Advertisements
 

5 Tips For A Successful Virtual Trade Show

June 22, 2010

The following is a guest post from Craig Rosenberg.

On the 29th of June from 8AM to 4PM Pacific, I’ll be running my first virtual trade show: Mastering Lead Management.  At Focus, the company I work for, we’ve been doing webinars for our clients for years. But this virtual event is our first day-long comprehensive show.  To differentiate and make it as successful as possible, there were a few critical decisions we made during the show’s development:

We called it an interactive summit — To us, a virtual trade show or trades hows in general give the impression of a vendor bazaar where everyone’s main goal of the event is to get buyers introduced to vendors. Buyers expect more.

We leveraged all unbiased, third party content (no vendor pitches) — We have sponsors, but our approach to any content we create is all about making it “buyer-helpful,” that is, information that helps buyers do their jobs better or make more informed purchasing decisions.

We gave all sponsors full booth functionality — Instead of worrying about creating different pricing schemes for different features in the booth, we gave everyone everything we could.

    We think these decisions are at least in part the reason why we’ve garnered thousands of registrants to the event so far. Based on what I’ve learned and past experience with all kinds of trade shows, here are my 5 tips for successful virtual trade shows:

    1. It’s all about the content, it’s always about the content – All the blog posts and marketing we find today about virtual events is about minimizing environmental impact, shrinking travel budgets, etc.  While I think these points are interesting, we believe that if the content is compelling, they will come.  Think about it, despite all the marketing we are producing about people avoiding live events, they go and they go because they see value.  White papers, webinars, you name it, they all still work. But it’s about the content. Why would virtual events be different?  The answer is they are not.
    2. It’s all about the variety and volume of content – A virtual summit gives you multiple opportunities to peak a buyers interest with all kinds of content.  In a white paper or a webinar, it’s a one-shot deal.
    3. Content drives the types of leads you get – The biggest factor for the future of the virtual trade show market is ROI.  I can tell you that if you try to be something for everyone, then that’s what you’ll get.  Guess what, that is the problem with the traditional trade show market.  For successful lead generation, I’d suggest creating more targeted content and be prepared for less numbers.
    4. Virtual events are scoring machines – From a lead management perspective, virtual shows provide amazing activity data on attendees.  There is a lot of content available to participants and a lot of opportunities for interactivity. All of this should be collected and sent to whomever cares, such as sponsors.
    5. Understand why trade shows don’t work – This is a bit of a “reset” of the points above, but trade show attendance isn’t only down because of shrinking travel budgets. Trade shows are down because buyers have A LOT of choices for content to do their job better.  15 years ago, trade shows had a pretty solid hold on information. Now with the internet, information is everywhere without the time and resource commitments that make it harder for live trade shows to compete. What can you learn?  Well, people aren’t going to come to your event just because your show is virtual (and you don’t want them to), they are going to come because they see value.

    Craig Rosenberg is Author of The Funnelholic, his very popular B2B sales and marketing blog. He is also Vice President of Products and Services at Focus where he oversees product creation, management, and delivery. Prior to Focus, Craig spent years as a consultant for SalesRamp where he designed, built and managed lead-generation and inside sales strategies and processes for high-tech startups.

    During that time, Craig built lead generation machines at over 25 different companies in a variety of different high-tech verticals ranging from business applications to IT infrastructure. Because of his extensive experience, Craig acts as an advisor to Focus‘s clients, helping them solve a variety of different marketing and demand-generation challenges  You can visit Craig’s B2B Demand Generation Blog at www.funnelholic.com.

    Tweet this posting:

    Advertisements

    2009 Year In Review: Virtual Events

    December 24, 2009

    2009 was a landmark year for the virtual events industry – early adopters expanded their virtual event initiatives and leveraged the technology in innovative ways.  Many industries (and associated corporations) entered the mix, producing their first ever virtual event in 2009.  Despite the economy (or perhaps aided by the downturn), virtual event platform providers enjoyed healthy growth in client demand, event volume and revenue.  The platform market expanded beyond the U.S., with the emergence of new platforms in Europe and New Zealand.  We even had the industry’s first ever face-to-face event, the Virtual Edge Summit (U.S. – Santa Clara, CA).

    To get a better sense of how 2009 unfolded, I reviewed the past 12 months of postings on this blog and sought to categorize the trends and patterns.

