Brent Aslaner, VP-marketing, Unisfair

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How can companies drive attendance at virtual events

Arslaner: Most companies have their own internal house list. Then they have to decide if they want to work with media companies, get in a newsletter, tie to keywords. It's fairly variable. The ongoing problem: You need to drive [attendees to the registration site], and you need to make sure they register and then you need to make sure they attend. We [also] do things like teleboosting, where folks call and remind registrants that the event is taking place.

What kinds of virtual events are gaining prominence?

Arslaner: Corporations are trying to generate more leads, to nurture an existing pipeline and build the size of the pipeline. Other applications include user conferences and product launches. We're getting more interest in sales training for large, geographically dispersed companies and also HR applications in terms of recruitment.

How do virtual events help generate and manage leads?

Arslaner: We provide a lead qualification and ranking report that combines the registration data with all of the activity data, as well as any polling or survey data. It allows you to rank the value of different events. You decide the important variables. The result is a prioritized list that allows sales and marketing teams to be much more productive.

What forms of content work best at virtual trade shows?

Arslaner: It varies. The vehicles are less important than the quality of the content. There should be a mix of audio and webcasts in conjunction with branding, white papers and other collateral.

How are virtual shows evolving?

Arslaner: There's a shift from our customers wanting an event to really wanting to build a community. It's a destination site where people will want to come back multiple times instead of just for the live time period. We're not Javitz or any of these centers. We don't have to turn the lights off.

What about physical events?

Arslaner: Physical events aren't going away, but in the fairly near future, every physical event will have a virtual component. In technology verticals it's already happening, but in pieces and parts.

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