BtoB: Your most recent virtual event took place in a virtual platform provided by Unisfair, not Second Life. Why did you choose to forgo Second Life?
Myers: Second Life is an immersive environment, but for us, the casual user starting up in Second Life—customizing an avatar, learning navigation and getting to an event—we estimated it would be a minimum half-hour ramp up time, and more like an hour from getting the e-mail, downloading software, getting off the welcome island and getting somebody to the event.
That kind of scared us. We watched a lot of videos of IBM and Dell events [inside Second Life] and thought this would be too high a bar for our users. Second Life events have [also] been disrupted by people â€¦ it can be distracting when you are trying to give a show and there are people wandering around or flying around aimlessly. It doesn't seem very professional.
BtoB: Did the less-immersive environment still prove to be a successful event?
Myers: This was our first online virtual event. Any way you slice it for us it was a success. If we had done just advertising it wouldn't have the same [impact].
Typically, we do less comprehensive things. We do a webcast live and archive it, then follow up with people that didn't attend. There's very little cross-pollination of [our] other products. This was bigger, better, more. [An opportunity to] say: We've got everything you need in a one-stop shop.
BtoB: Would you say that the ability to measure success is increased in a virtual environment?
Myers: I am looking at a report on booth visits, average time per visitor, number of messages that were sent to people manning the booth, number of files downloaded in the booth, number of products downloaded, number of Web links followed and [the same for] each of the different webcasts. I pretty much feel like I have the blow-by-blow, hour-by-hour breakdown of log-ins. Lots of [information] to improve our performance. E.B.