• When the Going Gets Tough, Go Virtual

    IBM, a company, known for hosting live events across the country, successfully experimented with virtual events after the 2008 economic downturn led to a sharp drop in business travel and caused several firms to slash their travel budgets.  The result was IBM’s Virtual Event Center launched in April 2010.

    The Virtual Event Center hosts a variety of marketing events, including product launches, cross-selling and up-selling. Since launching the Virtual Event Center, IBM has executed more than 80 events across 26 countries, reaching more than 18,000 people and serving upwards of 15,000 downloads of content.  There were five main steps involved in this process:

    1.Determining the need for a change: A quick look at the market showed that the time was perfect for launching a cost-effective virtual marketing center. The unstable economy, and the lean travel budgets, combined with the difficulty of getting people to attend face-to-face events, and the ease with which people were communicating online, all pointed to the need for a virtual event center.

    2. Experimenting with possible solutions: While scouting around for possible solutions to ensure a workable model for hosting virtual events, IBM had to decided how the problem should be addressed from three angles: by business unit, by country, by the entire company in a holistic manner. The plan was to create a single center that would be effective for all of IBM’s brand and marketing programs.

    3. Rolling out your findings into one, organization-wide solution: The centralized online solution, that the virtual center came to be, was used for product launches, one-hour announcements, full-day events, multi-day meetings, “always-on” virtual briefing centers, as exclusive C-level executive training, and as briefing center with 24/7 access to consultants.

    4. Simulating live events: Despite the obvious limitations of simulating face-to-face interactions, and participants with lower bandwidth facing buffering with streaming video, the virtual events center was able to offer many elements of a physical event, including:

    • Networking lounges where visitors communicate with other attendees;
    • Briefing centers where visitors ask questions to be answered by experts;
    • Resource centers with information for download in multiple formats;
    • Breakouts with smaller groups of people congregating.

    5. Marketing virtually: Develop 360 (degree) campaigns. Don’t look at things in isolation.  Repurpose content that stays on the center for on-demand replays.  Drive people back to the center through search.

    See the complete article: MarketingSherpa.com

    VN:R_U [1.9.7_1111]
    Rating: 3.5/5 (2 votes cast)
    When the Going Gets Tough, Go Virtual, 3.5 out of 5 based on 2 ratings
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