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‘Virtual’ threatening ‘Physical’…But ‘Physical events’ still hold core utility !

services1A survey by ON24 projects that there’s an expected decline of nearly 40-60%  in the year 2009 in physical events

According to a survey by ON24,a San Francisco based virtual events company,Physical events are loosing out against Virtual events.It compiled the results on the basis of  responses from its 270 customers (including PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM).

The survey also projects that there’s an expected decline of nearly 40-60%  in the year 2009 in physical events.Reasons are quite obvious.When companies are drying up with funds and laying off employees in massive numbers,they will try their best to save out of every lavish spending they had been doing earlier.

Big & glossy physical events such as Trade shows and conventions require some heavy investments and in such an economic downturn,enterprises are now relying more on the nearest alternative to physical events,Virtual events.

Virtual events include Webinars,Webcasts and Virtual Shows(which is TiVo for conferences).Such events are so cost effective and comfortable to the consumers that more and more companies are now preferring these events on a regular basis.Also that when the things are no more physical and everything is on web then physical presence doesn’t serve as a limitation and participation increases by many folds.

But that doesn’t mean that physical events will go extinct in few years.Live product display,demonstration,feature briefing and many such things can’t be effectively done in virtual events and therefore physical events will certainly keep happening but the amount of investment will surely decrease in physical events and virtual shows will help filling up the void due to lack of physical events.

Below is the press release of the survey conducted by ON24

Survey Shows Explosive Growth for Virtual Events in 2009

Trade Shows, Conventions, Sales and Training Meetings Projected to Decline 40-64%

San Francisco, CA, January 14, 2009 – ON24, Inc. (, the global leader in webcasting and virtual events solutions, today announced the results of its survey of more than 270 customers, which polled the anticipated use in 2009 of trade shows, conventions and sales training meetings against virtual events such as Webinars and Virtual Shows.  The survey showed a notable shift from physical to virtual events.  While the economy likely played a major role in decision-making, respondents also valued the convenience, flexibility and additional capabilities provided by online participation.

Survey findings showed the following shift from physical to virtual events in 2009:

  • 42% expect participation in physical trade shows to be down by 20 – 50%
  • 64% expect to have fewer physical sales kick off meetings – or none at all
  • 60% expect training, management and other internal meetings to be down 20 – 50%

A full 76% said their company has already begun using virtual events (53%) or plans to begin using them (23%) to supplement some of their physical events in 2009

Virtual Is In – For Convenience As Well As Cost

Cost savings aside, respondents generally found little they would miss about attending physical events and saw a number of advantages to virtual ones in terms of convenience and productivity.

While 61% said they would miss seeing people in person, less than half felt they would miss traveling to other locations (34%), enjoying the social activities (36%) or seeing speakers in person (20%).

Respondents found several aspects of virtual participation to be particularly appealing:

  • 75% appreciated that there is no travel required
  • 64% liked that they can attend the virtual sessions on their own time schedules
  • 58% found it useful to be able to “forward” virtual sessions to their colleagues that they thought would be of interest to them

More than one third of respondents cited the social networking benefits of virtual events, including the ability to see a list of all attendees in advance (35%); to contact other attendees online throughout the event (40%) and to get information on people (32%) and companies (34%) they meet electronically.

“While physical events will always be an important part of a company’s overall marketing, training and communication strategy, virtual events have definitely reached their ‘tipping point’ in today’s business world,” said Denise Persson, ON24 Chief Marketing Officer, “The current economy makes online event alternatives very compelling, since they usually cost only a fraction of a physical one.  But an equally important trend is that many employees are already participating in online social networking groups, so they are happy using these same behaviors to make the most of their company events.  They are as comfortable developing relationships online as in person, and they prefer the greater amount of information and sharing that online provides.”

About ON24, Inc.
ON24, Inc.  is the global leader of webcasting and virtual events solutions for demand generation and corporate communications. ON24 provides the most reliable and trusted solutions that enable organizations to plan, produce and deliver cost-effective online events, including lead generation webinars, virtual shows, internal communications, continuing professional education and executive announcements.

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