pm.

In Part 1, we discussed virtual events, the pros and cons of being an innovator, and how Cisco leveraged several technologies for the Cisco Live hybrid events. In part 2, to be published next week, Dannette shared her predictions for events in 2011. Hint: it’s about mobility. Please leave any questions you have for Dannette in the comments.

How are virtual events being leveraged within Cisco?

Cisco leverages virtual in many ways.  We have flagship events like Cisco Live, which is annual user event with several points around the world, and Partner Summit event, which is our single point of activity for partner communities. And there are internal events, like the Strategic Leadership Offsite (SLO) and GSX (Global Sales Experience). We see virtual as a way to most cost-effectively take event activities to a mass audience.

For majority, Partner Summit and Cisco Live events around the globe, are physical events that are hybrid to extend the activity to a worldwide audience. There is some unique programming for virtual audiences. We don’t clone or repeat everything at physical event. We look at what will translate to the virtual and opportunities to create an experience that can’t be done at the physical event.

For example, keynotes are always presented at Cisco Live and taken to virtual audience. Virtual provides a unique or intimate experience for a post keynote chat session. Keynote speaker goes into a room to have a dialogue with the audience for questions that came up during the keynote. We leverage a space that the speaker can do an intimate chat with 10K people on site in Las Vegas and 30k+ people attending virtually.

That is where we see how virtual offers opportunities that you can’t facilitate at the  physical.And some in the physical won’t translate well into virtual. We have a technical solutions clinic on site at Cisco Live for attendees to visit on an ad hoc basis to work with Cisco support regarding deployment issues. In the technical solutions clinic the primary source for sharing information is a white board, this format is difficult to translate virtually. Therefore we have a modified version for virtual that we call the Ask the Expert Center, providing this on a schedule basis versus intervals. When you have 10-15K onsite, there will be plenty of foot traffic to the technical solutions clinic. In the virtual environment, the open-ended aspect doesn’t work as well and virtual attendees respond better with scheduled activities, such as ask-the-expert activities.

You’re incorporating several innovative technologies, such as augmented reality and QR codes. What are your recommendations for others considering using technology for their events? Pros and cons?

We haven’t rolled out some of the technology you mentioned. We had augmented reality (AR) featured at Cisco Live Europe 2010 with keynote speaker, Prof. Bruce Thomas, and used some AR tools on stage to demo power. But we haven’t done what I feel we can do to integrate this on the tradeshow floor.

We also haven’t done a lot with QR codes, and I have blogged a lot about how to leverage it for an event. Rather, we’ve leveraged more social tools like geo-location with Foursquare and DoubleDutch (white-labeled) for Cisco events.  We’ve also used Ustream with Facebook and Twitter. 

While we haven’t done much for events yet, we can push the envelope with AR and I would love to see a on site and virtual blended scavenger hunt leveraging QR codes, but not at this time.

What are the pros or cons of doing this?

Pro is that we were first – a trailblazer for virtual event opportunities in general. Use that as the specific pro and con for technology.

As an early adopter, we can have a much more dynamic effect on the evolution of that industry and technology offer. There is something to be said about partnering with the companies on these technologies to evangelize the business prospect regarding what we need from these technologies. The earlier we participate on this, the more influence we can have on their long-term road maps.

Con is that sometimes things don’t work. Once we’ve done it and publicized, we have to be ok with saying that it didn’t work. For example I have some blogs about gaming implementation for CiscoLive 2010. Some goals that were on the scope couldn’t’ be realized within the timeframe of deployment. We had to be ok with saying that we didn’t meet all the objectives and met 50% of them, while pursuing the other later. That can be perceived as a con – I don’t personally see this as a con and think it’s about being a good thought leader in the space. 

Dannette Veale’s Bio

As the virtual and social technology strategist for Cisco’s Global Sales Experience (GSX), Dannette Veale lives and breathes new media. Prior to her role on the GSX team Dannette lead the creation and drove the strategy for the award winning Cisco Live and Networkers virtual program. Dannette has also managed global online and virtual programs for a variety of Cisco groups; most notably emerging markets. When she’s not evangelizing the use of virtual environments to extend the reach of an event and broaden the overall audience demographic participating, you’ll find Dannette engaged in such varied hobbies as producing streaming media, designing Web sites, or watching classic films such as Blade Runner. Outside of her daily immersion in the bleeding edge of collaborative media, Dannette’s also been known to partake in such real world activities as gardening, baking, and knitting;while watching cyberpunk anime, of course.