    Source: flickr (User: Linzi's Cakes)

    Assorted Shapes and Sizes

    In the early days, the industry was all about virtual tradeshows.  During 2007-2008, new event types were spawned – and in 2009, we saw many more instances of non-tradeshow events: virtual job fairs, virtual sales meetings, virtual partner summits.  In addition, we saw innovative concepts applied in hybrid events – where event planners staged concurrent physical and virtual events.  I wrote about learnings and observations from Cisco Live and Networkers Virtual, in which virtual and physical blended together.  In 2010, I expect to see many more hybrid events, with event planners leveraging creative ways to tie virtual together with physical.  In fact, I believe 2010 will be The Year of The Hybrid Event.

    In addition to the assorted event types – we’re starting to see the use of virtual event technology to support ongoing business communities.  The community concept makes a lot of sense in conjunction with physical or virtual events – instead of “going dark” between live event dates, event planners can leverage the “platform” to keep the community interaction and dialog going – where the events serve as “momentum points” to drive continued activity within the online business community.  I brainstormed about tactics that could be applied to sustain virtual business community loyalty.

    Social Media and Twitter

    With all due respect to Facebook and other services, I believe 2009 was The Year of Twitter.  There are many ways in which Twitter can be leveraged for virtual events – here are a few ideas that I blogged about:

    1. Leverage Twitter for Virtual Tradeshow Outreach
    2. How to Promote Your Virtual Event on Twitter
    3. Leverage Twitter Lists for your Physical or Virtual Event

    Virtual event platforms have integrated with Twitter and other social networks – in 2010, I see the breadth and depth of integration expanding.  The expansion will be fueled both by interest (from the virtual event platforms and from clients) as well as richer interfaces (APIs) from the social network sites.  For instance, LinkedIn recently announced an open API for their platform.

    In parallel to virtual events, 2009 was a watershed year for social gaming (e.g. Zynga, Playdom and other sites).  In 2010, we’ll see virtual event platforms leverage gaming for a mix of fun and business use.  I wrote about the reasons that virtual events should incorporate gaming.  Lastly, I believe the tried and true webinar needs to become more social – webinars need to encourage and support more participation from the audience.

    The market extends beyond the U.S.

    In 2009, virtual events platform vendors emerged globally – in order of appearance in this blog:

    1. ExpoNZ – New Zealand
    2. IMASTE – Spain
    3. Ubivent – Germany

    I expect to see a few more virtual event platforms emerge in Europe in 2010 – Asia Pac is sure to see local entrants as well.

    Virtual Event Best Practices

    I wrote a lot about virtual event best practices in the past 12 months. Here’s a selection of the more popular postings:

    1. Virtual Event Best Practices
    2. How to Market your Virtual Event
    3. Best Practices for Virtual Tradeshow Exhibitors
    4. Lead Follow-Up for Virtual Events
    5. Assemble the Right Team for your Virtual Event
    6. Increase Your Virtual Event ROI
    7. Think Outside the Inbox for Virtual Event Promotion
    8. How to Run a Virtual Event Command Center

    Happy Holidays to all.  2009 was a great year for virtual events.  And I have news for you – 2010 will be even better!


    The ABC’s Of Lead Follow-Up For Virtual Events

    July 4, 2009

    Image Source: flickr (user: k1rsty)

    Image Source: flickr (user: k1rsty)

    Suggestion to Virtual Event Exhibitors: Don’t treat your lead list like a telemarketing list!

    With the wealth of attendee engagement data generated (and stored) at virtual events, exhibitors have unique insights regarding the worthiness of their lead pool, giving them the ability to intelligently segment their leads and generate unique follow-up paths.  All too often, however, exhibitors treat their virtual event leads as a single pool, applying the same follow-up activities to the entire pool.  In a Virtual Edge posting titled “Don’t Overwhelm Your Attendees“, Michael Doyle writes about aggressive email follow-up by virtual event exhibitors.  I’ve observed the same behavior as Michael describes – in addition, I’ve attended a number of virtual events that resulted in follow-up via phone call.

    A colleague of mine once received a follow-up phone call from a virtual event exhibitor – the call was placed by a telemarketing staffer, who had no knowledge of the virtual event (that my colleague attended).  The staffer simply had a name and phone number, with a goal of generating interest in the company’s products and services.  In my opinion, virtual event exhibitors will not be effective in handling lead follow-up in this manner.  Virtual event leads should not be treated like a generic lead list!

