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What Virtual Events Really Do


In the book “Duct Tape Marketing” by John Jantsch (subtitle: “The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide”), there’s a paragraph in Chapter 2 titled “What You Really Sell.”  Here’s an excerpt of that paragraph:

“Here’s the funny thing about business. You don’t sell what it is you claim to offer.  You sell what the eventual buyers think they are going to get from your product. For instance, insurance sales folks don’t sell insurance; they sell peace of mind.  Chiropractors don’t sell neck adjustments; they sell some form of relief.”

Virtual event platforms sell a lot of things.  To some degree, the term “virtual events” is an injustice (or misnomer), based on the wide variety of applications supported by today’s platforms.  In fact, I wrote previously in a “virtual events futures column” that the term “virtual events” would disappear by 2011.

I don’t know whether my 2011 prediction will come true, but I do expect that by later this year, the “virtual” qualifier will start to be dropped, in favor of broader names.  With that being said, and in the spirit of Duct Tape Marketing, here’s my Top 10 List of what virtual “events” really do:

  1. Sales Pipeline Fueler
  2. Learning Platform
  3. Analyst Relations Venue
  4. Product Launch System
  5. HR Recruitment Engine
  6. Partner Community Enabler
  7. Corporate Training System
  8. Content Distribution Platform
  9. Revenue Generator
  10. A Marketer’s Ultimate Dream

Each of these terms better describes “what the eventual buyers think they are going to get from your product” than the term “virtual event.”

Share with us your thoughts – when you “purchase” a virtual event, what is it you’re really getting?

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2 Responses to What Virtual Events Really Do

  1. Leesa Barnes says:

    Oh, what a delicious list of what virtual events really do. I find that people still can’t wrap their heads around “virtual events” and I’m flabbergasted by their confusion. Remove the travel, the classroom setting and the physical contact and you’ve got a virtual event.

    Ok, I digress…

    I’ve been defining virtual events as learning occurrences that happen over the phone, online and via a portable media device. So, you’re right – the term “virtual” in virtual events can mean so many things.

    But I wonder what we would use instead? Multisensory events? Touch tone events? Telewebmobi events? Heh, your 2011 prediction may be a few years too early 😉

    • Dennis Shiao says:

      Leesa – yeah, that’s one challenge of our industry, which is how to best name the service we provide – I’m thinking that if we stay away from using the broad name (e.g. “virtual event”) and just name it for what it does (as Duct Tape Marketing would have us do), we may be better off!

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