Nov 19, 2010
Cece Salomon-Lee

PRMM Interview – Scott Kellner of 6Connex on Virtual Events

Scott Kellner of 6Connex

Every Friday, I try to interview an industry expert to provide insight on their industry. This week on PRMM Interview, I interview Scott Kellner, CMO of 6Connex, regarding what the future holds for virtual events and the best way to keep people engaged virtually.

As CMO of 6Connex, Scott is responsible for all communications activities and initiatives for 6Connex, including corporate, product, and channel marketing. He also supervises the 6Connex Service and Support group. Scott brings more than 20 years of marketing leadership to 6Connex. He has established branding and positioning strategies for a variety of companies, both as an agency executive and as senior, corporate marketer. Scott has also implemented the development and training of international reseller networks, managed direct sales organizations, and developed go-to-market, alliance marketing, advertising and PR strategies for companies in industries ranging from entertainment to professional services to consumer packaged goods.

Can you provide a quick intro to 6Connex?

One of the questions we often get is where our name comes from. I think it’s important to cover this because our name underscores our view of the virtual experience industry. The name comes from a combination of: the six degrees of separation connected at a nexus point. As such, our core mission is to connect people with each other, and with relevant content. 

While we formally launched in February of 2009, our beginnings can be traced back to the first, and still the largest, virtual event every produced: AMD’s Virtual Experience (or AVE), which was run on 6Connex technology in 2006, and again in 2007. With just under 1 million unique registrants and statistics like 330,000 video views and more than 600,000 document downloads, it was truly a monumental undertaking. That experience, and the software that powered it, launched the company, though we stayed in stealth mode for two years.

Webinars have become a common lead generation tool for marketers. Can you provide 2-3 reasons why marketers should consider virtual events?

Given the way we’ve architected our platform, we believe marketers should consider virtual experiences for more than just events. That said, webinars are a tremendous tool, but they are usually effective for just a moment in time. While there are varying technologies, their efficacy is brief, and they don’t offer the level of flexibility, measurement, rich media content distribution or social networking that solid virtual platforms do. 

We counsel our customers to use webinars as a key part of virtual experiences, but to also to take advantage of the ongoing presence afforded by virtual platforms to continually reach out to target audiences, refresh content, encourage interaction and create networks of professionals that can benefit from one another’s expertise. 

Some of the best examples of this go beyond mere “events”. We encourage our customers to think in terms of both short and long term objectives, and to utilize the flexibility of virtual technology systems to continually engage their target constituencies. Cisco’s Data Center of the Future, and Siemens’ Navigating Healthcare virtual experiences are great examples of this. Simply put, webinars can do that.

As virtual events become more prevalent, there is a risk of attendee fatigue. What recommendations do you have to keep the experience fresh for attendees?

As many in your audience know, our heritage is not only in software development, but also award-winning interactive strategy and design. 6Connex has created virtual environments and critically acclaimed Web-based gaming programs for Disney, Universal Pictures and ABC, for example, so we understand, at a deep level, things like how to use video effectively, how to create a user experience that’s engaging and meets business objectives, and how to walk the fine line between attendee length of stay and the ease of finding relevant content.

To avoid fatigue, a virtual environment must be both pleasing and intuitive. It must have best in class information architecture, user interface design and be quick to load. But it must also be designed to allow attendees to chart their own path if they want. We believe you avoid weariness by making a virtual experience pleasing to the eye, by enabling people to connect with one another easily and by allowing attendees to encounter content on their own terms.

There seems to be a lot of developments with virtual events. Where do you see the industry going in 2-3 years?

Well, I have to be careful here. I don’t want to tip my hand in terms of what 6Connex has in alpha and beta stages now, though our customers are all in the loop. I will say this: I think better collaborative tools are on the immediate horizon. Improving the effectiveness of virtual platforms will require that providers enable secure, collaborative workspaces for their customers to use.

Another area of innovation centers on video conferencing, for sure. Creating more lifelike environments that complement physical events will continue to be necessary.

Also, integration with physical event technologies will become more important. One great example of this is “pushing” virtual content into a physical space via digital signage. We’re all familiar with “hybrid” events that take in live feeds from physical venue keynote addresses, for example. But we see no reason it cannot work the other way around.

Last, mobile is an obvious area for innovation. The increasing adoption of tablets and personal consoles like the iPad will drive some of this, but the most innovative virtual software providers will seek to push some envelopes in this arena on their own. Stay tuned!

Nov 12, 2010
Cece Salomon-Lee

PRMM Interview – Bob Etheridge Grows Conference via LinkedIn

Bob EtheridgeI belong to several groups in LinkedIn and came across a case study regarding the use of social media to increase membership to a LinkedIn group, which then drove conference attendance. I interviewed Bob Etheridge, social media aficionado, to learn more about his experience.