    I recommend that exhibitors segment their leads into A, B and C categories.  Be forewarned – this is going to take some effort, but it will pay off in the long run with stronger ROI.  Here goes:

    1. The “A” leads – typically, your top 10% of leads.  They registered and attended the live virtual event.  They generated numerous touch points with your booth, your booth reps and your content (e.g. 8 booth visits, 20 document downloads, 5 chat sessions with your booth reps).  They generated at least one meaningful chat session with you – whether it was private, 1:1 chat with one of your booth reps – or, a meaningful chat/dialog via group chat in your booth or a lounge.  The “A leads” are requesting a follow-up engagement with your sales team – either implicitly with their level of engagement with you, or explicitly by requesting a sales follow-up via chat or email.
    2. The “B” leads – the bulk of your leads – they registered and attended the live virtual event and had at least one booth visit or one view/download of your content.  So yes, they interacted with you, but didn’t do enough to gain “A lead” status.
    3. The “C” leads – folks who registered but didn’t attend; attended but didn’t visit your booth; or, folks from other exhibitors or from the virtual event show host or vendor.  Note: based on the structure of the virtual event sponsorship tiers, you may or may not gain access to these leads.  Intelligent follow-up is based on intelligent segmentation – exhibitors should certainly review their lead list to identify leads they should not be following up with – and those leads should be removed from the “C lead” pool.  There’s no use in following up with attendees from other exhibitors, attendees from the virtual event host or the platform vendor company.  In fact, doing so only makes your company look disorganized.

    Now that the important task of segmentation is complete, follow-up paths can be identified for each pool.  Here are my suggestions:

    1. A leads – schedule immediate sales engagements, via phone, virtual meeting or in-person.  If the “A lead” had extended engagement with a sales rep in the virtual event, have that sales rep present during the engagement, to continue the conversation and carry over the context from the virtual event.  If the “A lead” had great discussions with a product marketer or product manager, invite that person to join your sales rep(s) on that initial call.  For any explicit requests (pricing proposal, additional documents, etc.) – make sure to send the information over in advance of the engagement.  Think of the “A leads” as ROI waiting to happen – so treat them like royalty.
    2. B leads – it’s important to be strategic with the “B leads” – don’t hand them over to telemarketing for a vanilla phone call and don’t start sending them generic email blasts about your products.  Instead, study their behavior at the virtual event – what content interests them?  Then, create communications that deliver value and personalize the content based on their activities – for instance, send them a White Paper that provides additional information to the Case Study that they downloaded from your booth.  Again – this is going to take work on your part, but it’s work that’s well worth it.
    3. C leads – this may sound counterintuitive, but – don’t follow up with the “C leads”.  Instead, build a new profile in your CRM system (or, update the existing profile) and associate the information you learned [e.g. they’re interested in the topic of the virtual event, but did not attend].  Your job as a marketer, then, is to match subsequent interest (from the “C leads”) back to their user record.  What you’re trying to do is assemble an engagement profile over time – perhaps the “C lead” does attend the next virtual event and visits your booth – or, the “C lead” registers for a podcast you’ve syndicated with a tech publisher.  Now, you have so much more data for your sales team.  Don’t feel like the acquisition of a “first time C lead” gives you the right to start bombarding her with phone calls and emails.  Consider the “C leads” as potential – where the value is to be delivered (with subsequent engagements).

    In summary, your sales team should receive only the “A leads”.  The “B and C” lead pool remains under the auspices of Marketing, until a point where any of them reaches an A list eligibility.  This approach should make everyone happy – Marketing, Sales and even the atttendees/leads!


    Virtual Event ROI

    May 31, 2009

    Virtual Edge 2009 Panel on Measurement & ROI

    Virtual Edge 2009 Panel on Measurement & ROI

    What’s a hot topic on the minds of virtual event marketers? I’ll give you a hint – it’s spelled R-O-I. At Virtual Edge 2009 in Santa Clara, CA, I participated in a panel discussion on the topic of virtual event ROI.  It’s pretty clear that virtual events are driving significant ROI today – signified by the interest in last week’s conference, the keen interest from marketers and the growth of the virtual event industry.  However, the audience questions from this panel discussion make it quite clear that ROI discussions and analysis need to advance to the next level.

    Here were the 3 hot buttons raised by the audience:

    1. Tracking ROI via closed sales – yes, I know that virtual events will drive awareness, engagement and great overall statistics.  But at the end of the day, I need to know that my investment drove product sales.  And I’m just not sure I can quantify that today.
    2. Understanding user/activity profiles – my company wants to produce a virtual event for the C-level, but we just don’t know whether C-level employees will attend virtual events – and if they do, we certainly don’t know the typical activity profile of a C-level employee within a virtual event.  As such, we’re not sure we can recommend the investment to produce one.
    3. More meaningful engagement statistics – it’s great that I had 200 private chat sessions with attendees – but there’s a difference between a “I can’t find the auditorium” chat and a “can you provide me with pricing information” chat.  How do I make the distinction when analyzing my ROI?

