[GUEST POST] Why Virtual Events Should Become Part of Your AR Strategy

I’m fast becoming a big believer in virtual events as an essential part of a comprehensive AR strategy.  There are many reasons for my enthusiastic position on virtual events.

In today’s fast-paced world of analyst relations, we are under constant pressure from our clients and executives to interact with our analysts in many ways.  These interactions include face-to-face meetings, phone briefings, and “virtual” interactions through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites.

Many of you reading this probably hold one or two global analyst events a year hoping to attract leading analysts with your most senior-level executives.  This essentially is your most important interaction of the year with analysts.

But have you thought about hosting analysts virtually?

I have had the experience of running two global virtual analyst events over the last year.  In my last virtual event, more than 300 analysts attended and interacted with our company.  The only requirement: a PC with a reliable bandwidth connection.

In less than 90 minutes, my company was able to discuss key trends in the telecom industry, discuss its big picture” strategy and define key customer trends.  The key to the event was making it interactive.  We invited analysts to e-mail their most important questions to our moderator before the event started.  We also included graphics and other important information that they could use to write cutting edge market-research.

The beauty of this interactive two-way format enabled analysts to receive a very important update from our company no matter wherever they were located.  And what’s more, we didn’t need to fly them into exotic hotels, pay excessive food, beverage and entertainment charges and save on carbon emissions as well.

The virtual platform we used for this year’s event simulated a live TV show format and analyst questions were fielded on an Apple iPad.  The biggest benefit for an analyst viewing our event was that they could view the session in 90 minutes and access marketing materials such as white papers and case studies on their free time by linking to our password-protected analyst site.

To be more specific, I’m not advocating that you eliminate your face-to-face analyst tours and your key “personal” analyst interactions in other formats like trade shows.  I’m taking the position that a virtual event can help your company save money and give analysts a very detailed update on your company in real-time all conveniently without leaving the office.

Another key benefit of a virtual event is most virtual event platforms can be archived from three to six months.  This enables the analyst who didn’t view your “live” event to come back at his/her leisure to see the entire event again.

Virtual events are becoming a best practice in the high-tech marketing world to communicate key messages and strategies.  Why not host smaller virtual events on specific topics as a key part of your AR strategy as well?

Are you using virtual events as an AR best practice?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks to Steve Loudermilk, Global Head of Industry Analyst Relations  at Alcatel-Lucent Services Group (@LoudyOutLoud) for this post.

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2 Responses to [GUEST POST] Why Virtual Events Should Become Part of Your AR Strategy

  1. Fiona Wednesday 22nd December 2010 at 20:46 #

    Steve, I think with the right content & executive leadership, a virtual analyst event is a great idea and likely attracts better attendance than a live one requiring travel and more time away. Let’s chat in the new year about the tools you used to make it happen.
    Fiona McCaul Bell (@fmccaul on Twitter)

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  1. Jeff Barr’s Blog » Links for Monday, November 22, 2010 - Monday 22nd November 2010

    […] IIAR: Why Virtual Events Should Become Part of Your AR Strategy – “I have had the experience of running two global virtual analyst events over the last year. In my last virtual event, more than 300 analysts attended and interacted with our company. The only requirement: a PC with a reliable bandwidth connection.“ […]

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