Bob Etheridge’s background has been primarily in the online recruitment and job board industry. In 1999, he co-founded JobCircle.com, a regional job board in Philadelphia and 2003,  started a physical Job Fair division for the company, thus entering the event production and  marketing world. The economic downturn and lack of hiring had a large impact on the business, so in May, they took their event production experience and created a B to B conference called Social Media Plus, capitalizing on the growth and interest in Social Media. Bob can be reached at bob.etheridge@networksunday.com.

1) We both belong to the same LinkedIn Group and you mentioned how you increased membership to a group you were managing for a conference. Can you provide an overview of what you did?
Yes, creating a Linkedin Group is easy enough, inviting your first degree connections to join the group is also relatively easy.  However, growing your group quickly after that becomes a challenge.

November 21, 2010 – Per Bob’s request, I have replaced the previous text with the below two paragraphs:

We utilized a service called Community Leadership offered by a company called Network Sunday. Network Sunday has virtual assistants that can help you with your Social Media marketing outreach. Network Sunday works with business development  and conference marketing professionals to leverage Linkedin to help grow communities, create awareness and build personal and professional brand.

By joining relevant, Industry specific Linkedin groups using the Advanced People Search engine on Linkedin, we created a targeted list of members who would most likely be interested in learning about Social Media and networking with other Social Media Marketing professionals. We then invited these people, through Linkedin, to join the Social Media Plus Conference group using a simple, straight forward message. The campaign lasted for approximately 2 months before the conference.

2) Besides LinkedIn, did you use any other marketing and social media tactics? If so, how did you leverage these tactics for driving attendance. 
Yes, we created a Facebook page and a Twitter account for the event. While Twitter was a great tool for communication during and after the conference with our #SMPlus hashtag, neither produced significant results in driving attendees.

3) What was the result of your efforts?
The response was phenomenal. In 2 months, our Conference group grew from 50 members to around 1800 and over 700 people attended the conference.  We did some traditional marketing such as direct mail and e-mail marketing, but Linkedin was the most effective marketing tool by far. We tracked the click through bit.ly URL’s, measuring the use of unique coupon codes that we offered and by comparing the final attendee list to our Linkedin Group members. 450 attendees had joined the Social Media Plus Linkedin group prior to the conference. (Disclaimer – Bob was so impressed with the results that Network Sunday provided, he is now the US Partner helping other conference organizers in their Marketing efforts).

4) What three tips would you provide to those seeking to use social media to promote their conference?

 1) Social Media Marketing is a two way street. Be prepared to spend time communicating directly with your audience.

2) Don’t over sell in your Marketing message. Less is more in this case. People want to explore and learn things on their own. If they have specific questions, they’ll reach out to you.

3) Don’t go it alone. Social Media Marketing can be time consuming and often companies start off with a bang, but burn out quickly. Social Media Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.

Nov 5, 2010
Cece Salomon-Lee

PRMM Interview – Mike Westcott of INXPO on Virtual Business

 Mike Westcott of InxpoAs I believe virtual events will (if not already) become a more integral part of a company’s communications strategy, I will reach out to vendors and practitioners in the industry to share their thoughts for the weekly PRMM Interview leading up to the Virtual Edge Summit in January 2011. This week, I reached out to my former company to get a sense of how virtual events differ from webinars and where the industry is going. Mike Westcott, VP of Marketing with INXPO, shares his thoughts.

 Mike Westcott oversees INXPO’s branding and marketing as Vice President of Marketing. Westcott has helped drive growth and innovation throughout his career as a leader at numerous global marketing organizations and agencies. He was most recently responsible for community strategy and marketing innovation with media company, Red7 Media, where he ran the Event Marketing Institute. He has been instrumental in helping to shape the dialogue in the brand and experiential marketing industry for over twenty years through his writing, workshops and thought leadership.

Can you provide a quick overview of InXpo?
INXPO is the first and leading provider of virtual business solutions. These solutions help organizations improve their business performance by transforming the web from pages and links to events and destinations where people go to connect, collaborate, learn and do business.

Many marketers currently leverage webinars as part of their lead generation programs. How are virtual events different from webinars?
In an era when content and education are an increasingly important part of marketing and communication, webinars are a proven means of broadcasting content to an online audience.

Virtual events combine webcasting of content with online conversation, peer-to-peer connection and collaboration tools and social media to help people connect much like they do at physical events. While virtual events don’t replace the face to face connection we experience at a physical event, they are fast becoming a critical addition to extend the content, conversation and collaboration of physical conferences and tradeshows. This combination, called Hybrid events are the way to go for smart organizations that seek to make the most of their communication and content investments.

