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Virtual events return real value

Not long ago, I wrote about a new marketing opportunity from Unisfair in a piece I called Second Life Meets WebEx. The concept looked promising, but now Unisfair has contacted me with a preview of a study they comissioned to show the business value of their offering. The results are very interesting.

Before looking at the study results, we need to keep in mind that Unisfair has an obvious vested interest in showing studies that support what it is doing—they might not have tipped me off to a negative study. But the study, conducted by research and consulting firm The FactPoint Group based on 200 Unisfair events, fits with what I would have expected, because Unisfair’s offering looks like a very promising way to reach target markets.Musician's Friend personalized for guitar customers
Trade shows and other in-person events make up the lion’s share of many B2B marketing budgets, but the study shows why you might want to consider a virtual event. While costing a fraction of what live events do, they deliver nearly 350 qualified leads (on average) from events averaging over 1,500 attendees.
The news is not all good—about half the folks that register for virtual events do not show up when the time comes. This would be appalling for an in-person event, but the low cost and far greater capacity of virtual events makes this much less important. It’s no different than how appalled we were when we found out how many people abandoned their online shopping carts. It’s OK if huge numbers are no-shows as long as you get the return on your investment you need. Virtual events’ low costs make that nearly a certainty.
If you haven’t checked out how a virtual event can drive strong leads at a fraction of the cost, maybe this study will give you the impetus to check it out.


Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website,, most recently as the Manager of Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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