Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Recent Discussion with My Marketing Colleagues

Recently, one topic thread that came up in conversation -- based on my recent post about tradeshows, was some speculation about correlation between the economy and tradeshows. Our brief review of the tradeshows that we've attended this year is that attendance is steady or up, with lots of interest.

So the question on the table now is -- does a sour economy translate into people (potential customers) doing more research into the options available for their dollar?


meowmixnancy88 said...

Another interesting trend is the move to virtual events. In a survey by ON24, the economy was cited as a factor to moving to these kinds of events, but respondents also found some benefits to skipping physical events

"More than one third of respondents cited the social networking benefits of virtual events, including the ability to see a list of all attendees in advance (35%); to contact other attendees online throughout the event (40%) and to get information on people (32%) and companies (34%) they meet electronically."

ON24 Survey Shows Explosive Growth for Virtual Events in 2009

yaMarketingGoomer said...

Interesting survey. One area that I think that their survey kind of glosses over is the difference between a "Virtual Tradeshow" and virtual event like a webinar. I feel like the two fall into different categories.

The virtual tradeshow concept is basically an advertising-based microsite that is vertically focused. The target is typically a number of companies within that vertical segment, say Solar Power manufacturing, and companies that pay for "space" get to post a link and a chunk of text. While this model might have worked in the days before search where you might land on a site and browse more deeply, I don't think that the metaphor of browsing down a vertical industry aisle carries over into the more unique niche segmentation that individual organizations can do with effective SEM.

However, a virtual event like a webinar is different. Rather than purporting to be a first stage introductory tool, Webinars require their audience to be in a second stage or later phase of communications -- they have to have already found and provided some level of a permission asset. In that way, webinars really can bridge some of those communications gaps that used to be filled by direct interaction at tradeshows.