    Let’s address each of these hot buttons.

    ROI via Closed Sales

    Here’s where the platform provider needs to work hand in hand with the client.  First, the provider and client need to develop certain engagement patterns that are meaningful for the client.  One pattern may be as simple as, “attendee initiated a private chat with one of my booth reps”.  Another pattern might be, “attendee downloaded more than 5 documents from my booth and had more than 2 return visits”.  Once these patterns are defined, the following should occur:

    1. Platform provider – upon detection of a pattern match, insert (or update) a record in the client’s CRM system (e.g. Salesforce.com, Siebel, etc.).
    2. Client – have the processes and technologies in place for a timely response.  Then, have a secondary process to accurately track and measure the actions/outcome that result from the sales inquiry.

    The job of the platform provider is to detect the engagement pattern and seamlessly update the client’s CRM system.  By handling the CRM import automatically, the platform provider is significantly accelerating the potential payoff (ROI) – since a marketer or sales rep is no longer required to manually import the sales opportunity from an Excel spreadsheet.

    The client, then, needs a process to have the right person respond in a timely manner to the sales inquiry (e.g. Inside Sales, direct sales rep, etc.) and be able to track the eventual outcome.  The outcome then needs to be mapped back to the source (e.g. virtual event) – to complete the equation.  If these pieces work together, you’ll be able to track closed sales to your virtual event investment.

    Activity Profiles

    As noted during the Virtual Edge panel discussion, platform providers and clients will need to agree on the use of aggregate event data.  Today’s contracts specify that the client (event producer) owns all data on registrant profiles, activity data, etc.  To publish industry-wide data, it will be important for the lion’s share of clients and vendors to participate.

    The data will not be as meaningful if large players (clients or vendors) are not part of the effort.  In addition, vendors and clients will need to agree on standard definitions – for instance, what is “C-level employee” defined as – and how do we map that definition back to registration fields?  A single vendor may have 10 clients – and 10 unique registration forms (with unique registration fields).

    Unique registration fields make data aggregation challenging.  In addition, both clients and vendors will want to disclose (to virtual event attendees) that their activities will be utilized in reporting and analysis (at an aggregate level).  This discussion, in my mind, leads me to believe that an industry wide standards body is needed – an Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) for virtual events.

    More meaningful engagement tracking

    On the specific topic of deciphering chat content, technology is beginning to emerge to perform natural language recognition.  In child-based virtual worlds, I’ve read that technology can attempt to detect the presence of child predators within virtual world environments (where text chat is occuring).  I believe this technology can be applied to the business setting of a virtual event – whereby the sales worthiness of a chat session can be rated.

    Have a look at this very interesting article from The New York Times – Software That Guards Virtual Playgrounds.

    On the disclosure side, I think we need to make attendees aware of the use of this technology – so that they understand that the private chat they engage in may be read by a computer.

    These are all interesting topics for the industry to address – I believe that in doing so, we’ll advance the industry significantly – and generate even stronger growth than we’re already seeing.

    Related Links

    1. Blog posting: Increase Your Virtual Event ROI
    2. Blog posting: Virtual Event Adoption by the C-Suite
    3. Blog posting: What CPL Should I Pay For VTS?

    Day 1 Recap: Virtual Edge 2009

    May 29, 2009

    The ABC's of Virtual Events (Virtual Edge Session)

    The ABC's of Virtual Events (with Kenny Lauer, GPJ & Kelly Graham, Cisco)

    That’s right, even the Virtual Events industry has a need to meet face-to-face.  Thursday (05/28/09) marked Day 1 of Virtual Edge 2009 – a 2-day face-to-face “summit on virtual events, meetings and communities”, held at the Santa Clara Convention Center.  By my estimation, the event had over 150 attendees and approximately 50 exhibitors.

    Most of the presentations and panel discussions had “standing room only” crowds.  Two of the noted presentations of Day 1 were “The ABC’s of Virtual Events, Meetings & Marketing” (featuring Kenny Lauer of GPJ and Kelly Graham of Cisco) and the keynote presentation, featuring Paul Salinger or Oracle and Sandy Carter of IBM.

