Survey: Marketers Plan 2010 Virtual Events

Nearly half of marketing professionals plan to increase their use of virtual events next year, according to a survey conducted recently by virtual event provider Unisfair, which this week introduced social media updates to its popular virtual events platform.

According to the survey, which asked more than 100 marketing professionals about their plans for 2010, found that 48 percent of those marketing professionals plan to increase their use of virtual events. Companies' most popular reasons, according to Unisfair, are to extend their marketing reach (32 percent) and increase their lead volume (15 percent), which is consistent with marketers' overall objectives—lead generation (60 percent) and customer retention/engagement (48 percent).

Along with virtual events, Unisfair found that marketers plan to increase their use of social media (75 percent) — marketers said LinkedIn (26 percent) and Facebook (23 percent) are the most effective social networks from a marketing perspective — search engine optimization (51 percent) and e-mail marketing (49 percent).

In response, Unisfair this week introduced an update to its signature virtual events platform, which includes social media capabilities like Skype integration, live voice and video chat, and Facebook and Twitter links that allow virtual event participants to share event content with friends and followers in real time.

"Marketers today are looking to squeeze as much value as possible out of every budget dollar," Unisfair CEO Hoang Vuong said in a statement. "As a result, they are relying on marketing programs that increase reach and drive pipeline. Our platform meets this requirement by allowing the impact of any virtual event to be amplified with social media tools."