Compared to a webinar, a virtual event is more costly and takes more time. Can you elaborate on the type of scenarios where a virtual event would be better than a webinar?
Virtual events are better than webinars in three scenarios
1. Hybrid events: when you want to extend an existing event investment
2. Revenue generating events: when you want to turn content and conversation into commerce by connecting a number of sponsors and prospects around shared interests
3. Education: when you want to engage your audience more deeply in educational content with collaborative activities, breakout sessions, surveys, gaming and other training tactics.

What are top 2-3 benefits of using virtual events for marketers?
1. Lower cost and shorter time frames than traditional events for lead generation and communication
2. Extending existing event and content investments
3. Online community building potential

There seems to be a lot of developments with virtual events. Where do you see the industry going?

Virtual community environments are quickly becoming the real payoff as they provide a real destination for content management and delivery, meetings and learning for corporations, associations as well as media companies who are realizing that content is not king, community is king. And content is the catalyst that brings people together.

Oct 29, 2010
Cece Salomon-Lee

PRMM Interview – Maria Korolov of Hypergrid Business

Maria Korolov of Hypergrid Business

In this week’s interview, I touched base with Maria Korolov of Hypergrid Business, a leading online blog on virtual worlds and environments. In three short years, she’s grown her business and I asked her thoughts regarding the virtual environments industry, what she attributes her success to, and what it will take to be covered by Hypergrid.

Biography: Maria Korolov (formerly Maria Trombly) is founder and president of Trombly International, a Massachusetts-based company which runs emerging markets news bureaus for US business and trade publications. Her clients include CIO magazine, ComputerworldSecurities Industry News, CardLine Global, Waters, Reed Elsevier’s PharmAsia News, and dozens of other publications.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Hypergrid Business?

I launched Hypergrid Business about a year and a half ago, shortly after I discovered OpenSim, as an excuse to learn more about the platform and to talk to the folks building it. Since then, we’ve grown to over 10,000 monthly readers, over a dozen columnists and paid writers, and we’re having to turn away advertisers due to lack of space.

OpenSim, and enterprises uses of virtual worlds in general, are a hot topic right now. The fact that I’ve got over a decade of experience covering enterprise technology for publications like Computerworld is paying off here.

And I’m having a blast. It’s great to be in at the very beginning of a significant structural change in how the world works. The shift to the Internet was one such change. I believe that the shift to immersive environments will be another, and will be equally disruptive and transformative to the global economy.

We’ve got ambitions plans for our company. We’ve already launched a newsletter, are finalizing a vendor directory, have a 300-destination hypergrid travel directory up, are developing a video program, and are building a hyperport with multiple locations to cover all the possible hypergrid travel destinations. Further down the line, we might rent out space to merchants in our hyperports, or create an in-world advertising network. We are looking for both technology and business partners, as well as writers, researchers, marketers, and other positions — all part-time to start with, but with potential to turn into real careers as this platform evolves.

You mentioned that your readership has grown over the past three years. What would you attribute your growth to?

Part of it is simply organic growth. Someone reads an article, recommends it to a friend, and the friend becomes a reader.

Part of it is social media. We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Digg… we try to make sure that every article we post is linked to from the major sites, as well as from BusinessWeek and LinkedIn.

We also make it easy for people to find us. We’ve been a Google News publication for around a year, and we’re near the top of the Google searches for relevant terms. Inbound links help drive up our rankings — and the more useful stories we publish, the more people link to us, and the easier it becomes to find us.

Marketers are more like publishers today. What tips would you provide to marketers to help drive their content marketing strategy?

Marketing is a big part of growing a new technology segment. Outreach and education are often neglected by technology folks, who assume that if they build a better platform, then people will come. That’s not always true — people won’t come unless they know it’s there, and unless they know what benefits it offers them. If a vendor is lucky, there will be a group of users who are active and vocal and go out and promote the technology, like Ener Hax is doing with SimHost’s OpenSim hosting service. Smarter vendors will seek out these folks and offer them discounted hosting or other incentives to get them to use and talk about their platform, instead.

It’s also great to get your name out in as many channels as possible. Virtual events and conferences, and face-to-face events. News articles. Published editorials. Press releases. Company blogs. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn feeds. The more a customer hears about a company, the more comfortable he or she gets with it. This is where marketing experts come in. An outside social media consultant, teamed up with a freelance writer, can do wonders to raise a company’s profile in the marketplace.

They need to get to know the social landscape, find out where their customers hang out, follow them, and provide value to these communities.

