Monday, May 24, 2010

The Virtual Tradeshow - Could There Ever Be One Worth A Damn?

Personally, I like going to trade shows... Sure, I bitch about my feet hurting, but overall, I learn a lot, connect with contacts and develop some good leads. However, not everyone shares my desire... But that's OK! I think it really depends on the kind of selling you are doing. Do your customers need to "touch" the tools you are selling? What about relationship building (nothing is better than face to face)? Do you need to expose your software to lots of people at one time? Are you going mobile? Are you new to the industry? There are so many questions that one must raise when considering trade show tactics. But, I'd say that mostly, expensive travel requests are on the decline. According to a BNET poll, most people (58%) say "NO, not worth it..." And that's probably you too, but still, you need to consider how you sell and who you are selling to... That said, on to the point of this post: virtual trade shows...

I found this company, InXpo.com. They built a virtual trade show service in which exhibitors can sell trade show booths to companies to hold a virtual event. Complete with an auditorium, exhibit hall, lounge, a resource center, social networking tools and more, InXpo.com has the idea that people will spend time doing SecondLife type trade-showing from the comfort of their own home/office. I went through the demo, and it looks cool. Lots going on to keep one engaged, but has it caught on?

Then there is this article in the Wall Street Journal about SecondLife's "second chance"...
Second Life is getting a renewed lease on life as a setting for trade shows, employee meetings and other corporate events for the likes of Northrop Grumman, Cigna Corp., Intel Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co.
Linden Research Inc., the San Francisco company behind Second Life, is targeting business users with new products and services, including a feature that will let users call into virtual meetings from their cellphones. It is also testing hardware that companies can plug into their computer networks to create private virtual venues.

So SecondLife is betting that "where the people already are, they will use it?" That's what I see and it makes sense (I think). People are "already in" Las Vegas, Chicago, NY, etc. and they already have trade shows there (I'm in Chicago now). Personally, I've never been to virtual trade show, but if someone has one for me that might be interesting, send me a link!
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3 comments:

Dan Parks @ CPU said...

I have a conventions center and a exhibit hall in Second life called Virtualis Convention and Learning Center. If you are interested I would be pleased to show you around - take a look at some of the concepts we are working on...

www.virtualiscenter.com

Kind Regards,
Dan Parks

Dennis Shiao said...

To your question about virtual tradeshows - yes, they've certainly caught on - as have other types of virtual events (e.g. virtual career fairs, virtual sales kick-off meetings, virtual product launches and more).

We provide a list of upcoming virtual events on our web site: http://www.inxpo.com/news/upcoming-events/index.htm.

BTW, like you, we (our headquarters) are based in Chicago. Let me know if you'd like to chat further.

Dennis Shiao
InXpo Product Marketing | Blogger at "It's All Virtual"

Marco said...

Have a look here: http://www.hyperfair.com

That's a social business experience.