    The sessions were streamed live into the virtual world – a combination of live video (via Stream57) and live video in a 3D immersive world (via VirtualU from Digitell).  A physical event on virtual events, which was then simulcast virtually – neat!  The “concurrent virtual”  allowed global access to event, for folks who were not able to attend in person – and that included some speakers, who (of course!) presented their sessions virtually.

    In the afternoon, I participated in a panel discussion titled  “Measurement, Tracking & ROI”.  Two of the main themes we heard from the audience were:

    1. Better measuring event engagement – sure, we know about registration-to-attendance ratio, number of live attendees, average session time, etc. And Stu Schmidt of Unisfair introduced the notion of a “virtual engagement index”.  The calculation of that index (or score), however, may need to get “smarter” – for instance with a chat session.  Dannette Veale of Cisco noted the difference between a “where’s the Auditorium” and a “can you send me pricing information” comment – whereby the latter should carry a higher score from an engagement or “prospect worthiness” point of view.
    2. Aggregate profiles by user type – customers are in the need for published profiles by user type, so that they can better plan targeted virtual events.  For instance, if an enterprise is interested in a virtual event for C-level employees, they need to see a published profile (e.g. what does the C-level do in a virtual event), to determine whether the event is worth pursuing (aka what’s the expected ROI).  The panel responded that there are data privacy issues that need to be worked out – since all data is “owned” by customers – and NOT by the virtual event platform vendors.

    While I was able to sneak out to attend a session or two, I spent most of the day in the InXpo booth.  I had the pleasure of meeting (face-to-face!) with many colleagues in the industry and also spoke to countless attendees who are considering their first virtual event.  For attendees from corporations, many had already executed virtual events – and were there to learn best practices and refine their game.  On the other hand, I met several folks from the event marketing industry, who were looking to leverage virtual events to complement their clients’ physical event strategy.

    For me, Day 1 marked a momentous occasion for the virtual events industry – the creation of a physical event speaks to the legitimacy of the industry – while the turnout speaks to the timeliness and interest in virtual events.  Today, our industry is like the TV sitcom Cheers (“Where everybody knows your name”).  I imagine that this industry will grow quickly enough that it will be challenging to remember everyone’s name – and in a few years, the venue will have to shift to the Moscone Center in San Francisco! Looking forward to Day 2 today.

    Related links

    1. Virtual Edge 2009 program: http://www.virtualedgesummit.com/program.php
    2. Virtual Edge 2009 program – to attend virtually: http://www.virtualedgesummit.com/virtual-event-schedule.php
    3. Dean Takahashi covered Day 1 for VentureBeat: http://venturebeat.com/2009/05/28/virtual-events-draw-a-live-in-person-crowd/

    Bringing Virtual Benefits To Business Travel

    March 14, 2009

    Source: Virgin America

    Source: Virgin America

    Recently, I embarked an a now-uncommon routine (for me) of a business trip – flying round trip on Virgin America, one of my favorite airlines.  Since most of my business these days is conducted virtually, the logistics of checking in at the airport, waiting in the security line, boarding the plane, checking into the hotel, etc. – gave me plenty of time to reflect on the dynamics of business travel.  Here are some observations:

    1. By its nature, business travel means that you’re constantly in close proximity to other businesspeople – some of whom are in your industry – or, could benefit you as a business partner (or vice versa)
    2. Those who are less outgoing / personable may only meet 2% of the fellow businesspeople they travel with – and really get to know only 1% (or less!)
    3. On my return flight to SFO, I’d guess that 1 out of every 15 people was a Silicon Valley entrepreneur.  If you were a start-up entrepreneur and on that flight, I’d guess that 1 out of every 25 on that plane was a Silicon Valley venture capitalist – or, someone who had funds to invest in your company

    And while we’ve all heard stories about the sales deal or business partnership that was sourced by the “person next to me on the plane”, how many other business connections fall by the wayside because two or more individuals never connected?  Lots, I’m sure.  Technology helps flatten the world – but it can also be a further flattener to enable strangers in physical proximity to connect.

    We do know that business travelers are quite active on social networks.  There are plenty of business travel blogs out there.  And, users of Facebook and Twitter are quite active while traveling.  They’re constantly chiming in from airports, conferences, hotels and restaurants.  They’ll also tell you whom they’re about to go in to meet with – and how it went.  So we know that busniesspeople are active on social networks during travel – but, how often are they engaging socially in person?