As a blogger, what three tips would you provide to companies seeking to be profiled by Hypergrid?

First and foremost, I want customer case studies, success stories, testimonials, first-hand accounts of how your product or service works. Of course, I wouldn’t turn down a juicy disaster story, either! A smart company will take a disaster and spin it into a positive story of recovery and evolution. You’re guaranteed to get my attention with something like that.

Next, I want statistics. How many users? How many events? What percent were satisfied? What were the growth rates? What are the benchmarks? I love numbers, and readers love numbers.

Finally, and least interesting to me, are new product and version announcements. A company can put out a press release every week trumpeting a minor new feature. At a certain point, that gets boring — and not very useful to customers.

Anything else that you would like to share?

I’m always looking for guest columnists to talk about topics of interest to enterprise users of virtual worlds.

Oct 22, 2010
Cece Salomon-Lee

PRMM Interview – John Grosshandler

As part of the PRMM Interview series, I am interviewing thought leaders in PR, marketing, social media, and virtual events to hear about innovations, trends and technologies impacting our industry. This week, I asked virtual events vetaran, John Grosshandler is Director of Virtual Engagement with Maritz, to provide insight on the evolution of virtual events, challenges facing the industry and future trends. Here is a brief bio (Note: I was previously employed by Inxpo):

 In 2004, John launched a first of its kind virtual trade show called eComXpo which became the highest-grossing, longest-running virtual trade show ever held.  In 2005, after initially being their first customer, John joined InXpo, the virtual event platform provider that powered eComXpo.   While there, he was the Virtual Event Strategist on hundreds of virtual events for associations (e.g. HIMSS, National Association of Realtors), corporations (e.g. Cisco, ATT) and publishers (e.g. UBM, Ziff Davis).  While at InXpo, John authored the virtual event industry’s first Best Practices Guide.  In his role at Maritz, John is responsible for their virtual event offerings, including supporting their channel partner Freeman.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got into virtual events?

My background has been in sales and marketing roles for cutting edge technology solutions.  After a successful 8 year run at a software firm pre/during/post the tech bubble, I had the opportunity  to start my own business.  In 2004, I launched a start-up around the idea of a virtual trade show aimed at eCommerce marketers.  While there had been a number of attempts at virtual trade shows before mine, most of them were quite boring and I thought a business could be built around a more engaging type of virtual event. 

How has the industry changed since you’ve started?

The evolution in this space has been extraordinary on many fronts.  First has been the realization that the technology is only one component of a successful event, and that you need to spend at least as much time on the strategy, content and marketing.   As a result, agencies like Maritz, Freeman and others are building practices to help event organizers put on higher quality events with less effort.  Another evolution has been around the types of events held.  From 2004-2008, almost all the action was publishers putting on virtual trade shows to replace lost revenue from their declining print ad sales and subscriber base.  In 2009, you started to see associations more effectively creating hybrid extensions to their physical conventions.   2009 is also when more and more corporations starting leveraging virtual for a variety of events, ranging from sales meetings to user groups. A welcome change has been the technology platforms themselves, which increasingly have very robust functionality and can handle ever-increasing numbers of virtual attendees.  Finally, there’s less talk these days about purely virtual events, and more about hybrid and blended events which I believe is the future.

Adoption of virtual events & meetings technology has increased significantly due to the recession. What challenges do you see for mainstream adoption of this technology?

Although the adoption has increased significantly, we’re still only scratching the surface.  One report suggests the virtual event space will grow to $18 billion in five years, so we’re still in the “early adopter” phase.  To cross the chasm to mass adoption, I think three things need to happen a) the technology needs to become more self-service and less expensive; b) virtual event platforms need to be effectively ported to mobile devices and c) events funded by virtual exhibitors need to deliver more value to those sponsors.

2011 is just around the corner and it’s the time of year for future predictions. What do you see happening for the industry in 2011?

I see 2011 as the “Year of the Hybrid”.  The idea that more and more physical events will have virtual extensions, either as pre, during or post the physical event.  Whether those virtual extensions are focused on driving more attendees to the physical event, or helping you reach others who weren’t able to make it to the physical event, these extensions are the “killer app” for virtual technology.

Any additional thoughts that you would like to share?

An exciting new use of the technology allows corporations to create virtual extensions to their physical trade show booths.  Even if the show organizer doesn’t have a virtual extension to the event as a whole, top tier sponsors are realizing that their own virtual extension can help build buzz, drive attendance to their physical booth and provide a more effective follow-up mechanism for booth visitors, as well as those that didn’t make it to the physical event.

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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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