    And there’s the irony – social media allows you to connect and socialize globally – but while you’re tweeting from your BlackBerry in the hotel lobby, might you be missing out on an introduction to a potential business partner who’s about to grab a cab to the same place you’re going?  Here’s where localized social media –  targeted at the local business traveler – could be a big win.

    Some ideas:

    1. Virtual Flight Lounge, powered by Virgin America RED – when booking your Virgin America reservation online, Virgin asks you to opt in to their Linkedin connector – by opting in and supplying your Linkedin credentials, Virgin is able to capture key data from your Linkedin profile – and, obtain a list of your Linkedin connections.  Once on board, you pull up RED (Virgin’s in-flight entertainment system) and it displays Linkedin connections of your’s who are on the flight.  Additionally, it recommends business partners (with their seat numbers) based on a comparison of your profile against other profiles of passengers who also opted in.  If you’re interested, you can engage in RED’s seat-to-seat chat with your new-found friend.
    2. Marriott Virtual Lobby – when making your Marriott reservation online, you’re prompted to opt in to the hotel’s business networking feature.  You’re asked to provide information to populate a profile, such as what business you’re conducting, what business opportunities are you interested in, what are your food preferences, what are you in the market to purchase, etc.  Once you arrive at the hotel (and connect to the hotel’s paid wireless service, of course), you’re invited into a virtual lobby (similar to a virtual event), where you’re able to see all other guests who have opted in to the service.  You’re able to perform search, view guest profiles and participate in private and group chat (either via text or webcam).

    In each scenario, the idea is that two or more potential business partners could discover one another (via their published profiles) – connect virutally and then arrange for the old-fashioned cocktail at the hotel bar or a steak dinner downtown.  That’s right, virtual begets physical.

    Why would Virgin or Marriott do this?  The costs are fairly low (and fixed) – and can earn a high and recurring return – that being customer satisfaction and retention, which sure has a high ROI in this economic environment.  And what’s the value to the business traveler in opting in and using such a service?  Well, what’s the value of a new business partner or a new client?  I’m sure it’s much higher than the hard cost (zero) and worth the time and effort.

    The concept here is similar to the popular “Who’s Close To Me” service provided by TripIt – but the difference is that here, you’re sourcing brand new business contacts, as opposed to discovering if your existing contacts are nearby.  So if I don’t bump into you in the security check at SFO, perhaps I’ll connect with you virtually and then grab a coffee with you in person.


    Utilize Surveys in Virtual Events

    December 19, 2008

    Online marketers often speak of hard ROI (explicit return) and soft ROI.  In this economic climate, soft ROI is being cut and marketers are focusing (with rare exception) on hard ROI.  But what if you could generate hard ROI and soft ROI simultaneously?  Would your CMO or CFO like that?  I’d bet that the CMO would, at minimum.

    So consider the use of surveys within your virtual events.  Let’s say you generated 200 visitors to your booth.  And let’s say 70% of those visitors completed an online survey that was available right there in your booth (equalling 140 survey completes).  You might think I’m crazy to suggest that 70% of visitors would actually fill out a survey.  But what if you provided a prize?  And, you qualified visitors into the prize drawing via completion of the survey?  I’ve seen it with my own two eyes – one particular event had 70% of booths visitors completing the exhibitors’ in-booth survey (i.e. for those who chose to utilize a survey).

    140 survey completes results in a statistically significant sample size.  And you’re likely not going to generate such a high response rate if you message to these visitors post-event.  Here are my Top 3 reasons for doing a survey in a virtual event:

    1. Plan your marketing content – let your target audience tell you what they’re interested in, what media formats they like to consume, what content they want (from you)  as they evaluate your products and services.  Leverage this valuable information to plan your White Papers, webinars and follow-on virtual events.
    2. Generate insights for your Product Manager – partner with your company’s product managers and ask them what info they’d like from customers and prospective customers.  You’d be a hero to Product Management and the success will certainly bubble up to the CMO or VP of Products.  And, by the way, this may help your company design better products.
    3. Intelligent lead follow-up –  survey questions are very similar to the qualifying questions that online marketers use on lead gen registration forms.   Don’t be afraid to review individual survey responses to better plan your lead follow-up with selected leads.

    Now, what’s the cost of doing the survey?  Well, the prize will set you back a few hundred dollars (e.g. for a GPS, Nintendo Wii, iPod, etc.).  When evaluated against the soft ROI you can  generate,  I think the investment is worth it.  As Richard Dawson may ask, “Survey says?” – YES.


    %d bloggers like this: